PEZA welcomes 2021 with positive investments, performance lauded for maintaining a globally competitive business climate   

14 January 2021 (Thursday)

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has pledged that “As we start a new year amidst the new normal, we will continue to serve our mandate and turn challenges into opportunities for the Filipino people and Philippine export-industry this 2021 and the years to come.” 

This comes as PEZA approved in December 2020 a total of 26 projects expected to bring in PhP 6.69 Billion of investments. The approvals bring PEZA’s overall total to PhP 95.03 Billion of investments with 326 projects registered in from January to December 2020 – 109 of which came from the IT-BPO sector and 217 from the manufacturing sector.

In terms of location, 146 of the projects will be created in Region IV, 74 in the National Capital Region (NCR), 39 in Region VII, 34 in Region III, and 33 in other regions.

Compared to 2019, PEZA registered 540 new and expansion projects that was expected to bring in PhP 117.5 Billion of investments.

Plaza explained that “Despite the pandemic that began in 2020 and affected global economy and trade, PEZA remains to perform at its best with the help of its registered business enterprises.”

In fact, PEZA received recognitions in 2020 from the US Department of State for its best practices that made business environment in ecozones’ better, and a Special Citation conferred to government agencies who have exemplified an untiring dedication and commitment to the FOI program during the COVID-19 pandemic in the recent FOI Awards.

Breakdown of performance

Foreign investments were up in 2020 by 21.26% to PhP 59.73 Billion from 2019’s PhP 49.26 Billion. Despite this, there has been a decline in local investments from PhP 68.29 Billion in 2019 to PhP 35.30 Billion in 2020. The decline can be attributed to various causes including the perilous effect of the COVID-19 imposed lockdowns beginning March 2020.

Nevertheless, PEZA remained at the top of the game compared to other IPAs. In fact, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported in the last quarter of 2020 that, “Only PEZA registered year-on-year growth in foreign investment commitments during the July-to-September period with P20.3 billion, up 97 percent from P10.3 billion last year.” The report further mentioned that other IPAs like the Board of Investments (BOI) indicated a decline in generated foreign investments.

In terms of sector, the manufacturing industry has generated a total of PhP 34.44 Billion of investments, which is 13.43% up from the sector’s PhP 30.35 Billion investment in 2019.

The IT-BPO industry, on the other hand, is seen to bring in PhP 17.41 Billion of investments. This is 0.93% lower than the PhP 17.58 Billion investments recorded in 2019.

Majority of the investments came from various nationalities including that of America, European countries like United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland, and Spain, and Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan.

In terms of regions where the investments were located, the top performing in 2020 are Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Regions 1, 3, 5, 6, 11 and 12.

The PEZA Chief said “PEZA is grateful for the continued trust and confidence of our investors despite the difficulties we faced in 2020. This shows that PEZA is strong and actively pursuing its mandate, harnessing Philippine investment competitiveness, and creating opportunities for many Filipinos.”

Hopeful for 2021

“As we continue to cope with the new normal, we remain committed and steadfast to attract investments, generate exports, and create employment for our country and the Filipino people,” noted Plaza.

Further, the Director General said “We hope that coming 2021, we will be able to attract more foreign direct investments in the country, keep the PEZA brand of service renowned worldwide, and help the Philippine economy bounce back and even become a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating investment haven in Asia.”