PEZA fortifies partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council to attract more investors to the Philippines
26 May 2021
Pasay City – To continue performing as the top export-oriented investment promotion agency (IPA) in the Philippines, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Plaza virtually graced the US-ASEAN Business Council held on May 19, 2021, via Zoom.
The US-ASEAN Business Council was also attended virtually by government officials namely: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez; the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) Director General Rowel Barba.
The goal of the said council was to tackle where the U.S private sectors can support the Philippine Government in attaining its economic recovery goals, ensure sustainability, and inclusions all while bracing up for the challenges of the new normal.
Plaza expressed that, “Now more than ever, this US-ASEAN Business Council comes with great significance as we continue to promote the ease of doing business, enhance digital transformation and at the same time, continuously support the government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to further strengthen the US-Philippines bilateral ties for regional peace and prosperity.”
As part of PEZA’s Balancing Acts, the agency continues to prioritize its economic mission, its mandate, and assisting registered companies in ensuring continual operations amidst the global pandemic.
Support to the national government
“PEZA is in full support to the national government’s efforts towards digitalization and participates in national projects such as the TradeNet (for import/export transactions), Central Business Portal (for business registration), and is embarking on our own digitalization efforts including digital payment solution and data integration of various data sources for easy monitoring and generation of management reports, as well as automation of client facing processes,” said the PEZA Chief.
Further, PEZA, in line with its initiative of DOLLAR Program launched last July 2020, is in partnership with WorkBank Philippines in conducting a virtual job fair making job vacancies and opportunities easily accessible to Filipinos seeking employment with PEZA-registered companies.
On COVID Vaccine Procurement
Aside from facilitating the purchase and administration of vaccines for ecozone locators and their workers on a per ecozone basis for ease of administration, Plaza said, “PEZA has recently brought in an Israeli investor that will manufacture COVID oral vaccines in the country which will be located in Angeles, Pampanga.”
Likewise, Plaza also added that, “Another ecozone developer has put up a Pharma Park to attract investors into manufacture of vaccines, medicines and vitamin supplements, hospital equipment for COVID and other medical purposes.”
In support with this and to encourage local production of vaccines, DTI Secretary Lopez said, “It’s in getting the vaccination roll out that is critical as well as the discoveries of new medicines. Manufacturing of vaccines in the country and its rollout will help us sustain the reopening of the economy.”
PEZA's role in the regional economic development
“In line with the AO 18, we hope to scatter and spread more ecozones nationwide especially in the countryside so that we can attract different types of industries,” the PEZA Chief said.
According to Plaza, PEZA aims to establish more Pharma ecozones, more Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) parks, creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, Aqua-marine and Renewable Energy Park, mineral processing ecozones, and Halal hubs and production.
In addition, the recent collaboration with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Southern Philippine Development Authority (SPDA), the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and other cabinet members and executives from Mindanao led to identify 21 more proposed economic zones in support to the AO No. 18 signed by President Duterte in 2019 and EO 114 Balik-Probinsya Program.
Because of PEZA’s best practices in the ease of doing business and efforts to relentlessly attract more investors in the Philippines, PEZA has received various recognitions such as from the US Department of State. Stated in their official 2020 Investment Climate Statements, it says that “the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by PEZA, known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”
PEZA’s great balancing acts has also been recognized and was awarded the ‘Special Citation to Government Agencies amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic’ in the recent Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards.