Philippine Standard Time - Saturday, January 29, 2022,

Director General’s Corner

Director General's Corner

BGen Charito B. Plaza MNSA, PhD
Director General
Click below to download DG’s presentation

DG’S PROFILE

The Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority is the embodiment of beauty and brains. She has degrees to her name from renowned universities, and to mention all of them might take the whole morning. 

Plaza is also a Commissioned Officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Reserve Force, holding the rank Brigadier General. From 1989 – 1998 and then from 2012-2015, she was Wing Commander for the 3rd Ready Air Reserve Wing Mindanao and the 7th Air Force Wing Reserve, respectively. She was both the youngest commissioned lieutenant colonel and the youngest colonel in the AFP Reserve Force. Plaza was also the first female general in the AFP Reserve Force, the first female general in Philippine Air Force, and the first female general from Mindanao.

She was elected as congresswoman of the 1st District of Agusan del Norte in 1987, making her the youngest Congress Representative in the Philippine History. During her term, she has made major amendments to the Balikbayan Program & the Tourism Infrastructure Bill. 

She also authored the bill creating the Caraga Region as the 13th Administrative Region in the Philippines. With that, she earned the name, The Mother of Caraga Region. 

Most notably, she co-authored the Republic Act 7916, or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, creating the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. 

After leaving Congress, Plaza served as consultant to the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Transportation. Following her appointment as PEZA Director –General last September 2016, Plaza told The Philippine STAR newspaper, “I am fortunate to be one of the authors of the law that finally created PEZA, which included areas of Butuan City and Agusan del Norte as among those identified special economic zones. I proposed to the president in our talk… to make ecozones as the umbrella program for economic development. We will build agricultural economic zones, industrial ecozones, tourism economic zones and defense industrial complex.”

As the Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, she initiated major policy reforms particularly in revolutionizing the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to meet the dynamic demands of the business environment and to support the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's economic agenda. 

A woman of action. A woman of motherly compassion. She is the Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Brigadier General Charito Booc Plaza MNSA, PHD.  

 

 

STATEMENTS

National Heroes Day Message

National Heroes Day Message PEZA is aggressively pursuing the creation of more economic zones, spread the investments, jobs, livelihood, technology, and total development of the country to create peace and prosperity. In honor of our heroes, let us unite and heal as one for our families, for ourselves, and for our most beloved country, the Philippines. Mabuhay po tayong lahat at mabuhay ang mga BAYANING PILIPINO!
August 30, 2021,

Global Biz Calabarzon

Under the Transformation Road Map and in line with the Administrative Order 18, we are actively involving various LGUs to locate and identify idle lands so we can transform these idle lands into ecozones, thus, attaining total development of the country through the acceleration of progress in our local government units (LGUs) in every region.
August 11, 2021,

SONA 2021

In line with the Administrative Order (A0)18, we will continuously identify and promote the creation of economic zones in accelerating rural progress in the countryside as this will harness human capital, infrastructure development, and attain total economic development in our country.
July 28, 2021,

Global Biz VisMin

PEZA is actively involving various LGUs to make use of the idle lands by transforming it into ecozones thus attaining total development of the country through the acceleration of progress in our local government units (LGUs) in every region.
July 1, 2021,

Eid Mubarak 2021

Greetings of peace to the Muslim community as they close Ramadan in 2021 today. The sincere devotion of Muslims to Allah (One God) and the lessons from Qur'an are all gifts to humanity. Amidst )ur diversity as Filipinos, we share faithfulness, hope, and gratitude to God. May God put in the hearts of humanity care and love for each other in this pandemic and in the years to come.
May 13, 2021,
PRESS RELEASES

PEZA recognizes partners’ valuable contribution as MEZ celebrate 43rd anniversary

PEZA recognizes partners’ valuable contribution as MEZ celebrate 43rd anniversary
January 21, 2022
PEZA recognizes partners’ valuable contribution as MEZ celebrate 43rd anniversary

21 January 2022 (Friday)

Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu – In celebration of the 43rd anniversary of the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ), the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) on Wednesday awarded the Galing Pinas! Excellence Partnership Award to twenty (20) locator companies, industry associations, LGUs, and National Government Agencies for their outstanding contribution in the economic zone and industrialization program of PEZA and for making the Philippines an investment haven in Asia.

This comes as PEZA Director General Charito Plaza conducted her annual ‘Listening Tour” with investors last January 19, 2022 held at the Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark in Cebu.

PEZA Director General Plaza has kickstarted her annual ‘Listening Tour’ this 2022 with a dialogue and awarding ceremony for MEZ investors and partners.

According to Plaza, “MEZ is coined as the pioneer economic zone in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. One of the long-time existing public economic zone in the country and in Asia, MEZ is considered to be the home of big-ticket projects in Cebu that have provided thousands of jobs to the ‘Oponganons’ and ‘Cebuanos’.”

 

The recipients of the said award include:

  1. Cebu Fil Veneer Corporation
  2. Cebu Mitsumi Inc.
  3. Mactan Apparels Inc.
  4. MEPZ Mixed Gases Corporation
  5. Phil. BXT Corp. Tourism Economic Zone
  6. Philippine Kenko Corporation
  7. Tamiya (Philippines), Inc.
  8. TMX Philippines, Inc.
  9. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  10. MEPZCEM Chamber Inc.
  11. Mactan Township Development Corporation
  12. Topline Logistics and Development Corporation
  13. Cebu Province LGU
  14. Lapu-Lapu City LGU
  15. Mandaue City LGU
  16. Philippine Air Force (PAF)
  17. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region VII
  18. National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Region VII
  19. Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Region VII
  20. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Region VII

PEZA Director General Plaza and MEZ Zone Administrator Atty. Abdullah Adel-Khan Alug awarding PSA the Galing Pinas! Excellence Partnership Award.

“We are grateful and thankful to our locator partners whose contributions serve as economic drivers for Cebu’s growth,” she added.

 

The PEZA Chief noted that “In our relentless pursuits to serve our fellowmen, our investment partners, and our ecozone developers and locators, we continue to create opportunities from the present situation of pandemic and continue to strive in attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the country.”

 

 

Redesigning of MEZ and PEZA public ecozones to green township and as ecozone tourism destination, a show window to the world

 

In line with its efforts to contribute to the revival of the economy under the leadership of Plaza, PEZA has adapted its Transformation Road Map (TRM) which outlines its plans and programs for the next 25 years. One of the projects under this road map is the redesigning and transformation of PEZA’s public ecozones into green, healthy, sustainable, and smart ecozones with the integration of industrial, commercial, residential component.

 

“MEZ will be the first to be the recipient of the re-masterplanning of PEZA’s public ecozones. The projects to be included in the redesigning of the ecozone are the construction of the MEZ Admin Building and Multi-Purpose Hall, hospital, PNP and BFP offices, creation of underground power and telecommunications systems, installation of RFIDs, and e-shuttle vehicles among others. We will work in the overall beautification of our zones where investors and workers can live, learn, and play,” noted Plaza.

 

She added, “PEZA’s ecozones will be the country’s show window to the world, showcasing not only full industrialization but also environment-friendly where investors shall work and live in a clean, beautiful, safe, and secured place.”

 

The Director General assures that “Despite the challenges in pandemic, PEZA will continue to do its best to attract potential investors, assist and support our locator companies, generate jobs and contribute to the overall revival of the economy for the benefit of our people and our country.”

 

Established on January 15, 1979 under Proclamation No. 1811, s. 1979, MEZ is one of the public economic zones inherited by PEZA in 1995. Since 1995 to September 2021, these companies contribute Php 51.500 Billion of investments, USD$ 45.320 billion of exports. MEZ currently hosts 204 companies that employ 52,792 workers.

PEZA eyes more American investors for ecozone development and resilient economic recovery in 2022

PEZA eyes more American investors for ecozone development and resilient economic recovery in 2022
January 20, 2022
PEZA eyes more American investors for ecozone development and resilient economic recovery in 2022

20 January 2022 (Thursday)

Pasay City – In the recent and first “Global Biz with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)” held in 2022 on Tuesday, PEZA aims to expand its investment reach to more American business entrepreneurs and investors in operating or new economic zones in the country as both countries continue to harness their bilateral economic ties.

Held via online platform in zoom on January 18, PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said, “The Americans continue to be one of the top three biggest contributor of investments in the Philippines under PEZA. Stronger bilateral ties between the USA and Philippines are [indeed] vital in facilitating our mutual trade and investment agenda.”

According to the PEZA Chief, “According to our data in the 3rd quarter of 2021, we have 420 American enterprises registered with PEZA. The American-owned enterprises in PEZA contribute to P400.668 Billion of investments, $6.761 Billion of exports, and employ 330,906 workers.”

These investments came from major industries in the country such as the business process outsourcing (BPO), call center operations, software development, and exports in machinery, electrical, and IT-related equipment.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America His Excellency Jose Manuel G. Romualdez has expressed his gratitude to PEZA saying, “The Philippines is ready to do more business with the United States. Our celebration of 75 years of Philippine-US relations this year culminates today’s Global Biz with PEZA as the most opportune time for the Philippines and the United States to engage in more economic partnerships with the participation of both our countries’ dynamic business community.”

On potential American companies in the Philippines, the Philippine Ambassador highlighted, “There are very good indications that e-commerce in the country will only continue to grow and with this growth, come the opportunities for investors [to come and invest] in the Philippines.”

With the US economy advancing to other pressing economic priorities, Ambassador Romualdez is encouraging the country to also do the same. He said, “With ecozones already providing necessary infrastructure and incentives, the Philippines can engage in climate-ready investments and infrastructure, supply chain resilience, technology advancements, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.”

Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America His Excellency Jose Manuel G. Romualdez delivered his message of gratitude and support to PEZA’s Global Biz Forum featuring USA on 18 January 2022.

 

Philippine-US investment and COVID-19 vaccination endeavors

Director General Plaza highlighted some of the top American companies that are PEZA-registered namely, “The JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A – Philippine Global Service Center, American Power Conversion, C and U Philippines, Inc., Teletech Customer Care Management Philippines, Inc., On Semiconductor Philippines, Inc., Alorica Teleservices, Inc., Cypress Manufacturing, LTD., Moog Controls Corporation, Google Services Philippines, Inc., Maxim Philippines Operating Corporation, Analog Devices General Trias, Inc., TI (Philippines), Inc., Eaton Industries (Philippines), LLC, Philippine Branch, and Wells Fargo International Solutions LLC-Philippines, amongst many others.”

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza discussed PEZA’s performance, programs, and data on America’s investments registered under PEZA as of 2022.

As the Philippines shows good signs of recovery with expected GDP growth of 5.1% this 2022 and with the increasing vaccination rate, Ambassador Romualdez said, “These have allowed for the gradual reopening of the economy in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. Economic activities have been up and running.”

Meanwhile, Charge D’Affaires of the United States of America to the Philippines Honorable Heather Variava shared that the United States government has facilitated the donation of over 65 million vaccines through the COVAX facility, including almost 25 million vaccines in direct U.S. donations.

Variava said, “The rapid spread of Omicron variant has reinforced the importance of vaccines. In total, the Philippines has received over a hundred million doses of US-branded vaccines.”

For long-term investment planning, Variava suggests that “investments in health and manufacturing sectors are areas where American firms and investors may have expertise to offer. We know the Philippines is looking for additional investment across the board, especially in 5G, internet, clean energy, health, and health security areas.”

Charge D’Affaires of the United States of America to the Philippines Honorable Heather Variava discussed that investments in health and manufacturing sectors are areas where American firms and investors may have expertise to offer in the Philippines.

Further, US-Philippine Society Executive Director Mr. Hank Hendrickson has assured PEZA and its partner investors that the Philippines and the US governments will remain active on trade investment promotion and facilitation.

Hendrickson said, “PEZA’s success and commitment to quality and transparency are making a positive impact on Philippine practices outside the ecozones that serve the growing domestic market and will need to meet ever-higher expectations as the Philippine middle-class and its purchasing power expand.”

Ambassador Romualdez also mentioned, “The Philippines is looking to improve its interconnectivity infrastructure to address the current demand and sustain the growth of our digital economy in the foreseeable future. We have amended our laws to attract more foreign investments in the country that will allow fair competition and better economic activity.”

 

PEZA-registered American investors

Present as well in the first Global Biz forum for 2022 were PEZA ecozone developers namely the Senior Vice President of the Science Park of the Philippines, Inc. Mr. Geronimo Salonga and Vice President for Production Support and Interfacing Services of Teradyne Philippines, Ltd., Mr. Jim Mahon.

According to Senior Vice President Mr. Geronimo Salonga, “Our locations are consistent with PEZA where we develop industrial estates outside Metro Manila to help decongest the city while providing employment opportunities to our fellowmen right in their own provinces.”

“We are also one with PEZA in protecting the environment. We put a lot of emphasis in conserving our natural resources and maintaining a sustainable economic zone.”

On the part of Teradyne Philippines, Ltd., Vice President Jim Mahon stated that, “Doing business with PEZA is always smooth. Director General Charito Plaza is always responsive to our concerns as locators in Cebu.”

Mahon also expressed, “PEZA is tirelessly working with SEIPI and the Joint Foreign Chambers and Philippines Business Groups (JFC-PBG) in advocating for the concerns of the business community with relevant government agencies particularly on the CREATE Law, water quality guidelines, and logistics concerns.”

With Cebu still recovering from the onslaughts of the Typhoon Odette last December 2021, the Teradyne Vice President also commended PEZA for its rapid response and support in delivering relief goods, operations, and connecting them to an alternative telco company.

Teradyne Philippines, Ltd., Vice President Jim Mahon shared his company’s commendations and testimonial in doing business with PEZA.

 

PEZA to feature USA in the first Global Biz forum in 2022

PEZA to feature USA in the first Global Biz forum in 2022
January 14, 2022
PEZA to feature USA in the first Global Biz forum in 2022

14 January 2022 (Friday)

 

Pasay City – Starting the year 2022 with vigor and hope in the country’s investment climate, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will feature the United States of America (USA) in its first Global Biz with PEZA forum for the new year on 18 January 2022, 09:00 AM PHT.

 

Global Biz with PEZA featuring USA aims to inform both potential and existing American investors about more economic opportunities within PEZA economic zones and new potential areas of investment,” explained PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza on Thursday.

 

The PEZA Chief added, “In the forum to be held on Tuesday, January 18th, PEZA aims to continue promoting the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia and discuss the benefits or incentives that investors shall receive when they do business with PEZA.”

 

PEZA will present in the forum the new PEZA incentives package under the CREATE law for export and domestic market enterprises and ecozone developers, utilities, facilities, logistics and transportation service providers inside the proclaimed economic zones nationwide.

 

It is noteworthy that PEZA has received recognition from US Department of State in its official 2020 Investment Climate Statements that said “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.”

His Excellency Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, the Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America will be gracing the event along with representative from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Washington DC and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AMCHAM). Some PEZA-registered enterprises and ecozone developers will also be joining for the panel discussion.

 

Stronger partnership on ecozone development, export, and domestic market enterprises

 

In 2021, PEZA inked a MOA with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Development Bank of the Philippines, Landbank of the Philippines, Philippine National Bank, and other foreign and local banks providing credit facilities for LGUs and the private sector ecozone developers, export and domestic market enterprises, utilities, facilities service providers. The credit facility shall assist qualified private developers/owners, entrepreneurs, or LGUs that will establish different types of ecozones, which is viable to particular regions or areas in the countryside nationwide.

 

The Global Biz with PEZA is a virtual marketing and promotion tool under the PEZA Transformation Road Map (TRM) which is established since the pandemic began so that the Authority continues its mandate of promoting and attracting investors to the country.

 

Since 2021, PEZA has conducted a total of 14 Global Biz Forum that featured different countries, business groups and chambers, commercial attachés, financial institutions and banks, and partners for investment promotions.

 

PEZA to implement anew Balancing Acts through online transactions from January 7 to 14, 2022, due to rise of COVID cases in Metro Manila

PEZA to implement anew Balancing Acts through online transactions from January 7 to 14, 2022, due to rise of COVID cases in Metro Manila
January 7, 2022
PEZA to implement anew Balancing Acts through online transactions from January 7 to 14, 2022, due to rise of COVID cases in Metro Manila

6 January 2022 (Thursday)

 

Pasay City -  Amidst the surge and increase in the COVID positivity rate in the country this January shortly after the holidays, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) announced on Wednesday that the Agency will implement full online transactions from January 7 to 14, 2022 under Memorandum Circular No. 2022-001.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said in a statement, “In adherence to the heightened alert level in Metro Manila and as positivity rate is increasing especially in the metro, our Head Office in Double Dragon, Pasay City will undergo precautionary health and safety measures.”

 

Mass RT-PCR testing and disinfection in place

While PEZA temporarily adopts to online transactions, a full disinfection and sanitation will be conducted in the Head Office from January 7 to 9, 2022.

Further, a mass RT-PCR testing for PEZA employees will take place in its Head Office and other economic zones. To ensure the safety of every personnel, they will perform their duties under work-from-home (WFH) scheme pending the result of their respective COVID-19 test.

The PEZA Chief said, “While we remain devout in our sworn mandate, we also need to be part of the solution in mitigating the effects of this pandemic. This includes safeguarding the well-being of our workers and clients and avoiding close contacts or exposure to those either symptomatic or asymptomatic individuals.”

“PEZA remains one with the national government and private agencies in fighting this pandemic and helping in lessening the number of infections. Prioritizing the safety of everyone is our utmost goal especially that we are on Alert level 3. Nevertheless, we continue to do our mandate in the alternative work schemes as this pandemic or new variant must not cripple us,” Plaza adds.

In support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation of placing Metro Manila in Alert Level 3 until January 15, the PEZA Director General reassures its locators, registered- enterprises, and investors the unhampered coordination between Zone Administrators, Zone Managers, employees, and concerned government agencies.

For concerns to specific departments, PEZA valued clients may refer to this directory online at the agency’s website at http://www.peza.gov.ph/index/php/covid19.

PEZA Reservists carry Christmas spirit, volunteer aid to Typhoon Odette victims

PEZA Reservists carry Christmas spirit, volunteer aid to Typhoon Odette victims
December 27, 2021
PEZA Reservists carry Christmas spirit, volunteer aid to Typhoon Odette victims

27 December 2021 (Monday)

 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), through the leadership of Director General Charito ‘Ching Plaza who is the new Wing Commander of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve (AFWR) of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), spearheaded bayanihan efforts, in the spirit of Christmas, by conducting relief operations to six regions in the country which are affected by Typhoon Odette.

 

“Christmas doesn’t just happen in one day. Every day is an opportunity for us to help our fellowmen especially those in need like the victims of this unfortunate disaster,” noted the PEZA Chief.

 

Early in December 2021, Typhoon Odette ravaged several provinces in Visayas and Mindanao, resulting to distraction of PhP 4 billion worth of infrastructure and PhP 3 billion worth of agriculture according to reports. Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has reported on Sunday, December 26, that casualties already totalled to 378 with around 60 people still missing.

 

 

PEZA-AFP Relief Operations

 

On December 21, the PEZA Board has approved a total of PhP 1 million to be allocated for the relief operations, providing essentials such as food, water, medicine, and assistance for the victims of the typhoon Odette specifically those located in Cebu, Bohol, Caraga region’s provinces of Dinagat, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur, Siargao, Palawan, Southern Leyte, and Negros Occidental.

 

Moreover, PEZA is also seeking help and assistance from its locator companies who wishes to extend help through this operation.

 

According to the PEZA Chief, “PEZA partnered with the Philippine Air Force (PAF) under my office as Wing Commander of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve (AFWR) to participate in the conduct of Relief Operations for the victims of Typhoon Odette.”

 

With this, the PEZA Reservists have been commissioned to volunteer in the repacking, distribution, logistics, security, management work for the relief operations beginning December 26 onwards. “Reservists in PEZA who are assigned in the zones are likewise encouraged to coordinate with their respective Air Force Reserve Mobilization Centers / ARCENs to volunteer your services,” noted Plaza.

 

Photo of PEZA's AFP Reservist members who are preparing at Baseco Port, Manila the relief goods to be transported to regions in Visayas and Mindanao that are affected by Typhoon Odette

 

PEZA Reservist Program

 

Brainchild of Director General Plaza herself as part of PEZA’s Transformation Road Map, the PEZA Reservist program seeks to train and develop the skills of both the PEZA employees and ecozone workers to respond to disasters, calamities, and emergencies.

 

“I would like to reiterate that we are not militarizing PEZA. We are just making sure that, through this program, we can assure our investors peace and prosperity within our economic zones and in the country especially in times of disaster and calamity like today,” explained the PEZA Chief.

 

In November 2020, PEZA also conducted the Handog PEZA Relief Operations for the victims of Typhoon Ulysees in Marikina and Rizal. The same operations were conducted during the eruptions of Taal Volcano.

 

PEZA Reservists unloading pails of relief goods for the victims of Typhoon Ulysees in 2020

 

Maintaining a positive outlook

 

“While it is unfortunate that this happened to our countrymen amidst the rise of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and nearing the end of the year, we must maintain a positive outlook and unrelenting hope as we end this year,” stated Plaza.

 

She added, “Let us do our best to help those in need and continue performing our sworn mandate to achieve our goal. We must make opportunities out of these crises and, hand-in-hand, continue to make it happen in the Philippines.”

PEZA pursues more Japanese entrepreneurs for investment and partnerships in economic zones

PEZA pursues more Japanese entrepreneurs for investment and partnerships in economic zones
December 20, 2021
PEZA pursues more Japanese entrepreneurs for investment and partnerships in economic zones

20 December 2021 (Monday)

 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in its last edition of the Global Biz Forum featuring Japan held last Thursday, is tapping more Japanese investors to locate and invest in the Philippines for continued investment opportunities and economic relations between the Philippines and Japan. The goal is to catalyze industrial growth through the establishment of more economic zones.

Held via Zoom, 16 December, PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” B. Plaza discussed in the Global Biz with His Excellency Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V, His Excellency Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Tokyo and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc., (JCCI).

Director General Plaza said, “To date, we have 962 Japanese locator companies among our 4,670 registered companies. These companies are engaged in warehousing and storage, fabricated metal products, rubber and plastic products, radio, television, and communication equipment and apparatus, as well as software development.”

 

“Our PEZA-registered Japanese enterprises generate PhP 727.679 billion investments which employ 353,763 employees and contribute $11.065 billion in exports,” Plaza adds.

 

Celebrating the 65th Anniversary of the Normalization of the Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and Japan as well as the 10th year of the Bilateral Strategic Partnership of the two countries, Philippine Ambassador Laurel V expressed, “Japan continues to be one of our most significant trade, investment, and development assistance partners. For the first semester of 2021, year on year, Japan is our second highest trade partner, the second-largest investment source, and the top Official Development Assistance (ODA) bilateral contributor.”

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” B. Plaza gave the latest report on PEZA-registered Japanese enterprises.

His Excellency Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V delivered his message of support to PEZA’s Global Biz Forum featuring Japan

 

Interests in technological innovations and human resources in PH

Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko highlighted the country’s important role in the ASEAN logistics network noting that, “Building a strong supply chain and realizing a free and fair trade and investment environment is one of the most important factors for Japan and the Philippines to work [with] towards solving the universal problem on economic recovery brought by the ongoing pandemic”.

According to Ambassador Kazuhiko, Japan also prioritizes the realization of innovation and digitalization. He said, “We want to take investment opportunities in the field of science and technology, as well as in semi-conductors and communication fields, promote start-up support, and develop human resources.”

 

Aside from being strategically located in Southeast Asia with vast lands for various economic activities, PEZA Chief Plaza underlined the country’s young, dynamic, and English-speaking workforce.

Plaza said, “The Philippines takes pride in our young Filipino workforce with high proficiency in the English language, are college graduates, dependable and hardworking.”

This has been seconded by the Japanese Ambassador saying, “There are several factors that attract international companies and one of those is the Philippines’ rich and high-quality working population. In contrast to Japan where the working population is declining significantly, the Philippines is expected to continuously grow.”

Stating that Filipinos’ skills are beyond his expectation, President of Toshiba Information Equipment Philippines (TIP), Mr. Jun Ito joined the Global Biz to represent Japanese investors registered with PEZA. The TIP President said, “Our strong Filipino workforce is skilled in many fields especially in manufacturing and engineering. The Philippines has around 80,000 engineering graduates every year.”

 

President of Toshiba Information Equipment Philippines (TIP), Mr. Jun Ito delivered his statement on the advantages why Toshiba is attracted to stay in the Philippines

 

Japanese investors in PH

Present as well in the virtual forum were PEZA ecozone developers, namely the President of LIMA Land, Inc. and Cebu Industrial Park as well as head of Aboitiz InfraCapital’s Economic Estates, Mr. Rafael Fernandez De Mesa, and President of the First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP), Mr. Francis Giles Puno.

 

Mr. Fernandez de Mesa assured prospective Japanese stakeholders during the virtual forum that “PEZA’s proven track record of attracting investments into the country has been instrumental in helping us at Aboitiz InfraCapital realize our growth and expansion over the years.”

 

“Today, Aboitiz InfraCapital’s three Economic Estates in Batangas and Cebu employ 100,000 Filipinos and host 192 companies, 74 or 39% of which are Japanese,” he adds.

 

Mr. Puno has also shared FPIP’s long-standing collaboration with PEZA stating, “With PEZA, we have been able to build a strong and thriving ecosystem within the park, attracting leaders of industries such as in electronics and semiconductors, automotive components and wire harness, aerospace, medical technologies, food and beverage, and many more.”

 

According to him, “Within this ecosystem, 74 of our 147 world-class locators, about 50%, are highly respected Japanese companies who have sought to expand their operations in the Philippines.”

 

Keen support to CREATE and PEZA-Visa issuance

Meanwhile, under the current CREATE LAW and PEZA tax incentives, Japanese companies registered under PEZA benefit from various incentives such as the Income Tax Holiday (ITH) of 4 to 7 years for export enterprises and 5% Special Corporate Income Tax or Enhanced Deductions for 10 years.

The Director General Plaza highlighted, “Other fiscal incentives PEZA provide include the Tax- and duty-free importation of capital equipment, raw materials, spare parts or accessories, VAT exemption on importation and VAT zero-rating on local purchases for goods and services directly or exclusively used in the registered project or activities and domestic sales allowance of up to 30% of total sales, among others.”

Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko believes that these incentives being enjoyed by many PEZA-registered stakeholders are an attractive [and effective] measure for more Japanese businesses to invest in the Philippines.

He noted, “Thanks to these incentive measures, we have about a thousand Japanese companies currently registered under PEZA bringing the highest total investments in the country’s economic zones.”

Toshiba President Mr. Ito shared that “the fiscal incentives are very important in keeping our business competitive. During the height of the strictest quarantines last year, and the movement of our employees, our import and export shipment was never an issue.”

On the part of the Japanese business community in the Philippines, JCCI President and General Manager of Mitsubishi Corporation in Manila, Mr. Keiichi Matsunaga said, “PEZA’s response to the TRAIN Act and CREATE Law validated the essential role that foreign companies play in this economy. I commend PEZA for its proactive communication with the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on many matters in relation to these laws.”

 

Matsunaga also commends the Agency’s initiatives for the shorter processing of the PEZA-Visa. He said, “This has been expedited since December. It used to take one month, but now the process has been shortened to 10 days, which is very helpful for Japanese companies.

 

A group shot of PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” B. Plaza together with the Philippine and Japanese embassies with PEZA-registered Japanese enterprises and various Japanese stakeholders.

 

PEZA strengthens PH investment promotion efforts in Expo 2020 Dubai

PEZA strengthens PH investment promotion efforts in Expo 2020 Dubai
December 16, 2021
PEZA strengthens PH investment promotion efforts in Expo 2020 Dubai

16 December 2021 (Thursday)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) continues to aggressively promote the Philippines as a viable investment destination for foreign investors in line with the Expo 2020 Dubai, the first to be held in Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, last December 05-15, 2021.

With the theme 'Connecting Minds and Creating the Future', the Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to inspire peoples and governments through sustainability, mobility, and opportunity.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez along with PEZA Director General Plaza and the rest of the Philippine delegation discussing investment opportunities in PH with investors at the Philippine Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai

 

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “PEZA has registered 21 Arab locators with a total investment capital of P1.75 billion as of date.  We must seize opportunities in order to widen our reach for Middle Eastern industries and technologies as well as to cope with the fast-paced and ever-changing global market.”

Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso Panga likewise added, “The Philippines will benefit from this expo as Dubai is one of the cities around the world that showcases the latest innovation and technology and emerging business opportunities from around the globe.”

 

Investment Opportunities in PH

During the Global Business Forum, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña virtually joined Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez to discuss the opportunities for trade and investments as well as innovation/technology development in the Philippines for UAE and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) investors.

“It is a must that we strengthen our business relations as well as investment and economic ties with UAE and countries who’s more advanced than us because there are a lot of things we can emulate to help our country grow,” noted Plaza.

On the sidelines, PEZA also met with various companies including the Dubai Islamic Bank, DP World, Emirates Airlines and S.S. Lootah Group to discuss investment opportunities between the Philippines and the UAE.

Based on the discussions, DP World plans to develop a 50 to 100-hectare economic zone with integrated seaport for their latest logistics facilities and solutions. “I also invited DP World to bring also in the Philippines their pioneering "virgin hyperloop" people/cargo speed transport, which can cut down travel time from Manila to Mindanao to 1 hour,” noted Plaza.

[From top to bottom] DG Plaza with the rest of the PEZA delegation discussing potential investments in the Philippines with the top executives of the Emirates, the Dubai Islamic Bank, and the Dubai Airports respectively.

 

As for Emirates, they will explore airport development/facility management and increase the number of weekly Manila-Dubai flights for the benefit particularly of the OFWs in the Middle East.

For the energy sector, Lootah BC Gas eyes liquefied natural gas (LNG) generation and biofuel production, while the Global Business Forum (GBF) Asean in Dubai is pushing for a renewable energy transition and adopting alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, ammonia, and battery storage.

“Given their pipeline expansions in the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, these global industry players are eyeing new/expansion projects in the Philippines to cater to the domestic market and as a hub for regional operations,” stated Deputy Director General Panga.

Moreover, PEZA and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC), also took the opportunity to engage in G2G and G2B meetings with the Heads of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE and USA expo pavilions.

Also met by PEZA delegation led by PEZA Chief Plaza were: the Director of Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Vice President of Dubai Chamber of Commerce for discussing preparations for the PEZA Global Biz featuring Asia-Pacific scheduled in July 2022; top executives of Lulu for consultation on their ecozone operations and expansion; Chairman of Maxtube Saje for property development ventures; and Founder of Prime group for capacity building on halal certification and establishment of ecozone geoscience labs.

Plaza’s delegation also met top government officials from the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Airport and Masdar for benchmarking on FDI facilitation, project financing and infrastructure development (especially in the logistics, renewable/clean energy, and innovation center spaces).

 

Partnerships for Islamic Banking and Finance

Moreover, PEZA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the AlHuda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) to promote Islamic banking and finance in the Philippines.

The same partnership has been established by PEZA with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in October to promote Islamic banking and finance in the Philippines especially in the PEZA ecozones, and in the provision of relevant capacity building program, and access to Shari’ah-compliant products and services.

PEZA Director General Plaza signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Mr. Muhammad Zubair, Managing Director of the AlHuda CIBE FZ LLE – UAE.

 

 

“PEZA sees this as an opportunity to help address gaps in the global Halal value chain in the areas of halal food production, logistics and services which could boost its bid for a share of the world halal market, estimated at more than US$ 3 Trillion. This will also benefit the local market in accessing halal certified products with its more than 10 million Muslim Filipinos all over the country,” stated Plaza.

In response to this, the Dubai Islamic Bank is determined with its plan to acquire a universal bank status in the Philippines and to help the government access the GCC Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Remaining true to its mandate to promote investments, generate exports, and create jobs, PEZA ensures to aggressively entice foreign investors to locate in the Philippines.

“As the country is poised to recover this year, together we will emerge stronger after this crisis and regain our status as one of the most vibrant economies in the region. Let us continue to make it happen in the Philippines,” noted the PEZA Chief.

PEZA & MYEG to conduct on December 9 an Online Forum on Electronic Payment and Collection System for Ecozone Locators

PEZA & MYEG to conduct on December 9 an Online Forum on Electronic Payment and Collection System for Ecozone Locators
December 7, 2021
PEZA & MYEG to conduct on December 9 an Online Forum on Electronic Payment and Collection System for Ecozone Locators

7 December 2021 (Tuesday)

 

Pasay City— The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), in partnership with I-Pay MyEG Philippines, Inc. (MyEG PH), is set to have a forum with its more than 4,000 locators or registered companies on December 9, 2021 (Thursday) from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. The main goal of the said forum is to present or have a live demo and discussion of its recently launched Electronic Payment and Collections System. The forum will be live-streamed on their official YouTube and Facebook channels. 

 

The forum will serve as an opportunity for locators to be introduced to this new service provided by PEZA to make transactions and fee payments easier, faster, and convenient.

 

The online payment system was officially launched last September 13, 2021, after PEZA Director General Charito Plaza signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with MyEG PH Chief Executive Officer Ann Margaret Saldaña in February 2021, with PEZA Deputy Director-General for Policy & Planning Tereso Panga present as a witness.

 

The PEZA Chief underlined that the MOA signed with MYEG for e-payment system of the agency is "in line with the Agency’s goal to assist its locator companies especially during this time of pandemic by providing an alternative online mode of payment."

 

Plaza said that "The MOA signed is also in line with the government’s digital transformation strategy and PEZA’s goal to automate its systems."

 

Digital means as alternative mode to payments

 

Saying that the electronic payment is a better alternative for doing payments, Plaza said that "Gone are the days when clients and other PEZA partners will need to go to the PEZA office to physically pay fees for registration, permits and other transactions. Now, they can simply login online and do their transactions from the comfort of their own offices and even their own homes if on a work-from-home setup. This can also ease the queue for physical payments by PEZA’s more than 4,000 locator companies."

 

Through PEZA and MYEG's partnership, there are various means of payment that PEZA's clients and partners can take advantage of such as GCash, PayMaya, Credit/Debit Card, Bank Transfer, and Cash to 80,000+ payment counters nationwide.

The service addressed PEZA's previous limitation wherein its members can only do transactions during office hours while experiencing a long queue at the cashier’s office either via cash or company cheque.

 

The ePCS is also in line with Republic Act (RA) No. 11032 or the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Services Delivery Act”, which aims to improve transaction systems and procedures in the government. This improves transparency, accountability, and good governance in PEZA’s brand of service.

 

PEZA is the top export-oriented investment promotion agency mandated to promote investments, create employment, and generate exports by extending assistance, registering, granting incentives to, and facilitating the business operations of investors in export-oriented manufacturing and service facilities inside selected areas throughout the country.

 

As of October 2021, PEZA hosts 415 economic zones and 4,670 locator companies that directly employ 1.7 million workers.

 

MyEG PH, on the other hand, is a market leader in electronic solutions championing government services online automation, has been providing e-Government services in both Malaysia and the Philippines for more than 20 years through its technology platform encompassing the internet, automation, big data, and electronic payments.

 

PEZA Director General Plaza receives new position in PAF as the New Wing Commander Officer of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve

PEZA Director General Plaza receives new position in PAF as the New Wing Commander Officer of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve
December 2, 2021
PEZA Director General Plaza receives new position in PAF as the New Wing Commander Officer of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve

02 December 2021 (Thursday)

 

Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza has been recently designated by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the new Wing Commander Officer of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve (AFWR) of the Philippine Air Force (PAF). This is also supported by command of the Presiding Officer, Philippine Air Force Reserve Commander Major General (MGen) Edward L. Libago during the Change of Command Ceremony on 22 November 2021 Monday.

 

With this new commitment, Plaza expressed her acceptance as the new Wing Commander Officer stating, “Today’s occasion is undeniably a remarkable milestone as I take on bigger and deeper responsibilities that are now bestowed upon me.”

 

The handover of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve Unit Standard from Outgoing Wing Commander of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve (AFWR) BGen Raymundo T. Francisco towards new Wing Commander Brigadier General (BGen) Plaza was held virtually via Zoom.

 

“I am thankful for the trust and confidence of Commanding General Philippine Air Force Lieutenant General Allen T. Paredes for choosing me to lead the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve, the kind approval of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of this designation, and the assistance and support of the Air Force Reserve under the leadership of Major General Edward Libago,” added the PEZA Chief.

 

Meanwhile, BGen Francisco said, “I will leave the Command which has been my home for 30 years with fond memories. I hereby relinquish my duties and responsibilities as Wing Commander of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve effective this day [November 22]. To Brigadier General Plaza, I am ready to be relieved.”

 

New Wing Commander Officer BGen Plaza’s outlined goals

 

Prior to the Change of Command Ceremony, the PEZA Director General was one of the co-authors of the Reservist Law Republic Act (RA) 7077, thus, she is among the first Founding Reservists and Wing Commander of the entire Mindanao 3rd Air Force Wing Reserve and later, the 7th Air Force Wing Reserve where she was actively involved in disasters, calamities, and emergency responses.

 

As the new 1st AFWR Wing Commander, PEZA Director General and BGen Plaza shared the goals she plans to achieve with the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve.

 

Plaza highlighted, “First, let us organize, train, and fully equip the LGUs, national government agencies, and private companies to become effective responders during disasters, calamities, emergencies, and in nation-building. Second, let us help in fostering peace and prosperity in Metro Manila.”

 

The new Wing Commander also mentioned the importance of the Reservist Program citing that “under the Reservist Law RA 7077, the Armed Forces and its Affiliated Reserve Units of various government agencies and private utilities can be called by the President of the Republic of the Philippines who is the Commander-in-Chief in times of disasters, calamities, emergencies, and war to achieve and maintain peace, order, security and stability in times of distress.

 

PEZA Transformation Road Map

 

The PEZA Director General reinstated that her new responsibility is not to militarize the Agency but rather to help fortify partnerships between PEZA, the LGUs, PAF, and AFP especially for the utilization of military reserved areas and its transformation to become Defense Industrial Complexes under the Agency’s Transformation Road Map (TRM).

 

Plaza expressed, “Under our TRM is also our PEZA Reservist Program, one of the long-running projects which I have instituted as the Director General of PEZA. With this, we seek to make our economic zones attractive to investors by assuring their safety and security with PEZA.”

 

She has also stated that “PEZA will soon be officially designated as the Affiliated Reserved Unit of the Philippine Air Force (PAFARU).”

 

Philippine Air Force Reserve Commander Major General (MGen) Edward L. Libago said, “We welcome and thank you Director General Plaza for accepting the responsibilities as the new Wing Commander of the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve.”

 

“As the newly designated Wing Commander, I am confident that under Plaza’s leadership, the 1st Air Force Wing Reserve will carry out programs that will elevate the competence and integrity both of our uniformed personnel and reservists,” added MGen Libago.

 

Philippine Air Force (PAF) welcomed PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza as the new Wing Commander Officer of the First Air Force Wing Reserve (AFWR) on 22 November 2021.

                                  

 

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza during the virtual handover of the First Air Force Wing Reserve Unit Standard last 22 November 2021.

 

 

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza delivered her Assumption Speech as the new Wing Commander Officer of the First Air Force Wing Reserve (AFWR).

 

1st Wing AFRC Majors Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso O. Panga (right) and Deputy Director General for Finance Justo Porfirio Ll. Yusingco (left) attended the Change of Command Ceremony in support of PEZA Director General B. Plaza's assumption as First Air Force Wing Reserve Commamlnder.

PEZA’s investments reached ₱4.018 trillion in its 26th year, celebrated Investors’ Recognition Day 2021 Galing Pinas Excellence Awards & launched special projects

PEZA’s investments reached ₱4.018 trillion in its 26th year, celebrated Investors’ Recognition Day 2021 Galing Pinas Excellence Awards & launched special projects
December 1, 2021
PEZA’s investments reached ₱4.018 trillion in its 26th year, celebrated Investors’ Recognition Day 2021 Galing Pinas Excellence Awards & launched special projects

1 December 2021 (Wednesday)

Pasay City – Continuing to be the top investment promotions agency (IPA) and hosting 4,670 locator companies in the country to date, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in its 26 years reached ₱4.018 trillion of investments. Celebrating milestones, the agency awarded its registered ecozone locator, developers, and investors during the annual Investors’ Recognition Day 2021 (Galing Pinas Excellence Awards) last 25 November, in PEZA Head Office, Pasay City.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said, “Our locator companies, whose investments, expansion projects, and reinvestments have totaled to a whopping 4.018 trillion pesos for the last 26 years. Their export revenues in our zones have reached 916.53 billion US dollars and counting.”

 

PEZA Director General Plaza giving a report on PEZA’s performance

 

PEZA Director General Plaza doing the “Galing Pinas” hand sign

 

In terms of employment, the PEZA Chief proudly reported that, “To date, we have 1,725,855 direct jobs in our economic zones. But, if we consider the other economic activities spurred by the presence of an economic zone in the locality, we can multiply this figure to five times or a total of 8,629,275 jobs created.”

Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) Secretary Ramon “Mon” M. Lopez who physically attended the annual event, lauding PEZA, said that, “Even in the middle of pandemic, foreign investors continue to stand by the Philippines and invest in [our country] partnered with PEZA’s long-term strategic projects.”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and Senator Win Gatchalian also sent their video messages to appreciate PEZA and its awardees for their combined efforts and contributions in keeping the nation’s economy thriving amidst the pandemic (see messages at PEZA’s facebook page).

 

List of Awardees

Aside from commending PEZA on the success of Investors’ Recognition Day, President Duterte also congratulated the Agency’s partnered stakeholders and locators. He said, “May you continue to foster a conducive investment climate for the country’s economic progress. As we welcome another year, may we further contribute to our recovery efforts as we build a more prosperous nation.

This year, PEZA awarded 24 companies and developer-operators in the PEZA Excellence Awards, while 34 for the Special Citation Awards with a total of 58 awardees.

 

PEZA Excellence Awards

Outstanding Exporter Awardees

1. Dyson Electronics Pte. Ltd. – Philippine Branch 4. Concentrix Daksh Services Philippine Corporation

2. Cebu Mitsumi, Inc.

5. Optum Global Solutions (Philippines), Inc.

3.  Continental          Temic           Electronics (Philippines), Inc.  

 

Outstanding Employer Awardees

6.    Reed    Elsevier    Shared    Services

(Philippines), Inc.

9. JT International Asia Manufacturing

Corp.

7. Concentrix Daksh Services Philippine Corporation

10. ING Business Shared Services B.V. Branch Office

8.    Concentrix CVG Philippines, Inc.

11. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc.

 

Outstanding Community Project

 

12.    Reed    Elsevier Shared Services (Philippines), Inc. (**) 17.      Continental TemicElectronics (Philippines), Inc.

13. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc.

18. QBE Group Shared Services Limited

Philippine Branch

14.    JT International Asia Manufacturing Corp. 19. Canon Business Machines (Philippines), Inc.

15. Philippine Sinter Corporation

20. WeServ Systems International, Inc.

16. ON Semiconductor Philippines, Inc.

 

 

Outstanding Environmental Performance

21. WeServ Systems International, Inc.

23. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc.

22. 2Denso Ten Philippines Corporation

24. TDK Philippines Corporation

 

Special Citation Awards

 

COVID-19 Response Award

25. TDK Philippines Corporation

33.     Denso    Ten    Solutions    Philippines Corporation

26.Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc.

34.    HSBC   Electronic   Data    Processing (Philippines), Inc.

27. WeServ Systems International, Inc.

35. Keppel Philippines Marine, Inc.

28. Amkor Technology Philippines, Inc.

36. Nestle Business Services AOA, Inc.

29.     Techlog    Center    Philippines    (dba

Asurion)

37. Nexperia Philippines, Inc.

30. Cognizant Technology Solutions Inc.

38. Quantrics Enterprises, Inc.

31.        Conduent       Business       Services Philippines, Inc.

39. Teradyne Philippines Ltd

32. Continental Temic Electronics (Philippines), Inc.

40. Teradyne Philippines Ltd

 

GALING PINAS! Award

EXPORT ENTERPRISE CATEGORY

AGRI ENTERPRISE CATEGORY

41. TI (Philippines), Inc.

46.. Cargill Oil Mills Philippines, Inc.

42. Epson Precision (Philippines), Inc.

47. Del Monte Philippines Corporation

43. Nidec Philippines Corporation

48. Pilipinas Kao, Inc.

44. Wu Kong Singapore Pte. Ltd.

 

45. Canon Business Machines (Philippines), Inc.

 

Elevation to the Hall of Fame Award

49. STMicroelectronics, Inc.

53. Canon Business Machines (Philippines), Inc.

50. B/E Aerospace B.V. – Phil. Branch

2017, 2019, and 2020 Outstanding Exporter Award

54. Analog Devices Gen. Trias, Inc. (**)

51. Sutherland Global Services Philippines,

Inc.

55. Samsung Electro-Mechanics Philippines

Corp.

52. Denso Philippines Corporation

 

 

Billionaires Award

 

56.Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR)

57. TI (Philippines), Inc

58. Toshiba Information Equipment (Phils.), Inc.

 

On the part of the Department of Trade and Industry, Secretary Mon Lopez noted to PEZA stakeholders, “You are really our inspiration as we move our [country’s] economy forward.

All of you are also the reason why our country, as of 3rd quarter [this year], has experienced 7% economic growth, 12% growth in the 2nd quarter, and a year to date of 4.9% growth in GDP.”

Further, Lopez emphasized that “because of you [investors], the Philippines has experienced 20% growth in exports as of September 2021 which is even higher than the pre-pandemic situation by 5%.”

 

PEZA Board Chairman and DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez giving the keynote address

 

Unveiling of PEZA’s Special Projects & Showcasing Transformation Road Map

In line with PEZA’s Transformation Road Map, Director General Plaza together with DTI Secretary Lopez and her deputy director generals, have officially launched the Agency’s special projects namely the new PEZA logo and flag, an improved PEZA website, the Innovator Man Statue, new Business and Investment Center, PEZA e-payment system, and the PEZA Visa for foreign investors. The agency also launched its 25th year Coffee Table Book last November 23, 2021.

 

Unveiling of the new PEZA Logo and Flag

 

 

Unveiling of the new PEZA Innovator Man Statue

 

DG Plaza giving DTI Secretary Mon Lopez a copy of PEZA’s new Coffee Table Book

 

 

The PEZA Chief added that in terms of ease of doing business in the country and adapting to technological innovations, “PEZA has recently rolled out its Electronic Payment and Collection System (EPCS) for a more accessible, convenient, and efficient way to perform transactions and settle PEZA fees.

PEZA clients can now pay their fees whenever and wherever using their mobile wallet, credit or debit cards, bank transfer, or with over 80,000 payment counters nationwide.

A recent Signing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between PEZA and Meralco was also made just this Wednesday, 24 November, on the issuance of the electronic Certificate of Final Electrical Inspection or e-CFEI for PEZA companies.

“PEZA can now submit in advance a list of the approved CFEIs to MERALCO through electronic mail before the physical certificates are actually sent,” said Plaza.

 

Unveiling of the New PEZA Business and Investment Center

 

A screenshot of PEZA’s new website

 

During the Investors’ Recognition Day, Director General Plaza also gave a glimpse of the new PEZA-Visa and e-Payment and Collection System, as well as PEZA’s future 13-storey and state-of-the-art Head Office building in Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.

 

 

Ending 2021 with positive hopes and growth

Director General Plaza said, “As we traverse the last months of the Duterte administration, we proudly look back at what we have accomplished so far, but still, I can’t help but be more excited with what the next years have in store for PEZA.”

“I can assure you that whatever may be thrown our way, PEZA will remain as your most stalwart and most vigilant ally,” added the PEZA Chief.

Meanwhile, while the pandemic continues to pose challenges to PEZA investors, government agencies, and private sectors in making ends meet, Senator Bong Go said, “I am proud on how you managed to persevere, and I am happy that we are working together in recovering the momentum we have lost before the pandemic.”

Go also added, “As we gear towards better days ahead, I hope we continue the partnership [we have] forged between the [national] government and our industries so we can continue building more avenues for businesses that will truly benefit everyone. Magtulungan at mag- bayanihan tayo.

PEZA INVESTORS RECOGNITION DAY 2021 Galing Pinas Excellence Awards

PEZA INVESTORS RECOGNITION DAY 2021 Galing Pinas Excellence Awards
November 25, 2021
PEZA INVESTORS RECOGNITION DAY 2021 Galing Pinas Excellence Awards

25 November 2021

 

The Investors' Recognition Day - Galing Pinas Excellence Awards is the biggest annual event organized by PEZA wherein the top investment promotion agency in the Philippines acknowledges the  benefits and contributions of economic zones that help to generate investments, jobs, and export income. It is an awards event to recognize PEZA-registered ecozone developers, economic zone locator enterprises, and other stakeholders who contribute to the country's socio-economic growth and development.

This year, PEZA awarded 24 companies and developer-operators in the PEZA Excellence Awards, while 34 for the Special Citation Awards with a total of 58 awardees. The list of awardees are shown below.

 

OUTSTANDING EXPORTER AWARDEES

  1. Dyson Electronics Pte. Ltd. – Philippine Branch
  2. Cebu Mitsumi, Inc.
  3. Continental Temic Electronics (Philippines), Inc.
  4. Concentrix Daksh Services Philippine Corporation
  5. Optum Global Solutions (Philippines), Inc.

 

OUTSTANDING EMPLOYER AWARDEES

  1. Reed Elsevier Shared Services (Philippines), Inc.
  2. Concentrix Daksh Services Philippine Corporation (2nd award)
  3. Concentrix CVG Philippines, Inc.
  4. JT International Asia Manufacturing Corp.
  5. ING Business Shared Services B.V. Branch Office
  6. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc.

 

OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PROJECT

  1.  Reed Elsevier Shared Services (Philippines), Inc. (2nd award)
  2.  Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc. (2nd award)
  3.  JT International Asia Manufacturing Corp. (2nd award)
  4.  Philippine Sinter Corporation
  5.  ON Semiconductor Philippines, Inc.
  6.  Continental Temic Electronics (Philippines), Inc. (2nd award)
  7.  QBE Group Shared Services Limited Philippine Branch
  8.  Canon Business Machines (Philippines), Inc.
  9.  WeServ Systems International, Inc.

 

OUTSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE

  1.  WeServ Systems International, Inc. (2nd award)
  2.  Denso Ten Philippines Corporation
  3.  Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc. (3rd award)
  4.  TDK Philippines Corporation

           

SPECIAL CITATION AWARDS

A. COVID-19 Response Award

  1. TDK Philippines Corporation
  2. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc.
  3. WeServ Systems International, Inc.
  4. Amkor Technology Philippines, Inc.
  5. Techlog Center Philippines (dba Asurion)
  6. Cognizant Technology Solutions Inc.
  7. Conduent Business Services Philippines, Inc.
  8. Continental Temic Electronics (Philippines), Inc.
  9. Denso Ten Solutions Philippines Corporation
  10. HSBC Electronic Data Processing (Philippines), Inc.
  11. Keppel Philippines Marine, Inc.
  12. Nestle Business Services AOA, Inc.
  13. Nexperia Philippines, Inc.
  14. Quantrics Enterprises, Inc.
  15. Teradyne Philippines Ltd.
  16. TI (Philippines), Inc.

 

B. GALING PINAS! Award

  1. TI (Philippines), Inc.
  2. Epson Precision (Philippines), Inc.
  3. Nidec Philippines Corporation
  4. Wu Kong Singapore Pte. Ltd.
  5. Canon Business Machines (Philippines), Inc.
  6. Cargill Oil Mills Philippines, Inc.
  7. Del Monte Philippines Corporation
  8. Pilipinas Kao, Inc.

 

ELEVATION TO THE HALL OF FAME AWARD

OUTSTANDING EXPORTER

  1. STMicroelectronics, Inc.
  2. B/E Aerospace B.V. – Phil. Branch (*)
  3. Sutherland Global Services Philippines, Inc. (**)

 

OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PROJECT

 

  1. Denso Philippines Corporation

 

OUTSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE

  1. Canon Business Machines (Philippines), Inc.
  2. Analog Devices Gen. Trias, Inc.
  3. Samsung Electro-Mechanics Philippines Corp.

 

BILLIONAIRES AWARD

  1. Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation (PASAR)
  2. TI (Philippines), Inc
  3. Toshiba Information Equipment (Phils.), Inc.

 

For photos, you may visit PEZA’s official Facebook page at: https://bit.ly/InvestorsDay21

PEZA aggressively promotes PH as Indian investors eye Baguio City as investment destination

PEZA aggressively promotes PH as Indian investors eye Baguio City as investment destination
December 1, 2021
PEZA aggressively promotes PH as Indian investors eye Baguio City as investment destination

01 December 2021 (Wednesday)

 

Baguio City – Remaining true to its mandate and in the efforts to help revive the economy, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) continues to aggressively promote the Philippines as a viable investment destination, especially for Indian investors engaged in different sectors.

 

This comes as PEZA, headed by Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, hosted His Excellency Shambhu S. Kumaran, the Ambassador of India to the Republic of the Philippines, and the delegation from the India Business Forum Philippines Association, Inc. (IBF) for an investment promotions tour in Baguio City last November 26-30, 2021.

 

The group has chosen to visit Baguio City as they believed that the economic potential as well as weather conditions and natural attractions in the city, more so the province itself, will be an advantage for both foreign and local investors as an option for future investments.

 

Global Biz featuring India

 

Aside from the tour, PEZA likewise conducted the Global Biz with PEZA featuring India, 13th in a series of forums for this year, last November 28, 2021.

 

Some of the Indian companies have already expressed their interest to locate and even expand their operations to the northern part of the country. Moreover, companies are also expected to invest through PEZA and help in the transfer of technology, generation of jobs, and increase the economic activities of people.

 

PEZA also encouraged companies to register with PEZA in order to enjoy the tax incentives being provided under Republic Act No. 7916 or The Special Economic Zones Act of 1995 and Republic Act No. 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

 

“PEZA as a one-stop and non-stop shop, will definitely assist our investors in their applications and also in looking for local partners for their investment activities,” assured Plaza.

 

His Excellency Shambhu S. Kumaran, Director General Plaza, the India Business Forum and other delegates following the conclusion of the Global Biz with PEZA featuring India.

 

 

IBF as Ka-PIPPs

 

PEZA also strengthens its collaborations with various groups in order to help bring investors to the country especially during this time. With this, PEZA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the India Business Forum Association Philippines Inc. (IBF) for the group to become a Ka-PIPPs.

 

The PEZA Investment Promotion Partnership or Ka-PIPPs program seeks to establish a partnership with various agencies, associations, and individuals to encourage foreign direct investment inflows to PEZA ecozones. For this MOU, both PEZA and the IBF will work hand-in-hand to promote the country’s economic potential to Indian investors.

 

The partnership is also in line with PEZA’s initiatives which seeks to fully industrialize the country and transform it into a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating economy.

 

According to Director General Plaza, “PEZA’s efforts would not come to fruition without the help of our Ka-PIPPs who play a very important role in helping PEZA continue its mandate of promoting investments, creating employment, and generating exports in the Philippines even during this time.”

 

The PEZA Chief also looks forward to increasing the registered companies under PEZA with the partnership and the positive response from the Indian delegates. Plaza reported that “there are 29 Indian enterprises registered with PEZA to date. These companies contribute a cumulative total of Php 10.315 Billion of investments since 1995 until September 2021. As of August 2021, these companies also employ 21,950 workers and contribute $ 181 Million USD of exports.”

 

 

 

MOU Signing between PEZA and the IBF in the presence of His Excellency Shambhu S. Kumaran, the Ambassador of India to the Republic of the Philippines.

 

For his part, Mr. Dileep Tiwari, IBF President noted that “This partnership will pave the way for a new relationship between PEZA and IBF. Some IBF Members are already interested to open an office in PEZA economic zones. Also, some members who are non-information technology-business process outsourcing, like those coming from the pharmaceutical background are also considering.”

 

Senior IBF members present during the event included Mr. Jaideep Pradhan (EXL Service); Mr. Pushkar Mishra (HGS); Mr. Shiju Verghese (TCS); Mr. Sanjay Vohra (Transrail Lighting); Mr. Animesh Jain (RM Chemicals); Mr. Venkatachalapathy Swaminathan (TVS Motor Company); Mr. Nitender Rao (Lgorithm Solutions); Mr Thumkesh Khera (Preventia Healthcare); Ms. Aparna Veera (Taskus); Mr. Rishi Pradhan (Conduent); Mr. Manan Mehta (Collabera); Mr. Vikram Kochar (Shearwater) among others. Mr. Nishikant Singh, First Secretary (Economic and Commerce) was coordinator of the event from the Embassy of India. 

 

Donations to Baguio

 

To show their sincerest appreciation to the warm welcome to the province, the IBF donated motorcycles by Indian automobile company, TVS Motor Company, to Baguio City, Tuba, and the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ).

 

During the flag raising ceremony at the Baguio City Hall Grounds, India Business Forum Association Philippines Inc. (IBF) donated various medical supplies and also pledged to donate P4 Million worth of assorted COVID-19 medicines, to the Baguio City.

 

“This is an essential medicine that will help us address [the COVID-19 variant] Omicron,” said Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

 

Meanwhile, the IBF President said that, “I’m sure this medicine will help the government to end the fight against COVID-19.” Ambassador Kumaran also hoped that more Indian medicine which has high efficacy rate in curing COVID will be available to the Philippines.

 

The India Business Forum donated a box of assorted medical supplies and one TVS motorcycle to the Baguio City LGU led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

 

The PEZA Chief noted, “We believe that PEZA, India, and the Baguio City’s strong partnership will be vital in our plans for the recovery of the country and in furthering our economic relations.”

 

“We have a lot to offer. Hence, let us strive to do our best to ensure the attractiveness of the Philippines and continue to attract investors to the country, achieving our goal of making the country self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource generating country,” added Plaza.

PEZA entices more South Koreans to position business in PH amidst new normal

PEZA entices more South Koreans to position business in PH amidst new normal
November 29, 2021
PEZA entices more South Koreans to position business in PH amidst new normal

29 November 2021 (Monday)

 

Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has renewed calls for more South Korean investors to position their businesses in the Philippines as the country gradually eases restrictions in a bid to revive the economy.

 

This comes after PEZA held its “11th Global Biz with PEZA” forum last November 23, with the session focused on fostering Philippine-South Korea investment opportunities through ecozone development.

 

Both the South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Kim In-Chul, and the Philippine Ambassador to South Korea, Her Excellency Maria Theresa Dizon-De Vega, were present during the forum to share their expertise in terms of trade and economic bilateral relations between the two countries.

 

“The Philippines continues to invite the business engagement of our friends in South Korea in our growth story – a story now informed and shaped by the realities of the new normal and the need to build back better and to recover in a forward-looking, innovative, green, and resilient manner,” noted Ambassador De Vega.

 

 

Korean investors contribution to the Philippines amidst pandemic

 

Among the companies registered with PEZA, there are 320 South Korean locators contributing PhP 53.982 Billion in investments, $1.095 Billion USD in exports and employing 42,675 workers as of September 2021.

 

To complement this, PEZA implemented various “balancing acts and business assistance” to its registered enterprises and ensure unhampered services as they contribute to the global supply and demand.

 

“We are not letting this crisis hinder us; rather, we continue our relentless efforts to attract and invite investors. We establish new partnerships as well with various government agencies so that we may be able to urge more local and foreign investors to do business in the Philippines by improving the efficiency factors for investments,” stated the PEZA Chief.

 

Statistics likewise confirm the continuous valuable contributions of South Korean investors in the Philippine economy even during this pandemic. Ambassador De Vega reported that the pandemic did not hamper the Philippines’ economic relation with South Korea, stating that “in 2020, the Republic of Korea was the 5th major trading partner of the Philippines (out of PH’s 225 trading partners), 7th biggest export market (out of 213 PH’s markets) and 4th largest import supplier (out of 205 PH’s suppliers). total bilateral trade was valued at us $13.92 billion.”

 

 the Republic of Korea was the fifth major trading partner of the Philippines our of 225 trading partners, the seventh biggest export market our of 213 markets, and the fourth largest import supplier out of over 200 PH suppliers.”

 

 

Addressing efficiency factors

 

Despite the strong and continuous trade partnerships between the two countries, Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP) President Ho-Ik Lee has pointed out that there are still various reasons affecting the Korean investors’ decision to invest in the Philippines. Such includes “the limitation and restrictions of Korean investors’ ownership under Philippine policy.”

 

Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP) President Ho-Ik Lee sharing some of the concerns of investors considering the Philippines as investment destination during the open forum of the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Korea.

 

While land ownership in the country is a policy embodied in the Philippine Constitution, the PEZA Chief explained that the reason why PEZA is adapting the Transformation Road Map as it seeks to address the lacking efficiency factors that investors are looking when investing.

 

“On top of PEZA’s brand of service, we are now thinking global and acting local with the Transformation Road Map, which aims to ceaselessly promote and enhance the competitiveness of the Philippine market and contribute to the global supply chain,” said Plaza.

 

PEZA’s efforts has been seconded by the testimonies from Samsung Electro-Mechanics Philippines Corporation (SEMPHIL), PEZA’s top Korean locator company.

 

According to SEMPHIL Chief Finance Officer Mr. Dong-hoon Lee, “PEZA has been a close partner in our company’s journey more particularly on streaming lines of rules and procedures, making it easy for investors to understand quickly and decisively. The one-stop-shop scheme of PEZA make every business operation easier. We can say that investing in the Philippines under PEZA has a great advantage, with a professional, efficient, and knowledgeable team to support investors need.”

 

 

PH-Korea Free Trade Agreement

 

Complementing various efforts implemented by PEZA and the national government to continue help revive the economy, Ambassador Kim and Ambassador De Vega, along with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Seoul, have also encouraged Korean companies to look into the Philippines for more investment opportunities especially in advanced and future-centric industries with the finalization of the Philippine-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

 

 

 

Her Excellency Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, the Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, discussing about the Philippines as an investment destination during the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Korea.

 

“Korea’s status as a high-technology, innovation-focused economy makes it an attractive development partner for the Philippines in various sectors, ensuring the Philippines’ development in these sectors is critical in helping the country fulfill its stated long-term commitments towards inclusive green growth and sustainable development,” explained Ambassador De Vega.

 

With this, Her Excellency noted that “We hope that businesses present here today will take advantage of the [Philippine-Korea Free Trade Agreement] once it becomes effective by next year so we can increase trade between our two countries. With an FTA in place, the Philippines remains as an ideal investment destination and partner for companies in Korea.”

 

Ambassador Kim likewise added that “When the FTA takes effect, a framework for future-oriented collaboration will be created not only to promote trade and investment between our two countries but also to tackle the spread of infectious disease and climate change together.”

 

 

His Excellency Kim In-Chul, the Korean Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines delivering his message during the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Korea.

 

Meanwhile, PTIC-Seoul commercial counselor Jose Ma. Dinsay has advised potential investors to take advantage of the time ahead of the effectivity of the FTA to “immediately benefit from all the features that the FTA can offer.”

 

For her part, Director General Plaza noted that “PEZA continues to ensure the attractiveness of the Philippines to our investors. We do not only seek to achieve but we also believe that we can attain AmBisyon Natin 2040 where we create a much inclusive growth for the Philippines.”

PEZA: PH ready to welcome more Taiwanese investors

PEZA: PH ready to welcome more Taiwanese investors
November 29, 2021
PEZA: PH ready to welcome more Taiwanese investors

29 November 2021 (Monday)

 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, along with Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Head of Mission Michael Peiyung Hsu and Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman and Resident Representative Wilfredo Fernandez, has again announced that the Philippines is ready to welcome more Taiwanese investors to the country in line with the gradual reopening of the Philippine economy as the number of daily  COVID cases reported has been decreasing.

 

This call comes after the conduct of the “Global Biz with PEZA” featuring Taiwan last November 24, 2021 (Wednesday), an initiative and forum to entice more investors to the Philippines amidst the pandemic.

 

 

 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza during the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Taiwan.

 

According to the PEZA Chief, “Having this Global Biz Forum is a really timely discussion as this can pave the way to build linkages with potential local partners and identify prospective locations in our ecozones where you can establish your enterprises.”

 

“We want to deepen and enhance business and investments endeavors with [Taiwan]. I believe that with our synergy, we can spur economic growth for our respective nations more efficiently. As neighbor countries, connecting links is paramount now that our societies and the world is now transitioning to ‘new normal’,” she added.

 

Attracting more investors PH

 

In line with PEZA’s initiatives to further attract investors to the country, the TECO Head Hsu assured support from his team in helping PEZA to aggressively promote the Philippines as an investment destination.

 

According to Hsu, more Taiwanese firms have expressed keen interest to invest in the Philippines encouraged by the initiatives of the PEZA to further ease doing of business for investors in the economic zone. This is with regards to PEZA’s Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Bureau of Immigration (BI), allowing PEZA to now issue its own visa.

 

Meanwhile, MECO Chairman Fernandez noted the importance of focusing on technology transfer to attract foreign direct investments (FDI).

 

“We would like Taiwan to look into the Philippines as a possible country of investment for their chip technology, as we all know that the chip manufacturing industry is the crown jewel of Taiwan. They need not recruit overseas Filipino workers but just settle in Manila and coordinate with PEZA,” said Fernandez.

 

Likewise, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines (TECO) Industrial Park Vice President for Marketing Mr. Jake Jan and Tong Hsing Electronics Phils., Inc. President Mr. Ching-Hsing Lin also shared testimonies about being a PEZA-registered company and developer/operator and about PEZA’s brand of service and ease of doing business.

 

 

 

[From top left to bottom right:] Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Head of Mission Michael Peiyung Hsu, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman and Resident Representative Wilfredo Fernandez, and Director for Commercial Affairs Anthony B. Rivera, DTI-PTIC Taipei sharing their expertise during the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Taiwan open forum moderated by Mr. Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal, Group Manager of the Promotions and Public Relations Group.

 

Taiwanese Investors in PEZA

 

As of August 2021, PEZA has a total of 112 locator companies registered and located in PEZA ecozones. These companies generate PhP 32.678 billion investments which employs 40,359 employees and contribute $601 million in exports.

 

 

 

TECO Industrial Park VP for Marketing Mr. Jake Jan (right) sharing his testimony about being a PEZA-registered developer/operator during the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Taiwan open forum moderated by Mr. Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal, GroQup Manager of the Promotions and Public Relations Group (left).

 

“It is noteworthy to share that in the history of rise of ecozones, the Philippines was second to Taiwan among the earliest to establish ecozones in Asia before it proliferated in different countries. From Foreign Trade Zone Authority to Export Processing Authority (EPZA), these transitioned in 1995 to what we know in present as PEZA,” Plaza shared.

 

According to the PEZA Chief, “Now more than ever, PEZA remains aggressive in keeping and even attracting more investors to the country. At the same time, we also understand and we are aware of the grievances and concerns of our locators and stakeholders since the pandemic started in 2020.”c

 

“We must strive to pursue more investors who will play a vital role in developing our regions and help us achieve AmBisyon Natin 2040,” said Plaza.

PEZA’s feature at Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star for the agency’s programs special projects launched during the Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021, Transformation Road Map and Performance for 25 years

PEZA’s feature at Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star for the agency’s programs special projects launched during the Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021, Transformation Road Map and Performance for 25 years
November 26, 2021
PEZA’s feature at Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star for the agency’s programs special projects launched during the Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021, Transformation Road Map and Performance for 25 years

 

26 November 2021 (Friday)

 

PEZA has been featured in an ad on the Philippine Star last November 25, 2021 (Thursday) in time for its Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021.

 

Also featured in the publication are PEZA’s Performance, Incentives, the agency’s business assistance and reprieves to its locator companies during this pandemic, and also the benefits of investing in the Philippines.

 

 

PEZA has been featured in an ad on the Philippine Daily Inquirer last November 26, 2021 (Friday) wherein it highlighted the special projects launched during the Investors’ Recognition Day Galing Pinas Excellence Awards 2021.

 

Also featured in the publication is the top investment agency’s

Transformational Road Map with the PEZA worldview of “Thinking Global, Acting Local” as well as its Recognitions from both local and international levels.

PEZA at 26th year, soars high, to honor outstanding foreign and Filipino workers, and to launch special projects on Investors’ Recognition Day 2021

PEZA at 26th year, soars high, to honor outstanding foreign and Filipino workers, and to launch special projects on Investors’ Recognition Day 2021
November 23, 2021
PEZA at 26th year, soars high, to honor outstanding foreign and Filipino workers, and to launch special projects on Investors’ Recognition Day 2021

 
23 November 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – Celebrating 26 years this 2021 as the leading export-oriented investment promotion agency (IPA) in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is gearing up to host its annual Investors’ Recognition Day on 25 November, Thursday at PEZA Head Office in Pasay City.

The theme of the event is “PEZA soaring high: Making Philippines as an investment haven in Asia; Thinking Global and Acting Local; Galing Pinas”.
 

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said, “For almost two years of battling with the COVID-19 and the challenges it has brought to our nation and to the world, I am proud that PEZA maintains its brand of excellence and we continue to perform our mandate of attracting new investments, fortifying and creating new partnerships and innovations, and making big contributions to our country’s economy.”

“It is also a great honor to recognize and give toast to our ecozone locators, developer-operators, and registered enterprises for their valuable and immense contributions in the economic by continuing operations, providing jobs to Filipinos, and export income to the country. Together, we overcome challenges during this pandemic,” added the PEZA Chief.

Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (NORDCHAM) President Bo Lundqvist, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) Dr. Danilo C. Lachica, and the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) President Henry Lim Bon Liong are just some of the principals who will grace the series of events particularly on the Investors’ Recognition Day.

This year’s Investors’ Recognition Day, the PEZA Director General will deliver her State of the PEZA Address (SOPA). After this, the agency will grant 58 export-oriented companies with the following award categories: Outstanding Exporter, Outstanding Employer, Outstanding Community Projects, Outstanding Environmental Performance, COVID-19 Response Award, Galing Pinas! Award, Hall of Fame Award, and Billionaires Award. In the SOPA, the PEZA Chief will update all stakeholders about the latest performance and plans of PEZA in the present and coming years.

PEZA’s Award Categories to Honor Investors

The Outstanding Exporter Award is given to locators that has accomplished outstanding performance in exports and is a good corporate citizen while the Outstanding Employer Award is awarded to companies that generated the most number of jobs, held high regard for the welfare of its workers, and maintained harmony between labor and management.

For the Outstanding Community Project Award, it will be granted to locators or developers that has strengthened its relationship with the community through meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects like scholarship programs, free medical and dental services, tree planting, gift giving, or similar pro-community projects.

Locators that institutionalized its environmental management system, complied with environmental regulations, and fostered partnership between the government and the industry in caring for the environment while simultaneously sustaining economic growth will be awarded the Outstanding

Environmental Performers Award.

Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame Award is awarded to three-time winners of the Outstanding Exporter, Outstanding Employer, Outstanding Community Project and Outstanding Environmental Performer Awards.

The Billionaires Award is awarded to a company that exports at least US$2.5 Billion in any given year.

Further, the COVID-19 Response Award is bestowed to PEZA-registered enterprises and economic zone developer-operators who have successfully established policies and programs to avert the spread of the virus in the workplace.

PEZA’s launching of special projects

Under the Transformation Road Map, PEZA is set to launch and present nine (9) of its special projects in its relentless efforts to aggressively innovate, revolutionize the Agency, and further improve efficiency factors and ease of doing in the Philippines.

Prior to the Investors’ Recognition Day on Thursday, PEZA will officially launch the first 1,000 hardcopies of its Coffee Table Book (CTB) entitled, “Philippine Economic Zones: An Investment Haven in Asia. Galing Pinas, Galing Pinas!” on 23 November, Tuesday. The successful book publication is in partnership with the Seagull Philippines, Inc. led by Author Maria Rosa ‘Bing’ Carrion MNSA, PhD.

back-to-back Global Biz Forum with PEZA will also take place to feature and discuss investment opportunities in the Philippines with Korean investors on 23 November today in the morning prior to the CTB launching in the afternoon. Another Global Biz will focus on Taiwanese investors the next day, 24 November.

On the day of the Investors’ Recognition Day, PEZA will launch its new logo and flag inspired with the “thinking global, acting local” worldview and the Agency’s unceasing goal for a strong and vibrant economy and full industrialization through its economic zones.

Likewise, PEZA will introduce its latest and modified agency website as well as showcase a glimpse of PEZA’s electronic payment and collection system in partnership with MYEG Philippines. These initiatives aim to adapt to new technological heights, provide the ease of doing business, and fulfill PEZA’s one-stop and non-stop shop operations in its ecozones.

PEZA will also unveil the iconic Innovator Man Statue which shall represent the Agency’s continuous innovations for 26 years and beyond, and its strategic adaptation in a fast-paced environment to attain total economic growth in the country.

In line with the recent Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to reduce the processing and approval time of PEZA-Visa (PV) issuance and with the recent Groundbreaking Ceremony for the establishment of the new balanghai-inspired PEZA Headquarters building, Director General Plaza will deliver updates and brief overview on the current progress of these projects.

The awarding ceremony and the launching of PEZA’s special projects will take place on 25 November 2021 Thursday, 1:00 PM PST at the PEZA Head Office Auditorium. In adherence to IATF protocols for Alert Level 2 in Metro Manila and maintain public health standards, limited honorees and guests will be observed.

The Investors’ Recognition Day 2021 will also be livestreamed on PEZA’s official Facebook Page and YouTube Channel here: https://www.facebook.com/PEZAPH and https://youtu.be/zq5W00dvLVM.

PEZA to issue 2 years visa for foreign investors and workers

PEZA to issue 2 years visa for foreign investors and workers
November 19, 2021
PEZA to issue 2 years visa for foreign investors and workers

 
19 November 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – GOOD NEWS! The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime H. Morente yesterday, 18 November, for faster and smoother issuance of PEZA-Visas (PVs) for qualified applicants. 
 

This is in adherence to Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

Through the Signing of the said MOA and its IRR, the PEZA Chief said, “This [will now] allow PEZA to issue working visas to our foreign investors, non-resident foreign employees of PEZA-registered ecozone enterprises, and their respective qualified dependents.”

“Starting this December 1, PEZA and the Bureau of Immigration are finally reducing the processing of visa facilitation and approval from one (1) month to ten (10) days which will greatly improve government processes,” Plaza adds.

On the part of the Bureau of Immigration, Commissioner Morente said, “The signing of this MOA and IRR is a major step forward as we expand our services through collaborations with like-minded institutions such as PEZA.”

Morente states, “The PEZA-Visas will serve not only to facilitate the conduct of businesses in PEZA-registered ecozones, but also highlight the many measures that have been taken by the national government to ensure the ease of doing business (EODB) throughout the country.”

Streamlining visa procedures is pursuant to the “Project Repeal” of the government. It is a government-wide regulatory reform initiative to repeal outdated rules, reduce the cost of doing business, and improve the country’s investment growth.

PEZA-BI MOA and IRR Signing

With the MOA and IRR in place, both agencies will establish a one-stop shop at the PEZA Head office in Double Dragon Plaza, Pasay City with corresponding personnel to expedite the processing, approval, and issuance of PVs.

The Director General highlighted that “our PEZA-Visas shall be valid within and outside our registered economic zones with two (2) years of validity. Qualified dependent/s of foreign national employees working in any of our ecozones can also avail our PVs and is co-terminus with the validity of the PV of the principal foreign investor or employee.”

PEZA-registered enterprises can submit their foreign employees’ PV applications with their complete requirements to the PEZA Zone Administrator or Manager of the ecozone where their enterprise is located.

Meanwhile, IT-BPO companies in Metro Manila, tourism, and medical-tourism ecozone enterprises can submit their PV applications in PEZA Head Office.

According to Morente, the Immigration Commissioner, “This MOA [and its IRR] will ensure that the procedures and processes for monitoring the employment of foreign nationals are implemented properly and consistently.”

PEZA-Visa application

Foreign nationals employed in any PEZA-registered enterprises must submit documentary requirements such as a notarized application form, notarized company’s letter request addressed to the PEZA Director General, checklist of application for PV extension or change of admission, certified true copy of PEZA Certificate of Registration, and photocopy of the foreign applicant’s passport, among others.

On the other hand, dependents of foreign employees must also submit a notarized application form, photocopy of their passport, Philippine embassy/consulate or PSA-issued birth and marriage certificates, and notarized Affidavit of Support/Guarantee which is executed by the PEZA-registered company’s President or Vice President.

PEZA Chief said, “Once approved and issued, the visa will no longer be called the 47 (a)2 visa, but it will be known as the PEZA-Visa with two years validity for qualified international employees and their dependents.”

The Signing of the MOA and its IRRs heeds the national government’s efforts in reopening the country’s economy both to local and foreign investors as quarantine or lockdown levels gradually eases up.

Commissioner Morente believes that “partnerships such as this are most helpful and productive for the Bureau especially this is a joint effort that incorporates the needs of PEZA and its locators as well as the mandate of BI with regards to foreign nationals.”

PEZA, PCCI urge MSMEs to locate as economic zone developers and become local partners for foreign investments

PEZA, PCCI urge MSMEs to locate as economic zone developers and become local partners for foreign investments
November 16, 2021
PEZA, PCCI urge MSMEs to locate as economic zone developers and become local partners for foreign investments

 
16 November 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza is inviting Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) or local businesses and urge stronger ties with business chambers for more robust investments in the country during the recent Global Biz Forum with the Philippine Chamber for Commerce and Industry (PCCI) last Monday, November 8.
 

PEZA Chief Plaza said, “Products and services produced in the Philippines are world-class and in the ever-changing society amidst the ongoing pandemic, we must remain competitive and productive in promoting local investment opportunities that our country can offer to potential investors.”
Plaza highlighted that PEZA works on innovative ways to improve and expand various investment and employment opportunities in the country. “Even with all these pandemic challenges, PEZA continues to find local partners for foreign investments in line with the reopening of our country’s economy,” she said.

Under Administrative Order (AO) 18, PEZA strives within its mandate to spread the creation of special economic zones to the countryside to accelerate rural progress, to hasten human capital and infrastructure development, and provide interventions to strengthen economic zones even those outside Metro Manila.
The PEZA Chief believes that “MSMEs adapting our worldview of ‘thinking global, acting local’ and becoming our local partners can help complete the local supply chain as our economic zone developers. They can even register their lands and enterprises as PEZA-registered ecozones.”

PCCI President Ambassador Benedicto V. Yujuico is one with PEZA and this month’s Global Biz theme of Mobilizing Domestic Enterprises Towards Economic Recovery for All. Ambassador Yujuico said, “Because of the successful implementations [of economic zones] by PEZA, we now have [the] BPO [sector] as our country’s second-largest dollar earner after our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the means of remittances,” the Ambassador added.

Business opportunities for domestic enterprises

On the potential areas for investment in South Luzon, Regional Governor of Region 4, Sallie C. Lacson said, “[As] the urban gateway corridor for industrialization, CALABARZON region hosts the big names in electronics and semiconductor industries such as Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Samsung, Epson, and Sony, among others.”

As of March 2021, PEZA manages a total of 61 economic zones located in CALABARZON with 2,022 locator companies with Laguna as the highest number of locators followed by Cavite and Batangas.

Regional Governor Lacson noted that “most of the ecozones in [Region 4] are newly built which can provide areas for economic-related activities especially for manufacturing, electronics, automotive, food processing, pharmaceutical, and consumer products.”
“With the establishment of new roads, highways, and bridges [in South Luzon], ecozones can benefit on this for shorter delivery routes of raw materials from ports to industrial facilities,” Lacson added.

This has been seconded by the Crabmeat Canning Plant Owner and Bacolod Blue Star Export Corporation Consultant Willard Gallo stating that “road widening with corresponding drainage systems is a priority for ease of transport of raw materials and finished goods.”

Meanwhile, the Mindanao region, Macala Business Group Owner and Bangon Marawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) President Elian Macala expressed his interest for the banking, logistics, agricultural, and manufacturing companies to locate and operate in Marawi City for socio-economic recovery.

BMCCI President Macala said, “My fellow Maranaos are still recuperating from the siege in 2017 [and the effects of the COVID-19], hence, we need the assistance of the national government and private sectors to help us rebuild Marawi and invest in our city which will also establish malls and other halal food chains.

Consultant Willard Gallo is also looking for business potential partners particularly those who are into venture capital partnerships. Gallo said, “As the fourth biggest seafood processing commodity in our country, we want to adapt [to] more modern technological practices as we are 100% exports.”

On CREATE, PEZA Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso O. Panga highlighted that “local investors can avail our fiscal incentives such as initially enjoying the 4 to 7 years of income tax holiday (ITH) with tier classification after the ITH period. After this period, they can enjoy additional 5 years of enhanced deductions.”

“LGUs also play a critical role in providing additional incentives and helping PEZA create a conducive business environment. Magtulungan po tayo,” added Panga.

Young and dynamic workforce

With the young, growing, and well-educated population as well as having vibrant natural resources in the Philippines, PCCI Ambassador Yujuico said, “I believe these will propel our country’s economy in moving forward.”

On the part of South Luzon, Regional Governor Lacson proudly highlighted that “Region 4 has competent and highly-educated human resourced-based for the manufacturing and services industries with reliable industries, well-placed infrastructure, business-friendly environment, and booming tourism circuits.”

PCCI Secretary General Ruben J. Pascual commends PEZA under the leadership of Plaza. He said, “PEZA has really accomplished a lot of things especially in opening up new economic zones and protecting [more than] 1.6 million jobs of Filipinos. And now, PEZA has opened up investment opportunities to domestic enterprises which will be beneficial to PCCI members.”

“I accept the challenge on behalf of PCCI to beat the conduit to local investors and ecozone developers for PEZA. I see a lot of possibilities on how we can help you [PEZA] promote with all the foreign chamber partners of PCCI as well as assist you in designing of ecozones with our foremost architectures that we have,” added the Secretary General.

PCCI also assures PEZA as its advocacy partner in the amendment of 12% tax under the CREATE Law.

PEZA’s export income and employment increase in 2021 despite pandemic 

PEZA’s export income and employment increase in 2021 despite pandemic 
November 11, 2021
PEZA’s export income and employment increase in 2021 despite pandemic 

11 November 2021 (Saturday)
 

Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza emphasized on Thursday that PEZA’s export income and employment generated in ecozones this 2021 to date increased despite the pandemic.
 

“Indeed, PEZA continued to perform its mandate to the utmost of our abilities in almost two years since pandemic affected global economy. In fact, PEZA locators and companies continued operations during pandemic until present,” explained Plaza.

Based on our zone reports as of September 2021, a total of 90% of our registered companies are operating nationwide under various work arrangements, 3% higher compared from 87% last year covering the same period.

This has allowed PEZA to report a positive increase in its actual exports and employment for the period of January to August 2021.

PEZA reported an 11.12% increase in its actual employment which totaled to 1,687,938 and there is a 17.35% increase in terms of export income amounting to $40.692 Billion USD.

Plaza also noted that, “PEZA continues to contribute 65% of export income on commodities and goods, and export service income of 85% from ITBPO and tourism-oriented companies registered with PEZA.”

“This is not possible of course without the help of our locators who kept the economy afloat,” noted Plaza.

PEZA BALANCING ACTS

In response to this, PEZA implemented various ‘balancing acts’ to protect both the country’s economy and Filipino workers. “We ensured that our services are operating non-stop without compromising the health, safety, and the jobs our workforce,” said the PEZA Chief.

Such balancing acts include the inclusion of COVID-related expenses as deductibles for enterprises availing of the 5% GIE incentive, the inclusion of IT-BPO companies and economic frontline workers in the subgroup of the A4 vaccination priority list to fasten the attainment of herd immunity for the reopening of the economy; and the allowance of 90% WFH arrangements.

PEZA’s continuous implementation of its brand of excellence, which is recognized globally by the IFC World Bank, and these acts have allowed PEZA to receive recognitions from various organizations such as the US Department of State which stated in its official 2020

Investment Climate Statements 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.”

The Presidential Communications Operations Office also, during the 2020 FOI Awards, gave PEZA a Special Citation conferred to government agencies who have exemplified an untiring dedication and commitment to the FOI program during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping its channels of information open and active to the public.

PANDEMIC IMPACT TO ECONOMY MORE FELT IN 2021 THAN 2020

Meanwhile, the PEZA Chief underlined that the pandemic’s effect of slowing down global and local economies was felt more in 2021 compared to when quarantines actually began in 2020.

“The decline in investment pledges and projects in PEZA was felt more in 2021. This is because when the first quarantines began in Philippines in March 2020, there were pending applications for investments and projects that were approved. Thus, 2020 performance didn’t immediately decrease,” explained Plaza.

The Director General said that “Due to the strict lockdowns implemented last year, the approval of projects filed in early 2020 were delayed until mid to late last year. Business groups, entrepreneurs, and exporters were on a wait-and-see mode and had lower risk appetite in their investments during the pandemic. Hence, the impact of the pandemic was really felt this year.”

However, Plaza highlighted that PEZA continued to operate and attract investments during the pandemic. “We retained business confidence and trust in PEZA as we were quick to adjust in the new normal and establish business assistance and reprieves,” she said.

January to October 2021 saw PEZA investments from 215 approved projects total to PhP 62.722 Billion which is 13.66% lower compared to PhP 72.644 Billion investments in 2020 of the similar period.

Most of the investments came from Ecozone Development with PhP 28.754 Billion and the Manufacturing sector with PhP 24.127 Billion and these will be located in Regions IV, VII, and NCR.

Confident for Philippines’ competitiveness amidst the challenges of pandemic, Plaza said “PEZA remained aggressive to attract both local and foreign investors even during the pandemic. We did not let this crisis to hostage us; rather, we create various opportunities to continue our mandate.”

With this, Plaza assured that “We will constantly perform our best to attract investors to the country. We still have two months left this year, and there’s still a lot to happen. Let’s continue to have a positive outlook as we unite in reviving our economy.”

PEZA welcomes Diether Ocampo as newest Investment Promotions Partner

PEZA welcomes Diether Ocampo as newest Investment Promotions Partner
October 23, 2021
PEZA welcomes Diether Ocampo as newest Investment Promotions Partner

PEZA welcomes Diether Ocampo as newest Investment Promotions Partner
 

23 October 2021 (Saturday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has officially welcomed its newest Investment Promotions Partner (also called as “Ka-PIPPs”), actor and Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary Commander Diether Ocampo, during their signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday 20 October at PEZA Head Office in Pasay City.

Now in partnership with PEZA, Diether Ocampo is set to promote foreign direct investment inflows to PEZA ecozones. Under the Ka-PIPPs Program, a part of PEZA’s Transformation Road Map (TRM) and Special Projects, Ocampo will provide business and leisure activities and tours in the Philippines to attract more investments into the country to promote PEZA ecozones worldwide.

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “Amidst the pandemic, we must all continue to work together in attracting foreign enterprises to come and invest in the Philippines. Magtulungan po tayo to invite investors to locate or even create different types of economic zones especially in the countryside.”

The PEZA Chief also highlighted, “I am happy that our Ka-PIPPs family is growing and now with Mr. Diether Ocampo, we have more partners actively helping the national government’s efforts to [continuously] implement Administrative Order No. 18 and Executive Order No. 114.”

“These [said] laws aim to create a much inclusive growth for the country and provide equal opportunities to the Filipinos, geared towards achieving AmBisyon Natin 2040,” Plaza added.

Newest PEZA Ka-PIPPs and Ambassador

As stated by PEZA’s newest Ka-PIPPs and Investment Promotions Ambassador, Ocampo said, “I am proud and honored to be PEZA’s partner in promoting your Agency and our country’s vast economic potential.”

In promoting and attracting investments in the Philippines, Ocampo assured that “unitedly and as one of your investment promotions partners, we can bring PEZA to new heights, opening the gates of endless potentials, and embark on new frontiers of ecozone development.”

Further, Plaza said, “Our newest Ka-PIPPs partner will register its eligible ecozone projects with PEZA and encourage related industries in setting up production facilities in our economic zones.”

Ka-PIPPs new partner Diether Ocampo has also invited his circle of diplomatic friends who were present during the MOU signing event including: H.E Shobin Gunasekera, Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the Philippines; H.E Songkane Luangmuninthone, Ambassador of Lao People’s Democratic Republic to the Philippines; Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E Hoang Huy Chung; US Economic Officer John Averett; and Trade and Commercial Attaché Embassy of Japan to the Philippines Yasuhiro Chino among others.

Support to DOLLAR Program

Performing the role of promotions and goodwill ambassador in helping PEZA boost its economic zones locally and worldwide, Ka-PIPPs partner Diether Ocampo has also shown his support to PEZA Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources Program also known as the DOLLAR Program.

Ocampo expressed that, “Through PEZA’s DOLLAR Program with sub-projects and activities posing on critical areas of training, skills development, and jobs matching, PEZA is working hard to make sure that our special economic zones are world-class, environment-friendly, and most importantly, setting the stage of the Philippines as a power-house and a priority investment destination.”

To date, PEZA has recorded a total of 60,164 projected available employment in the economic zones amidst the pandemic.

PEZA will guide IPP Diether Ocampo with the regulatory requirements in doing business in the Philippines which will enable him to optimize business opportunities with PEZA ecozones as a potential ASEAN regional production and distribution hub for manufactured products.

Korean company invests in PEZA ecozone as its first e-vehicle manufacturer 

Korean company invests in PEZA ecozone as its first e-vehicle manufacturer 
October 22, 2021
Korean company invests in PEZA ecozone as its first e-vehicle manufacturer 

Korean company invests in PEZA ecozone as its first e-vehicle manufacturer 
 

22 October 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – Joining and supporting the electronic vehicle industry and production in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza has signed on Wednesday 21 October, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ENPLUS Co. Ltd. CEO and Chairman, Young Yong Ahn for joint ventures to provide and manufacture fuel-saving electric vehicles (EV) in economic zones.
 

Plaza said, “EnPlus, a Korean company, is [now] our partner in investing in the countryside and believing in [the] Philippines as an investment haven in Asia. We appreciate EnPlus in their commitment and alliance with us towards making the Philippines a clean, sustainable, and environment-friendly country.”

ENPLUS will manufacture and supply electric cars and electric jeepneys in the Philippines.

First electronic vehicle (EV) PEZA-registered manufacturer

According to Plaza, “EnPlus will be our first electronic vehicle manufacturer to be registered under PEZA where they can avail special incentives for pioneering projects.”

“EnPlus invests PhP 5 billion to manufacture and operate facilities of electric cars and electric jeepneys in municipality of Pulupandan (Port of Pulupandan) which is situated in Negros Occidental,” the Director General added.

The MOU Signing with PEZA and EnPlus is in line with the Agency’s goal for a resilient economic zone development specifically in regions outside Metro Manila.

In efforts to contribute to the reduction of the country’s carbon emission, the PEZA Chief believes that “Using EVs are better for our environment as they emit fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than vehicles using petrol or diesel. In the global context, electric cars have yet to be mainstreamed.”

EV-producing Korean company chooses PEZA

Meanwhile, the CEO and Chairman of EnPlus, Ahn Young Yong has expressed his gratitude to PEZA. He said, “EnPlus really appreciates partnering with PEZA in supplying electric vehicles.”

Moreover, he added that “We are also thankful to the Philippines for [allowing us] to supply more than 100 units of pump trucks, water trunks, aerial ladder and rescue trucks last year in the country.”

The EnPlus CEO also noted, “We’d like to make a better world and provide more fire trucks and electric vehicles to the Philippines. With this, we would like to expand our business in your country to manufacture environment and energy-friendly vehicles starting with your jeepneys since they are the most popular mode of transportation in your country.”

On the part of PEZA, the Agency will provide a 30-hectare land to link prospect industries to EnPlus for joint investment ventures and other related agreements for eligible projects of PEZA.

Further, according to a special advisor of the PEZA Director General, Mr. Charlie Wee, he shared that, “EnPlus has already donated a fire truck and will donate ambulances to PEZA which will be shipped next month."”

Under the signed MOU, PEZA and EnPlus will strengthen cooperative approach in the means of business match making, conducting special briefings, and roundtable discussions to achieve the middle-class status of the Philippines in the years to come and to maintain economic, greener, and sustainable growth in the country.

Investment prospects in Mindanao

Of the new types of economic zones that PEZA has introduced, Director General Plaza highlighted the halal hubs and production economic zones where Malaysian investors can locate and expand their industries particularly in the countryside.

“With the Republic Act 10817 also known as the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, and Republic Act 11439 or the Islamic Banking Act, our country is poised to becoming a significant player in the global Halal industry,” Plaza noted.

She added, “In continuous support to our Transformation Road Map (TRM) which also heeds to the call of the national government under Administrative Order No. 18, we have identified 18 locations in Mindanao such as Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur and del Norte, Davao City, Sulu, Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Sur and del Norte, Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, Zamboanga del Sur and del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Maguindanao, areas rich in agriculture, aquaculture, and agro-forestry among others.”

“Given the Malaysians’ contribution in our economy, which is vital especially during this pandemic, we must continue to attract more Malaysian investors to come and invest in the Philippines and widen our reach for sectors unique only in Malaysia,” she emphasized.

To date, PEZA manages 415 economic zones nationwide which host 4,665 locator companies that directly employ 1.6 million workers. PEZA has also generated P32.057 Billion of investments and exports amounting to $30.177 Billion during the first half of 2021.

PEZA reinforces economic relations with Malaysia for more robust export investments and trading partners in ecozones

PEZA reinforces economic relations with Malaysia for more robust export investments and trading partners in ecozones
October 19, 2021
PEZA reinforces economic relations with Malaysia for more robust export investments and trading partners in ecozones

PEZA reinforces economic relations with Malaysia for more robust export investments and trading partners in ecozones
 

19 October 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – In continuous pursuit to attain socio-economic development in the Philippines, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza has encouraged more Malaysian stakeholders to explore more investment and business opportunities in the country and promote the economic zones as a viable location for their industries.
 

This comes after the October 14 Global Biz with PEZA featuring Malaysia which was attended by Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia H.E. Charles C. Jose, Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Norman Bin Muhammad, and representatives from PEZA-registered Malaysian enterprises to discuss promoting PEZA ecozones for various industries.

The PEZA Chief said, “At present, we have a total of 56 Malaysian enterprises registered and located in PEZA ecozones. These Malaysian companies have generated PhP 17.571 Billion of investments cumulatively from 1995 to June 2021, and as of August 2021, these companies employ 10,998 workers and contribute $52.599 Million of exports.”

Benefits of investing in ecozones

Director General Plaza highlighted the Philippines as “the only country granted by the European Union Parliament the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status among ASEAN countries and we are also expecting for the renewal of our GSP+ status in the USA.”

“Our country is also waiting for implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which is seen to enhance our businesses' participation in the global value chains given that this agreement will promote partnerships between the ASEAN nations, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea,” the PEZA Chief noted.

Plaza also emphasized the rich natural and human resources with vast lands for different types of economic activities in the Philippines as some of the many factors that local and foreign enterprises are looking for in doing business in the country.

Meanwhile, His Excellency Charles C. Jose recognized the importance of economic zones as these boost the Philippine exports and foster employment growth.

According to the Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia, “Benefiting from decades of investments and rising investor appetite for manufacturing projects, economic zones in the Philippines have become an important export promotion tool and investment destination.”

Further, the Malaysian Ambassador said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the economy and businesses worldwide, “It is the [various] businesses that live to pivot effectively and flexibly emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever.”

On the part of the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines (MCCIP), President Hans How Han Hui said, “The Philippines has a young and dynamic population and geographically, our countries are [very] near to each other. We also have similarities in terms of culture and language skills which serve as a potential market to tap on in the long run.”

Investment prospects in Mindanao

Of the new types of economic zones that PEZA has introduced, Director General Plaza highlighted the halal hubs and production economic zones where Malaysian investors can locate and expand their industries particularly in the countryside.

“With the Republic Act 10817 also known as the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, and Republic Act 11439 or the Islamic Banking Act, our country is poised to becoming a significant player in the global Halal industry,” Plaza noted.

She added, “In continuous support to our Transformation Road Map (TRM) which also heeds to the call of the national government under Administrative Order No. 18, we have identified 18 locations in Mindanao such as Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur and del Norte, Davao City, Sulu, Sultan Kudarat, Surigao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Sur and del Norte, Davao del Norte, North Cotabato, Zamboanga del Sur and del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Maguindanao, areas rich in agriculture, aquaculture, and agro-forestry among others.”

“Given the Malaysians’ contribution in our economy, which is vital especially during this pandemic, we must continue to attract more Malaysian investors to come and invest in the Philippines and widen our reach for sectors unique only in Malaysia,” she emphasized.

To date, PEZA manages 415 economic zones nationwide which host 4,665 locator companies that directly employ 1.6 million workers. PEZA has also generated P32.057 Billion of investments and exports amounting to $30.177 Billion during the first half of 2021.

PEZA backs IT locators, appeals for exemption and reconsideration re FIRB Resolution No. 21-19

PEZA backs IT locators, appeals for exemption and reconsideration re FIRB Resolution No. 21-19
September 27, 2021
PEZA backs IT locators, appeals for exemption and reconsideration re FIRB Resolution No. 21-19

PEZA backs IT locators, appeals for exemption and reconsideration re FIRB Resolution No. 21-19
 

27 September 2021 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – In response to the concerns of the IT-BPO sector, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has once again appealed to the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the exemption of IT-BPO companies from the implementation of the work-from-home (WFH) guidelines under the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) Resolution No. 21-19.
 

In a letter to DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, PEZA has backed the request of its IT-BPO locators to reconsider maintaining the WFH arrangement that PEZA implemented at the beginning of the pandemic under Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-011 dated 05 March 2020 and was further extended under various MCs until 12 September 2021. Under PEZA directives, registered IT enterprises were allowed to engage in WFH operations to the extent of up to 90% of their total revenues.

“The present appeal of the IT Enterprises is anchored on the threat posed by the Delta variant of COVID-19 to its employees which is considered more contagious,” noted Plaza.

“Many of our locators are reeling from the effects of this pandemic, but they are continuing operations to comply with the global supply and demand. This continues to help us to keep the jobs of our people and our economy afloat. The little we can do is to assist them in matters such as this,” she explained.

FIRB Resolution No. 21-19

In recognition of the authority of the FIRB over the IPAs, the PEZA Board recommended the extension of the WFH arrangement. Under Resolution No. 21-206 dated 06 July 2021, PEZA requested that the extension of the WFH arrangement shall be based on the gross revenue of the IT enterprises.

The FIRB has approved the extension and PEZA has released MC no. 2021-049 in adherence to the directives of FIRB. However, under FIRB Resolution No. 21-19, IT-BPO companies are directed to maintain at least 10% of their total employees onsite.

“This directive poses a problem because a number of employees are understandably hesitant to report to work because of the surge in the number of infections and the over-capacity of the hospitals in case they get infected by the virus. While the enterprises are grateful for the extension of the WFH arrangement, the health and safety of their employees is still their primordial consideration,” explained Plaza.

Likewise, the PEZA Chief added that “This will defeat the purpose of the extension of the WFH arrangement which is to limit the mobility of workers and lessen the pressure on public transport because they will contribute to the number of people outside even if it is possible for them to perform their jobs within the confines of their respective homes.”

Threshold for WFH arrangements

Accordingly, PEZA has appealed to the FIRB to reinstate the basis of the threshold of the WFH arrangement to gross revenue instead of the total workforce as a temporary measure available to IT enterprises. This is to support their recovery and protect their employees from the risks of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace.

The revenue-based computation of the threshold shall afford more protection to the employees and is more in keeping of the intent of the resolution.

Likewise, the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) has stated that the clarification on the threshold is “a fair treatment considering that any breach that might happen would only be due to compelling circumstances such as putting the health and safety of employees as more paramount. In light of the recent surges in COVID cases, our member companies are heeding the call of the National Government to place as many of their employees under WFH as possible so as not to expose them to the risk of catching COVID-19 when going out to work.”

Further, IBPAP explained, “Our members are registered enterprises that aim to maintain their export revenue commitments and keep their people to ensure seamless delivery of services. However, there are factors affecting revenue and employee attrition that are beyond the control of the enterprise.”

As such, PEZA also requested for leniency on the imposition of the penalty as the enterprises are struggling to comply with the latest directive from the FIRB.

“We need to unite all our efforts to combat this crisis and to help revive our economy. Let us do our best to provide assistance to our investors and merge our collaborative initiatives for our country and our people,” noted Director General Plaza.

PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed

PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed
September 24, 2021
PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed

PEZA Chief: No transfer of jurisdiction over labor disputes under the proposed AIPP, rights of workers are guaranteed
 

24 September 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has clarified that the proposed Alliance for Industrial Peace and Program (AIPP) neither intends to remove jurisdiction over labor disputes from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) nor aims to prejudice the constitutional and statutory rights of workers in the economic zones.
 

Established in 2018 in partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the AIPP is the proposed successor of the now defunct Joint Industrial Peace Council (JIPCO) which has for its primary object the preemption and prevention of crimes, of whatever nature, within the economic zones as it carries out its mandate of promoting and maintaining industrial peace. It aims not only to safeguard the rights of the workers guaranteed them by the constitution and the law, but also to secure their lives and property.

“Peace and security are important factors of investment to all PEZA-registered enterprises so they can be viable with their operations in the Philippines as they compete in the global market. Through the AIPP and its IRR, we believe this will harness the ease of doing business (EODB) in our zones as we implement the township concept and help provide a safe and secure ecozone environment for all of the Filipino and foreign workers, locators, and investors in ecozones,” said the PEZA Chief.

Director General Plaza likewise emphasized that PEZA has two (2) non-negotiables: 1) protection of the environment; and 2) rights of the workers. “PEZA assures that its policies are aligned with that of the DOLE and International Conventions and Trade Policies, particularly in the areas of Human Rights, Labor, Environmental Protection, and Good Governance,” she noted.

Various measures and policies are in place in order to ensure that the constitutional and statutory rights of the workers (Freedom of Association and Social Dialogues, among others) are upheld and promoted in the economic zones.

Moreover, labor-related seminars and trainings are continuously being conducted in order to raise awareness among the workers and management of their rights, duties, and obligations. In 2019 and up until the second quarter of 2020, 25 seminars were conducted. Further, PEZA’s Industrial Relations Division and units in its public zones in Cavite, Baguio, and Mactan continuously provide labor-related assistance to workers and management alike, not only in the settlement of disputes, but also in giving guidance in the proper exercise of the right to organize, bargain collectively, peaceably assemble, security of tenure, among others, on the part of the workers, and the proper exercise of management prerogative on the part of the management.

To date, PEZA has recorded and monitored more than 70 unions in 67 locators located in the 27 economic zones nationwide. Of the 78 unions, 22,372 union members are working inside the economic zones, of which 13,231 are male and 9,141 are female.

PEZA to start construction of iconic, historical, and green headquarters in Pasay

PEZA to start construction of iconic, historical, and green headquarters in Pasay
September 23, 2021
PEZA to start construction of iconic, historical, and green headquarters in Pasay

PEZA to start construction of iconic, historical, and green headquarters in Pasay
 

23 September 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – In relentless efforts to remain as the top export-oriented investment promotion agency (IPA) in the country and promote sustainable development, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza has announced on Monday, September 20, the construction of the new PEZA building in Almeda, Roxas Boulevard corner San Luis Street, Pasay City following the groundbreaking ceremony for the landmark building.
 

One of the major projects of PEZA under the Transformation Roadmap (TRM), the PEZA Chief noted that the new PEZA Building, which is done in partnership with the LBP Leasing and Finance Corporation (LLFC), “shall represent our continuous pursuit to improve our global competitiveness and support our plans and programs for the next years in accordance with our vision and mandate.”

“The Rhodium 688 Builders, Inc. shall construct our proposed steel-based 13-story building which will be funded through a lease-to-own agreement with the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) where we expect to attain ownership in 15 years,” said Plaza.

A balanghai-inspired building

The PEZA Chief highlighted that, “our new home will serve as a world-class business investment center, industry excellence, and as a tourism ecozone encapsulating Rhodium 688 Builders’ [winning] inspiration and ours for this resplendent design: a balanghai-inspired building.”

“This historical edifice which I first envisioned back in 2018 symbolizes our nation’s deep-rooted values of ingenuity, astuteness, innovativeness, and the bayanihan spirit as we work together towards achieving a common goal and forming strategic partnerships through trade, investment, and commercial activities.” Plaza noted.

Rhodium 688 Builders Inc. Architect Geefy P. Evangelista explained that “the new PEZA headquarters shall represent as a show window to multinational and future locators. The balanghai is indeed a symbolic element that we will use in this project as it also embodies PEZA’s functions.”

Meanwhile, the LLFC Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Executive Vice President (EVP) Edward Reyes who virtually graced the ceremony commended the Director General for her initiatives in the long-awaited initial step towards the creation of the new PEZA headquarters.

Reyes said that while the pandemic caused a slight delay, “PEZA is ready to set sail to new frontiers with the joint efforts of LLFC, the assistance of Santos Knight Frank Management, and the Rhodium 688 Builders.”

“Together, we will be building an iconic and environment-friendly structure. It is a structure befitting PEZA’s mandates which brings investors to our country, generate employment, and create more opportunities for millions of our fellowmen,” Reyes added.

PEZA’s Transformation Road Map

The PEZA Chief said, “Our new PEZA headquarters will serve as an ecozone model to the world as we continue to aggressively address our services to be closer to the people, enhancing the ease of doing business, and addressing efficiency factors to lower the cost of doing business in the country.”

The Director General also mentioned that aside from the establishment of the new building, PEZA is also gearing to implement the other major projects under her term such as the automation of payments, new Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS), transformation of public zones together with the new PEZA building to become models of township, green, healthy and smart ecozones as well as the creation of different types of ecozones nationwide to attract various industries through utilizing millions of hectares of idle lands.

Further, on the first half of 2021, the investments made by PEZA amounted to PhP 32.057 Billion which is 8.52% higher compared to last year’s approved investments worth PhP 29.541 Billion.

“We have to be creative and resourceful in creating and attracting investments, jobs, livelihood, bringing in of technology, and develop idles lands to achieve total economic development especially in the countryside,” Plaza added.

At present, the PEZA headquarters is located at the 8th to 10th floors of the DoubleDragon Center West Building in Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City. The balanghai-inspired PEZA building is estimated to finish in 5 years.

PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside

PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside
September 10, 2021
PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside

PEZA strengthens economic relations with Saudi Arabia for more investment opportunities in the countryside
 

10 September 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – With its one-stop and non-stop shop brand of service despite the ongoing pandemic, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza, with H.E. Adnan V. Alonto, Ambassador of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), have invited more Saudi Arabian investors to invest and locate their industries in various economic zones during the recent PEZA’s Global Biz Special Edition: Philippines-Saudi Business Forum last September 6.
 

Director General Plaza said, “We aim to have more investors from Saudi Arabia and widen our reach for industries unique only in the country. At present, there are three (3) PEZA-registered Saudi Arabian enterprises engaged in IT services and contribute PhP 18.61 million of investments in the Philippines.”

Potential economic zones for Saudi Arabian investors

In line with PEZA’s Transformation Road Map which heeds to the goals of Administrative Order No. 18 in spreading the creation of economic zones especially in the countryside, PEZA is actively involving various local government units (LGUs) to transform idle lands in the regions into ecozones.

Director General Plaza stated, “The agro-industrial, agro-forestry, mineral processing, halal hubs, aqua-marine, and renewable energy parks are the most feasible and viable types of economic zones in attracting Saudi Arabian investors.”

She added, “Ecozones will be promoted and expanded to attract foreign and local investors as part of diversification strategy and strengthening value chain resilience.”

“As such, we have identified Agusan del Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Quezon Province, and Tawi-Tawi among all other locations for this move. We also hope to get the proclamation of ecozones in Tawi-Tawi for international seaports which are good for refinery and oil companies of interested investors from KSA,” the PEZA Chief said.

Trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines

Ms. Charmaine Mignon S. Yalong, the Commercial Attaché to the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) – Dubai of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), also believes that the Philippines is still considered as an investment entry hub to Saudi Arabian investors.

According to her, “Even before the pandemic, the Philippines is the third fastest growing economy in Asia with low and stable inflation rates of an average of 3% from 2016 to 2020. This strong growth was supported by the resurgence of the manufacturing sector.”

Yalong also pointed out the report from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) highlighting that “despite the pandemic and its harsh effects, economic growth in the Philippines has accelerated in the second quarter of 2021 to 11.8% compared to -16.9% during the same period last year. Likewise, our nation’s economy is projected to expand by 5.5 in 2021, 6.5% by 2022, and 6.1% by 2023.”

As noted by Ambassador Alonto, “The Philippines already has in place great opportunities for those looking for great returns on investments even during this time of the global pandemic. The Philippine economy has just exited a pandemic-induced recession with its fastest year-on-year growth in more than three decades.”

The PEZA Chief and the PTIC - Dubai Commercial Attaché are positive that the Philippines continues to attract more investment prospects especially with the country’s advantageous demographic spot and a large pool of young, competitive, and skilled workforce.

Building deeper ties with KSA

Expressing his support on deeper liaisons between the KSA and PEZA, the Assistant Secretary-General for The International Affairs Federation of Saudi Chambers, Mr. Waleed H. Alorainan said, “I am delighted to see the participation of His Excellency in this collaboration as it shows the importance of our need to increase and expand our [investment] opportunities in the Philippines.”

DG Plaza and Ambassador Alonto are also looking forward to the official visit of the Saudi Arabian Minister of Labor to Manila to engage with Philippine economic leaders and officials.

“DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez is also scheduled to bring in the Philippines a business delegation to Saudi Arabia before the end of the year,” said Ambassador Alonto.

PEZA invites Filipino-Chinese investors to locate in its Ecozones

PEZA invites Filipino-Chinese investors to locate in its Ecozones
August 27, 2021
PEZA invites Filipino-Chinese investors to locate in its Ecozones

PEZA invites Filipino-Chinese investors to locate in its Ecozones
 

27 August 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has invited the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) to locate and consider PEZA as a potential investment destination, at the recently concluded Global Biz forum where the FFCCCII was featured market.
 

PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza said “Filipino-Chinese businessmen are among the country’s big landowners enticed by PEZA to become economic zone developers and local business partners of foreign investors.”

“We aim to invite more investors to the country and replicate the multiplier effects our enterprises created by locating and even creating more ecozones in the country,” says the Director General.

At present, we have 172 Chinese locators registered under PEZA. These companies contribute PhP 24.093 Billion in investments, 196.374 Million USD in exports, and employ 10,518 workers.

Interests in doing businesses with PEZA

On the part of Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs and enterprises, it was shared that China sees the Philippines as a feasible and a viable location for its young, skilled, English-speaking workforce, and sturdy infrastructure with various land potentials which can be further amplified with the assistance of PEZA.

FFCCCII President Mr. Henry Lim Bon Liong said, “Our federation members and many Chinese investors expressed their interests to explore opportunities to do business in PEZA ecozones especially in export-manufacturing, IT services, tourism, agro-industrial, and logistics. We believe there’s more room for PEZA to expand Chinese and Filipino investors.”

Reviving the economy

Meanwhile, the Philippine Ambassador to China, H.E. Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana commends PEZA for its initiatives in keeping with the whole of nation’s efforts to restore the vibrancy of the Philippine economy in the aftermath caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambassador Sta. Romana said, “Promoting investments and trade is an essential function of the Philippine representation in China. Therefore, The Philippine Embassy, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Beijing as well as representative offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) take every opportunity to promote the Philippines as an ideal destination for investments and trade among investment prospects here in China.”

Director General Plaza assured, “PEZA remains true to its mandate of promoting investments, creating employment, and generating exports to be able to transform the Philippines into a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating investment haven in Asia.”

The Global Biz with the FFCCCI last August 12 was part of the back-to-back event with a Special Edition Global Biz on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive economic zones, which was done in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross the next day, August 13.

PEZA, Israeli investors pursue cooperation on Defense and Pharmaceutical Ecozones Creation  

PEZA, Israeli investors pursue cooperation on Defense and Pharmaceutical Ecozones Creation  
August 27, 2021
PEZA, Israeli investors pursue cooperation on Defense and Pharmaceutical Ecozones Creation  

PEZA, Israeli investors pursue cooperation on Defense and Pharmaceutical Ecozones Creation  
 

27 August 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Staying true to its mandate despite the pandemic, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza has invited more Israeli investors to the Philippines and explore more investment opportunities in the economic zones during the Global Biz featuring Israel last Wednesday, August 18.
 

Director General Plaza said, “Ecozones will hasten the development of our regions and achieve a more inclusive growth. This is also the best and fastest economic masterplan that national government must promote to hasten development especially in the countryside and bounce back from this crisis.”

Israeli Investors in PEZA

To date, there are seven (7) Israeli enterprises registered under PEZA. These companies contribute PhP 114.521 Million in investments, 0.255 Million USD in exports, and employ 175 workers.

The PEZA Chief emphasized, “We must attract more Israeli investors to come and bring the industries that are unique only to Israeli especially those venturing into pharmaceutical and defense industries as these are very timely at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We have created different types of economic zones such as the Pharmaceutical Ecozone and the Defense Industrial Complex to make use of our idle lands and cater to your industries that will in turn boost socio-economic progress in the regions,” she added.

This has likewise been supported by H.E. Macairog Alberto, the Ambassador of the Embassy of the Philippines in Israel, who was present during the event. He said, “The Philippines is strategically located in the [Pacific] region where Israeli companies [and investors] can engage in end-to-end operations from training, to manufacturing, assembly, logistics, and sales services at a significantly low-rating costs.”

Advantages of Israeli investors locating in the Philippines

Aside from the opportunities for investors in the economic zones, several stakeholders of PEZA also shared their testimony about the advantages of being registered with PEZA.
AXADRA Ventures, Inc. President Mr. Bernardo San Juan noted, “Working with PEZA is straightforward, transparent, and offers ease of access to decision-makers with minimal bureaucracy. What we love about PEZA is that their values are similar to ours.”

Mr. San Juan also highlighted that, “Because of the incentives that PEZA gives, it allowed us to invest in technology where we were able to automate a lot of our workflow which is a gamechanger for us. It allows us to quadruple our revenue without necessarily adding manpower.”

These statements have likewise been seconded by Mr. Clifford Academia, the AVP for Operations of LIMA Land, Inc., and the Israel Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCP) President Mr. Yoray Ofek.

According to Mr. Academia, “The tried and tested formula of PEZA has been instrumental in our decision to invest in our already saturated Southern Luzon industrial zone landscape.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Ofek noted that “PEZA is your [best] partner to locate offices, to recommend to people who comes here from different market segments, and to invest [in the Philippines] by doing it in the right way. There is a place for everyone such as in medical, IT-BPO, and defense complexes.”

More collaborations with PEZA

Furthermore, the Ambassador Designate of Israel to the Philippines, H.E. Ilan Fluss, has shared his support for PEZA’s ventures as he expressed his excitement for long-term collaborations and investment promotions between Israel and PEZA for economic growth on their respective nations.

Ambassador Fluss said, “As the incoming Ambassador, my main goal is to promote business activities and economic relations between our two (2) countries. Israel is the source of innovation, technology, and high-tech entrepreneurship with a lot of experience and expertise. Which is why, Israel would like to share these to the Philippines.”

Director General Plaza has expressed gratitude for the continued support and collaboration between the two countries despite the present challenges. “We will continue to make opportunities out of these difficulties in order to achieve our goal of making the Philippines a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating investment haven in Asia,” she noted.

PEZA is also gearing up to hosting a Global Biz forum featuring Malaysian investors in partnership with the Embassy of the Philippines in Malaysia and its counterpart embassy in Manila this September 2021.

PEZA, Red Cross to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive ecozones 

PEZA, Red Cross to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive ecozones 
August 19, 2021
PEZA, Red Cross to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive ecozones 

PEZA, Red Cross to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive ecozones 
 

19 August 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza and the Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish joint efforts on economic resurgence and disaster resilience for safer and investor-attractive economic zones.
 

This comes after PEZA, PRC, and the Office of Senator Gordon conducted an Online Nationwide Forum on Vaccination and Reviving the Economy with over 1,000 participants from ecozone locators and industry stakeholders last Friday, August 13.

The MOU Signing with PEZA and PRC adds to Director General Plaza’s vision of safe and secured ecozones with similar Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) entered with the Armed Forced of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We are one with Sen. Gordon, the PRC, and the national government’s efforts to obtain herd immunity through COVID-19 vaccination that shall result to the full reopening of businesses and bring back our vibrant and thriving economy,” stated PEZA Chief Plaza.

In keeping ecozones safer against the COVID-19, the Director General further added that PEZA is continuously performing its ‘balancing acts’ in helping registered enterprises. “All PEZA ecozone workers, especially our IT-BPO workers, are now included under the A4 priority group in the government’s COVID-19 free vaccination program,” the PEZA Chief said.

Meanwhile, Gordon emphasized the importance of reviving the country as a whole and strengthening the investment promotion agencies (IPAs) as they are an important tool to attract more investments, generate jobs, exports, and other economic opportunities in the Philippines.

The Senator said, “Lahat tayo ay kailangan magsama-sama and we all need to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 is dangerous which is why being tested, getting vaccinated, and following safety health protocols are important.”

On COVID-19 Delta variant and vaccination updates

With the increasing COVID-19 Delta variant positive cases and the continuous vaccination of the general public, Special Adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 Dr. Teodoro Herbosa emphasized the four (4) Cs towards gaining more information on the pandemic and the importance of disaster partnering.

Dr. Herbosa said, “Communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration are the important Cs that we should all be considering in fighting against the COVID-19.”

He likewise noted that the Philippines is doing well in the world ranking despite the ongoing pandemic.

The NTF Special Adviser highlighted, “As of July 2021, the total positive cases in the Philippines amounted to more than 1.5 million with 47,996 active cases, and 1.8% fatality rate. There are also low positive cases per 100,000 population with only 1,385.”

“Our measures are actually good in preventing transmissions but not so much the same in our economy since many economic industries were affected,” Dr. Herbosa added.

Dr. Herbosa also estimated that around 1.2 million people were saved from the pandemic when strict lockdowns started in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, on Delta variant cases, he explained that Delta is rapidly spreading around the world, is more transmissible, and is taking predominance of the Betta variant [from South Africa].

He said, “Of the new [positive] cases particularly in children, many are from Delta. As such, one vaccine dose is less effective as compared to two doses.”

In support to Dr. Herbosa’s statement of attaining vaccine deployment in the Philippines before 2021 ends, PEZA Chief Plaza said, “With the rollout of vaccines and the implementation of ecozone vaccination program, the ecozone industry can help contribute to the government's attainment of 70% herd immunity within the year and the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.”

PEZA - Philippine Red Cross MOU Signing

As part of the online nationwide forum, PEZA Director General Plaza and Philippine Red Cross Chairman and Senator Richard Gordon signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the facilitation of disaster preparedness programs in economic zones.

Under the signed MOU, PEZA and PRC will carry out measures geared towards enhancing the coordination on technical assistance and the capability building in adopting the Disaster Management Services (DMS) core programs in PEZA economic zones.

PEZA Chief Plaza said, “I thank Sen. Gordon and the Philippine Red Cross for this great partnership in making our country better and stronger. This partnership will allow us to explore opportunities for joint cooperation in amplifying disaster risk reduction and become emergency responders to better equip us against manmade and natural disasters.”

The President of Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) Mr. Danilo Lachica also showed his support to the MOU Signing between PEZA and PRC.

Lachica said, “Thank you Director General Plaza and Sen. Gordon for your undying support especially to the electronics industry. Over the years, SEIPI has been supportive of PEZA and PRC’s initiatives such as in blood-letting and industry CSR donations.”

Likewise, Sen. Gordon described the MOU Signing as “the hallmark of the exercise of humanitarian citizenship.”

Gordon said, “With this signing, all PEZA and PRC staffs, employees, and locators must take to heart that we must live in a world characterized by our love of humanity and our service to our fellowmen.”

Photo taken from Zoom in courtesy of PEZA. PEZA Director General Plaza & Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon signed the MOU for economic resurgence and disaster preparedness.

Photo taken from Zoom in courtesy of PEZA. PEZA Director General Plaza with Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso Panga and Philippine Red Cross Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon were joined and supported by the SEIPI President Danilo Lachica and Special Adviser of National Task Force on COVID-19 Dr. Teodoro Herbosa.

PEZA approved investments surge at 8.52% in the first half of 2021

PEZA approved investments surge at 8.52% in the first half of 2021
August 3, 2021
PEZA approved investments surge at 8.52% in the first half of 2021

PEZA approved investments surge at 8.52% in the first half of 2021
  

03 August 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” B. Plaza has reported last Tuesday an increase of 8.52% in PEZA’s approved investments for the first half of 2021.
 

The PEZA Chief said, “PEZA remains true to its mandate of promoting investments, creating employment, generating exports, and attaining total economic development in our country as we maintain and implement strict COVID-19 protocols and guidelines in our ecozones. We will continue to transform challenges into opportunities so we can ceaselessly serve our Filipino people, our partners, locators, and investors.”

PEZA Performance

Total economic zone investments approved for the period of January 1 to June 30, 2021 amounted to PhP 32.057 Billion which is 8.52% higher compared to last year’s approved investments worth PhP 29.541 Billion. These investments came from 119 new and expansion projects and showcased a considerable growth of 5.31% compared to 113 in 2020.

Meanwhile, the actual exports for the period of January 1 to May 31, 2021 amounted to US$ 24.781 Billion with 1,604,877 generated employment. Compared to the same period in 2020, PEZA showcased a 23.35% growth for exports and an 8.58% increase in employment.

Majority of the investments came from various countries such as Japan, South Korea, India, Hong Kong, and China. Western countries also include Germany, Austria, France, Canada, and the United States of America.

In terms of regions in the Philippines where the investments will be located, the top-performing region is Region IV with PhP 10.010 Billion, followed by Regions VII, XI, and NCR.

PEZA Board approvals for June 2021

For the month of June, DG Plaza highlighted that “The PEZA Board has approved sixty-two (62) new projects.”

Among the 62 recently approved projects, 22 projects fall under IT enterprises, 20 for export manufacturing enterprises, 13 for facilities, and 7 for ecozone development projects.

“These projects are essential especially as we continue to go back to our vibrant and booming economy,” said Plaza.

Optimistic for the remaining months

“As we all move forward towards herd immunity and reopening our economy, PEZA is positive that we can fulfill the last few months of 2021 with flying colors. The COVID-19 pandemic cannot stop us from performing at our best and ensuring that we continuously attract more investments, generate exports, and produce jobs for millions of Filipinos even post-pandemic,” said the PEZA Director General.

PEZA continues its advocacy in promoting the creation of special economic zones particularly in the countryside by identifying and transforming idle lands into ecozones to help accelerate economic and employment development in the Philippines.

 

 

PEZA in closer collaboration with PH Embassy in Saudi Arabia and LGUs for ecozone development

PEZA in closer collaboration with PH Embassy in Saudi Arabia and LGUs for ecozone development
July 2, 2021
PEZA in closer collaboration with PH Embassy in Saudi Arabia and LGUs for ecozone development

PEZA in closer collaboration with PH Embassy in Saudi Arabia and LGUs for ecozone development
 

02 July 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) had its second Global Biz Forum this 2021 with His Excellency Adnan V. Alonto, Ambassador of the Philippines to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), along with the Visayas and Mindanao LGUs on Tuesday, June 29, for closer collaborations towards implementing economic zone development in the countryside.
 

This is part of the Global Biz afternoon forum after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) respectively with the Technological University of the Philippines (TUPV), the University of the Cordilleras (UC), and LGUs in Hinobaan and Sipalay, Negros Occidental.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said, “By thinking global and acting local as our worldview in PEZA, we want to make the Philippines as a big contributor to the global supply chain. We created platforms in PEZA such as the Transformation Roadmap so we can explore and build new partnerships with institutions in the government and private sectors locally and abroad. This shall promote and enhance the competitiveness of the Philippine exports and investments.”

His Excellency Adnan V. Alonto virtually attended the Global Biz to express its support to PEZA’s mandate. He stated, “It is high time that we feature the potentials of Visayas and Mindanao local governments to the world as this can help the Philippines invite more investments.”

Adnan also added the importance of attaining herd immunity against the COVID-19 citing, “We hope by the time we reach December 2021, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will have achieved total herd immunity and I also wish the same to the Philippines.”

On potential ecozones in the countryside

In support to PEZA’s efforts in accelerating rural progress in the countryside as provided by the Administrative Order (AO) 18, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is focusing on the development of renewable energy, manufacturing, agro-economic, agro-fishery sectors, and potential economic zones in Mindanao particularly in the Bangsamoro region and Lanao del Sur.

On behalf of Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol, MinDA Executive Director Dr. Janet M. Lopoz said, “We realize the need to strengthen more on the agricultural and food [products] in Mindanao as this remains to be our anchor. Our initiatives on ecozone development is anchored on the Mindanao 2030 Vision that is driven by internationally competitive social and environmentally responsible enterprises built on judicious and sustainable management.”

Likewise, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Executive Director Mohammad Basher L. Abas stated that “ecozones in BARMM can be established either through private initiatives, LGU initiatives with the Autonomous Regional Government, and Autonomous Regional Initiative.”

“Our goal is to begin and promote jobs and investments in our area and establish at least one economic zone in each of the BARMM provinces: Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lamitan, and Cotabato,” Abas added.

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Director Saleha P. Sacar said, “The Marawi City LGU headed by Mayor Majul Gandamra is finally initiating the registration of his proposed lands for the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in BARMM, Cotabato, and Davao and are now scheduled for ocular inspection.”

Under the leadership of Director General Plaza, PEZA is in close collaboration with LGU partners in creating more economic zones to establish different industries that shall generate jobs and investments especially in the rural areas of the Philippines.

7% target in the increase of investments

With the anticipation of more interests from local and foreign entities and the recent passage of the CREATE Law, PEZA is confident in reaching the 7% investment growth target for 2021.

During a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Deputy Director General Tereso Panga said, “PEZA’s target is an improvement from our last year’s PhP 95.03 billion. We are looking at an increment of about PhP 6 billion and we have a strong basis for this projection because of the increasing foreign direct investments (FDI).”

According to Panga, “The United Conference on Trade and Development in 2020 has reported that FDIs in the Philippines rose by 29% despite the pandemic, while the trend in other Southeast Asian countries is the opposite.”

PEZA remains positive that it can attract more investments into the Philippines especially with the enactment of CREATE.

PEZA inks MOUs with TUP Visayas, University of the Cordilleras, and various LGUs for ecozone partnerships

PEZA inks MOUs with TUP Visayas, University of the Cordilleras, and various LGUs for ecozone partnerships
July 2, 2021
PEZA inks MOUs with TUP Visayas, University of the Cordilleras, and various LGUs for ecozone partnerships

PEZA inks MOUs with TUP Visayas, University of the Cordilleras, and various LGUs for ecozone partnerships
 

02 July 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Forging a general framework for collaboration and developing the economic zones in the countryside, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) respectively with the Technological University of the Philippines Visayas (TUPV), the University of the Cordilleras (UC), and LGUs of Sipalay and Hinobaan on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.
 

The MOU signings were held during this year’s second Global Biz with PEZA with the theme, “Accelerating Rural Progress through President Rodrigo Roa Duterte Administrative Order (AO) 18: Creation of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside”.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza stated, “We are witnessing another milestone of our PEZA programs as we sign MOUs with the TUPV and the UC to become a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). This serves as educational and training program of PEZA with the goal of making the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia and embracing our worldview of Thinking Global and Acting Local.”

PEZA-TUPV MOU Signing

TUPV President Dr. Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres physically attended the MOU signing at the PEZA Auditorium together with the TUPV Alumnus and one of PEZA’s Ka-PIPPs partners, Mr. Ramon Boy Espedido, Campus Director Dr. Selfa J. Briones, and Campus Vice President Dr. Maria Leonor F. Validor.

The MOU signing aims TUPV to provide progressive leadership in applied research, developmental studies in technical, industrial, and technological fields and production using indigenous materials and effect technology transfer in the countryside.

Torres expressed that, “Since TUPV has embarked on urban agriculture planning and the greening of the campuses, the term ‘eco’ in ecozones could also mean ecological zones because that is going to be one of the most important concerns of human beings in the near future.”

He further added that TUPV is embarking on this frontier of becoming an economic zone to develop the university’s real estate properties that shall systematically improve people’s standard of living pursuant to their mission to effect technology transfer on the countryside.

Torres believes that the Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Park is a brilliant idea and a dream come true for universities towards achieving a higher-quality education. As such, one of TUPV properties which is a three-hectare land area in Talisay City, Negros Occidental is identified as viable and feasible for establishing a KIST Park.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the TUPV President Dr. Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres at the PEZA Auditorium. (Photo courtesy with PEZA)

PEZA-UC and LGUs virtual MOU signings for economic zone development

In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the University of the Cordilleras (UC) together with LGUs in Sipalay and Hinobaan simultaneously signed the MOUs virtually in four different locations in the Philippines: Pasay City, Benguet, Sipalay, and Hinobaan, Negros Occidental.

The MOU signing between PEZA and the UC serves as a framework for mutual benefit in creation of ecozones to facilitate, promote, and accelerate economic development in the countryside.

UC President Nancy M. Flores said in her statement, “In the context of knowledge society, educational institutions are to embrace an additional function of the role beyond teaching.” Flores added that the MOU signing is in line with university’s mission as it centers on knowledge transfer and innovation.

“The collaboration of the academia and government industries is a must to meet labor demands and work-based competencies. This aims to increase students’ employability and leverage its positive impact on the community.” Flores noted.

Meanwhile, in pursuit of becoming a recognized economic zone, Hinobaan City Mayor Ernesto Estrao said, “In behalf on the people of Hinobaan, we are very grateful for this historical occasion in our town. This has been our long-awaited dream to become an economic zone through the help of PEZA.”

With becoming an economic zone in the southern part of Negros Occidental, Estrao and PEZA Chief Plaza believe that this will reduce poverty in his town and neighboring areas.

Mayor Gina Lizares of Sipalay City also mentioned, “We must jumpstart our economy especially during this pandemic, therefore, we must strive to a balanced economic development and environmental conservation.”

Estrao and Lizares commended Plaza for her dedication in accelerating rural progress and the creation of SEZ and KIST particularly in the rural areas of the Philippines.

Director General Plaza expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm in the increasing numbers of PEZA partners in promoting investments and transforming the Filipino youth and laborers to become multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza virtually signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CU President Nancy M. Flores and LGUs Sipalay and Hinobaan Mayors Ernesto Estrao and Gina Lizares Via Microsoft Teams. (Screenshot courtesy with PEZA)

PEZA, export enterprises appeal for suspension of the implementation of BIR RR No. 9-2021

PEZA, export enterprises appeal for suspension of the implementation of BIR RR No. 9-2021
July 1, 2021
PEZA, export enterprises appeal for suspension of the implementation of BIR RR No. 9-2021

PEZA, export enterprises appeal for suspension of the implementation of BIR RR No. 9-2021
 

01 July 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and its registered export enterprises have appealed for a status quo on the implementation of BIR Revenue Regulation (RR) No. 9-2021, which has taken effect on 27 June 2021, 15th day of its publication.
 

BIR RR No. 9-2021 identified transactions that shall now be subject to the 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) which are previously taxed at zero percent, particularly those considered as export sales under Executive Order No. 226 or the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987 and other special laws.

In a letter to the Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlo Dominguez III, PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza, in behalf of its registered business enterprises (RBEs), has sought for clarification regarding the issued RR in relation to the express provision of the recently passed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) Law (RA No. 11534).

“We would like to seek confirmation that local purchases of PEZA export enterprises, whether from an export-oriented or domestic enterprise, shall be taxed at zero percent VAT subject to the condition required under the provisions of Section 295 of RA 11534 and Section 5 of its IRR,” said the PEZA Chief.

The Director General noted, “The inclusion of the RR in the final draft of CREATE’s implementing rules and regulations and the amendment of the definition of ‘export sales’ in the law has created the impression and interpretation that sale to PEZA RBEs shall be automatically subject to 12% VAT.”

Deferment of implementation

Likewise, PEZA has requested for the deferment of the implementation of RR No. 9-2021 or status quo to give its export enterprises the opportunity and sufficient time to study the regulations before its implementation.

Furthermore, the Director General noted that the deferment will “provide the IPAs and concerned government agencies the opportunity to institute mechanisms and procedures to effectively implement the new regulations particularly in ensuring that the condition set forth in the availment of the VAT zero-rating incentive shall be fully complied.”

Effect to PEZA enterprises

PEZA also expressed concern that the implementation of the RR will add to the burden of the RBEs and will in turn affect their overall competitiveness in the world market.

Likewise, Plaza said “The additional VAT is an unnecessary expense that will make the Philippines unattractive to foreign investors.”

“Amidst the pandemic, the PEZA RBEs are the ones who helped keep the PH economy afloat. What we must do is to ensure that existing enterprises should stay and expand their operations instead of driving them away by removing their incentives and imposing another form of taxes,” noted Plaza.

PEZA has requested for a meeting with the DOF Secretary and BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay to discuss the request and the impact of the RR to its registered enterprises.

PEZA signs MOU with PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario to match and link labor skills to industry-needs

PEZA signs MOU with PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario to match and link labor skills to industry-needs
June 28, 2021
PEZA signs MOU with PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario to match and link labor skills to industry-needs

PEZA signs MOU with PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario to match and link labor skills to industry-needs 
 

28 June 2021 (Monday)
 

Cavite – PEZA Director General Charito Plaza on Thursday led the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between PEZA and the two colleges, PUP Maragondon and STI-Rosario. This was held at the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ) in Rosario Cavite last June 24, 2021.
 

Joining the Director General was Atty. Norma B. Tañag, Zone Administrator of CEZ, Dr. Agnes Y. Gonzaga representing PUP Maragondon and Mr. John Michael P. Cells, representing STI Rosario.

Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute

The MOU signifies the commitment of these two colleges and PEZA to create a Special Economic Zone Institute (SEZ Institute) in the locality, which is one of the pioneer program of the Authority under its Transformation Roadmap that is being pushed by PEZA under the leadership of Plaza.

In the SEZ Institute Program, PEZA partners with different Universities and Colleges, both public or private, in order to provide the necessary education skills and training for the Filipino people as they prepare to enter the labor force and fulfill the needs of various export-industries in the country.

“PEZA underscores the value of harnessing Filipinos’ skills, talents, and employability by taking steps to provide opportunities for education and training in order to produce world-class workers that are multi-knowledge and multi-skilled and ready to work in industries,” said the PEZA Chief.

“Our Filipino workers are sought after by many foreign investors because they are young, dynamic, intelligent, equipped with global-knowledge and skills and can speak English well. This is one of the reasons why a lot of companies choose to invest in the Philippines because they are confident that the workers we produce are equipped with the necessary skills to match the needs of their business,” Plaza explained.

STI-Rosario is one with the goal of PEZA and is committed to support its SEZ Institute program in order to help provide various educational programs/courses that will help hone the skills of their students.


PEZA Director General Plaza with CEZ Zone Administrator Atty. Norma B. Tañag, PUP Maragondon Director Dr. Agnes Yumon Gonzaga, and Mr. Ronald Flores, Department Manager of Operations- CEZ.

PUP Maragondon likewise shares this vision which is aligned with its mission to provide excellent, equitable and relevant educational opportunities in the arts, sciences and technology, through quality instruction and responsive research and development activities, producing professional, skilled and morally upright individuals for global competitiveness.

STI Rosario Representative Mr. John Michael P. Cells and CEZ ZA Atty. Norma B. Tañag

Director General Plaza shared that “We, at PEZA believes in the power of education and skills training and have thus made learning readily available through various partnerships being done like this. Let us encourage others that they follow suit as well so that we can produce Filipino workers that we will all be proud of.”

PEZA signs MOU with the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louis University (SLU) for mutual economic and academic partnership 

PEZA signs MOU with the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louis University (SLU) for mutual economic and academic partnership 
June 25, 2021
PEZA signs MOU with the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louis University (SLU) for mutual economic and academic partnership 

PEZA signs MOU with the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louis University (SLU) for mutual economic and academic partnership 
 

25 June 2021 (Friday)
 

Baguio City – In an effort to generate jobs for Filipinos and thereby match labor needs of various export industries, and produce high-quality workforce and employment in the Philippines, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza led the signing of  Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two prominent universities in Baguio City namely the Benguet State University (BSU) and St. Louise University (SLU), and the signing of the Deed of Donation and Acceptance Ceremony to three chosen schools last Tuesday, 22 June 2021.
 

The PEZA-BSU MOU Signing and the Deed of Donation and Acceptance Ceremony were held at the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ). This was then followed by the PEZA-SLU MOU Signing at the university premises of SLU.

Plaza expressed, “This is indeed a very momentous day since we have just signed the MOU with two of the top universities in the Philippines, the Benguet State University and St. Louis University.”

On PEZA-BSU MOU Signing

The MOU aims to foster and develop a mutual partnership for the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute. The latter aims to serve as their joint organizational body and institutional facility to represent a shared commitment to study and install programs that will establish a locally-positioned promotion strategy for export-based investments in Benguet and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Further, PEZA and BSU aims for possible economic cooperation through research, instruction, production, and extension that shall serve as their platform for strategic goals and policy direction.

BSU President Felipe S. Comila has expressed his gratitude to PEZA stating that, “It is really a great privilege to be signing this MOU with PEZA for the purposes of economic [and academic] development. This is now the beginning; therefore, it is important that we have a vision to have mutual cooperation and be agile in our actions. We must leave a legacy for the Benguet community and CAR.”

Plaza has also encouraged the BSU to become a Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology – Special Economic Zone (KIST-SEZ) Institute.

PEZA Director General Plaza with BSU President Felipe S. Comila during the MOU Signing in BCEZ.

The Deed of Donation and Acceptance Ceremony

The PEZA Chief also signed the Deed of Donation and Acceptance in which desktop sets, other equipment, and furniture are given to three (3) schools: Buyagan Elementary School, Kias Elementary School, and Guisad Valley National Highschool.

This is in line with the PEZA-BCEZ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project and to contribute a share for the cause of education of Filipino learners through the Adopt-A-School Program of the Department of Education (DepEd). It aims to further nurture the youth’s education in Baguio City to become well-educated and well-trained learners.

PEZA Director General Plaza and OIC-ZA Atty. Ross Vincent Sy with each representative from three (3) schools during the Deed of Donation and Acceptance Ceremony in BCEZ.

On the PEZA-SLU MOU Signing

Representing the academe and a government agency, St. Louis University (SLU) is now in partnership with PEZA that shall recognize the vital role of SLU in helping the government develop and promote the Cordillera as an export-oriented regional economy in the Philippines.

SLU President Father Gilbert B. Sales, CICM, PhD proudly stated that, “the MOU Signing with PEZA is a positive step as the timeliness of this joint endeavor has never been more favorable since we need the right push to recover and to return on track to accomplishing our respective institutional goals in the service of our people.”

Sales also expressed that the SLU recognizes and supports PEZA’s creation of Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST). “Research and development play a crucial role as they are the twin components of applied knowledge that can hugely improve and impact the export industry as well as the spur of national economy process,” he said.

In line with PEZA’ Transformational Roadmap with the goal of making the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia, Director General Plaza stated, “PEZA has developed a new type of economic zone known as SEZ Institute and training centers that shall be built in every region in public ecozones, SEZ, or in KIST Parks (SUCs, private universities) according to the skills and manpower needs of RDC/LGU-identified industries, integrating TESDA, DOST, and other government and private sector skills training programs for ecozone and industry workers.”

Partner schools shall bring their expertise, technology, skills, and degree programs as required by investors in various industries such as in IT/BPO, manufacturing, refinery, tourism, agro-industrial, medical and pharmaceutical. This in turn will transform the Filipino youth into multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers.

PEZA will assist SLU and BSU in exploring its potentials and academic assets into becoming a KIST-SEZ Institute. Plaza along with these universities is positive that continued cooperation is a must to achieve a higher cause.

PEZA Director General Plaza with SLU President Father Gilbert B. Sales, CICM, PhD during the MOU Signing at the university premises of SLU.

PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority 

PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority 
June 18, 2021
PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority 

PEZA, ecozone workers’ vaccination to begin under A4 priority 
 

18 June 2021 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is set to start the vaccination of its employees as well as workers in PEZA-registered enterprises and ecozone based on PEZA directives under Memorandum Circular No. 2021-040, dated 09 June 2021.

PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza explained, “In my earnest efforts to discuss with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), we are pleased to announce that all PEZA ecozone workers have now been included under the A4 priority group (Frontline personnel in essential sectors) in the government’s COVID-19 free vaccination program.”
 

She noted, “This is just one of our ‘balancing acts’ for us to pay back our PEZA locators for giving jobs to their constituents, contributing to the social progress of the area with low poverty and crime incidence.”

A4 Priority Group Vaccination

Pursuant to the Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2021-0259, Implementing Guidelines for Priority Groups A4 and A5 and Further Clarification of the National Deployment dated 31 May 2021 and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines and the IATF Resolution No. 117 dated 27 May 2021, the following implementing guidelines which provide directions for the inoculation of Priority Group A4 are to be observed:

1. In consideration of the geographical prioritization, vaccine deployment for Priority Group A4 shall be initially focused on the (a) National Capital Region, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao; and (b) Workers from all other areas.
2. Priority Group A4 shall include individuals who are: (a) physically reporting to the workplace or (b) currently deployed or assigned to perform field work in the private and public/government sectors and the informal (including self-employed and working in private households) sector.
3. In situations where there is a limited supply of COVID- 19 vaccines, priority may be given to eligible Priority Group A4 workers within 40-59 years old, then to those 18-39 years old.

As discussed during the Capacity Building on COVID-19 Vaccination conducted by National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) on 07 June 2021 and in order to facilitate efficient allocation and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines, all ecozone locators/developers are hereby advised to:

1. Designate a focal person who shall take charge of the profiling and masterlisting of all employees;
2. Submit masterlist of all employees utilizing the provided template form to PEZA Zone Administrators and Zone Managers where the zones are located for consolidation by the PEZA Vaccine Task Force at Head Office and submission to the NVOC/IATF-MEID, subject to compliance with the minimum requirements of Republic Act 10173 (Data Privacy Act of 2012). In conducting the masterlisting, companies must also take into account and indicate those individuals who have already been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine (2 doses), those who have comorbidity and/or allergies, senior citizens, among others.

“Based on the policy for the microplanning of the A4 vaccination rollout, companies are to submit the list to the LGUs. Companies may submit the list to PEZA, but it’s best that LGUs are in the loop so that while PEZA is coordinating at the national level, there’s also coordination at the local level,” noted Director General Plaza.
Furthermore, PEZA/ecozone developers, in coordination with NVOC may utilize any of the following modalities applicable to the needs of the locators within their jurisdiction for vaccination sites:
1. Establish its own vaccination sites and mobilize vaccination teams, compliant with the requirements particularly the Vaccination Workforce (Team and Personnel requirement), Vaccines, Logistics and Cold Chain Inventory and Management, Vaccination Site (including Standard Operational Protocols), Infection Prevention and Control Protocol, AEFI/AESI Surveillance System, Safety Surveillance and Response, among others.
2. NVOC can help in linking with existing vaccination sites with personnel capacities (e.g. AFP health services, national government hospitals such as the Lung Center of the Philippines).
3. Link with the LGUs and utilize the capacity of the LGU’s vaccination sites. The vaccination facilities of the LGUs referred to as the “Bakuna Center” nationwide may be accessed through this link:
https://cbcr.doh.gov.ph/Covid19BakunaCenterRegistryList?start=41

This is in accordance with the National Vaccination and Deployment Plan (NVDP) for the simultaneous and non-sequential vaccination of the A4 priority groups.

Also in compliance with the DOLE Labor Advisory No. 03, all ecozone locators/developers are hereby required to adopt and implement the appropriate vaccination policy in the workplace as part of their Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Program, which may include but not limited to:

a. Dissemination among their workers and personnel information on vaccine deployment activities, procedures, etc. in the LGUs;
b. Provision of proofs of eligibility to their workers such as but not limited to Company ID, contracts or permits, certificates of eligibility (e.g. employment, deployment, assignment) to their specific workers/personnel who belong to these priority subgroups, or any similar proof of occupation;
c. Adoption of a schedule system for their workers taking into consideration possible adverse reactions of vaccines, which may result in workers taking time off from work.
d. Provision of logistics support (including transport) to facilitate vaccination of their workers, and coordinate with LGUs for the vaccination.

Vaccination of Immediate Family Members

Moreover, the PEZA Chief has suggested for PEZA-registered companies who are already in the process of procuring their own vaccines, supplies, and other services for their COVID-19 vaccination to optionally offer these to their workers’ immediate family members. The vaccination facilities or assistance to workers may be included as an integral activity of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.

“This move is a big help to fast track the vaccination process of the whole country and in turn contribute to nation-building and recovery by attaining herd immunity,” noted Plaza.

The PEZA Chief added, “This is also one way PEZA can contribute in the acceleration of the Philippine economy’s full reopening and transition to the new normal.”

PEZA, DOF, and BOI conducted an online webinar on CREATE law for export-industry stakeholders and locators

PEZA, DOF, and BOI conducted an online webinar on CREATE law for export-industry stakeholders and locators
June 8, 2021
PEZA, DOF, and BOI conducted an online webinar on CREATE law for export-industry stakeholders and locators

PEZA, DOF, and BOI conducted an online webinar on CREATE law for export-industry stakeholders and locators 
 

08 June 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – In line with the recent signing of the Republic Act No. 11534 also known as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act into law, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) conducted an online webinar for export-industry stakeholders and ecozone locators which was held last 27 May 2021, through Microsoft Teams and YouTube.
 

With more than a thousand viewers from PEZA’s Official YouTube Page, the CREATE Online Dialogue was virtually attended by three respected resource speakers namely the Strategic Economics and Results Group (SERG) Assistant Secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF), Juvy C. Danofrata, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Dr. Ceferino S. Rudolfo, and the BOI Director for the Investments Policy and Planning Service Sandra Marie S. Recolizado.

Recognizing the need to change the national tax system specifically to the reduction of the corporate income tax (CIT), PEZA Director General Plaza said, “We have constantly lobbied with our legislators and fought until the end for the interest of our registered business enterprises who are efficiency-seekers and global market-driven.”

Plaza also added, “CREATE, just like other laws, is not perfect, but we can correct and enhance the implementation in its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).”

CREATE Law and its IRR

DOF Asec. & FIRB Head of Secretariat Danofrata stated that, “Under the CREATE Law, additional income tax holiday (ITH) of 3 years will be granted to registered enterprises and its activities that shall relocate from National Capital Region (NCR) and additional ITH of 2 years for registered enterprises located in areas recovering from disaster or conflict.”

Meanwhile, for the period of availment of incentives, Danofrata noted that it shall depend on two factors: First is where the activity or industry is located and second, in which category and activity it belongs to (or the tiers).

She explained, “For export enterprises, areas outside NCR and metropolitan areas have the maximum period of 17 years and for domestic market enterprise, maximum of 12 years.”

Further, DOF Danofrata mentioned that the functions of the FIRB have further been enhanced under the CREATE Law with roles such as systematically collecting and storing all tax incentives and benefit data, as well as evaluating and assessing the processes, outcomes and impacts of incentives to granted firms, conduct periodic performance review and maintain a masterlist of registered products and services for export or domestic consumption.

She also said, “Under the CREATE Law, there will be a publication annually of the data on amount of tax incentives and payments and other relative information and the FIRB is mandated to submit an impact evaluation results to the Office of the President and the Congress on an annual basis.”

Salient Features of IPP 2020 and SIPP

DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Dr. Rudolfo explained, “The FIRB resolves that Memorandum No. 50 referring to the 2020 IPP as approved by the President Rodrigo Duterte on November 18, 2020, which took effect on December 6, 2020, and its general policies and specific guidelines to implement that the IPP shall serve as the transitional SIPP pending the issuance of the newly formulated SIPP under the CREATE.”

Rudolfo also noted the issuance of SIPP will be towards the end of this year or early part of 2022. Projects or activities that will qualify under the transitional SIPP (2020 IPP) at the minimum will be registered under Tier I.

Further, Rudolfo expounded on the relevance of 2020 IPP to PEZA and to its stakeholders explaining that, “With the FIRB resolution, PEZA’s stakeholders can take the listing of preferred activities under the 2020 IPP and locators who fall within the priorities under the 2020 IPP can continue to register its projects.”

The 2020 IPP is also aligned with PEZA threshold on the production and manufacture of export products stating that at least 50% of production shall be exported for domestic companies and at least 70% for foreign companies.

A one overriding objective

PEZA Deputy Director General for Operations Harriet O. Abordo noted that certain issues in implementations [IRR] are anticipated since the IRR are now more restrictive on the coverage of tax and duty-free importations of capital equipment, raw materials, supply, and VAT-zero rating which is applied to a more restrictive scope of goods and services.

Nonethelss, Abordo remains on the brighter side highlighting that, “Now that the CREATE is here, we have to move forward, thereby, it is very imperative for us to make this work. Afterall, we have one overriding objective: To generate investments so we can create jobs for our countrymen and looking forward that one day, no Filipino will go hungry and our OFWs can finally return to a more vibrant economy in the Philippines.”

PEZA is enthusiastic and positive to a fruitful and lively collaboration with the FIRB and the BOI in terms of SIPP to effectively implement CREATE in economic zones.

PEZA, PACC tie up for good governance in line with Duterte’s call to combat corruption

PEZA, PACC tie up for good governance in line with Duterte’s call to combat corruption
June 1, 2021
PEZA, PACC tie up for good governance in line with Duterte’s call to combat corruption

PEZA, PACC tie up for good governance in line with Duterte’s call to combat corruption

01 June 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), the top export-oriented investment promotion agency, has vowed to fight corruption during the launching of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission’s (PACC) Project KASANGGA: Tokhang Laban sa Korapsyon on 28 May 2021, Friday.
 

PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza along with other PEZA officials and employees have signed the “Anti-Corruption Manifesto”, a campaign led by PACC to participate in working for a more efficient government free from corruption, in line with the Duterte administration’s call to weed out corruption plaguing bureaucracy and other government agencies. 


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza and other PEZA Officials making the pledge of cooperation in line with the Anti-Corruption Manifesto signing.

According to Plaza, “PEZA’s regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy and one-stop shop services have been widely recognized by our Filipino and foreign investors and various national and local institutions such as the IFC World Bank, the US Department of State, and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).”

Plaza noted that “Partnerships and programs such as this is crucial to maintain the trust and confidence of our economic zones developers and locator companies, which we’ve gained through the years.”

Project KASANGGA: Tokhang Laban sa Korapsyon

PACC Chairman Greco Belgica explained that Project KASANGGA: Tokhang Laban sa Korapsyon aims to simplify and even ensure fast coordination of PACC with institutions and agencies of the government and enhance and strengthen the campaign of the Duterte Administration against corruption.

With the said partnership, PEZA allows PACC to establish command centers to monitor, report, and resolve corruption cases within the Authority and to designate an acting PACC Deputy to man this center. PEZA will also be required anti-corruption advocacy learning instructions among personnel in coordination with PACC.


PEZA Director General Charito‘Ching’ Plaza and PACC Chairman Greco Belgica after the signing of the Anti-Corruption Manifesto.

PEZA’s Anti-corruption Measures & Practices

For her part, Plaza said “Various measures are being done under my leadership such as digitalization of payment transactions, stronger structure of our Internal Control Group, stricter ISO compliances, among others.”

She noted, “Ang isang ahensya ay magiging epektibo lamang kung ito ay nagpapakita ng efficiency, effectiveness, and credibility.”

“We believe that these efforts would not just help us pursue good governance and public accountability but will also help attract more foreign investors in the country and attain our goal of making the Philippines an investment haven in Asia,” she added.

President Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go have expressed their support for the project which is in line with the administration’s vision for good governance and public accountability.

“Let me express my full support to this project which is consistent with my administration’s goal of ensuring transparency and accountability in Government. I hope this project will encourage all of us in government to set aside our personal interest so that we may instill a culture of decency, integrity, and honesty in public service,” said President Duterte.

“Naniniwala kaming hindi uusad ang bansa hanggat laganap ang korapsyon. Dapat linisin na natin ito para naman maibsan ang problema ng ating bansa at matutukan na natin ang ating pag-unlad,” added Senator Go.

PEZA ties up with Lapu-Lapu City to make it as Island Paradise of Investment Opportunities in PH amidst COVID Challenges

PEZA ties up with Lapu-Lapu City to make it as Island Paradise of Investment Opportunities in PH amidst COVID Challenges
June 1, 2021
PEZA ties up with Lapu-Lapu City to make it as Island Paradise of Investment Opportunities in PH amidst COVID Challenges

PEZA ties up with Lapu-Lapu City to make it as Island Paradise of Investment Opportunities in PH amidst COVID Challenges

01 June 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Lapu-Lapu City – Upholding a disease-free and security-dynamic Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Export Industries in Lapu-Lapu City, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the City Government of Lapu-Lapu (CGL) has sealed the initiative to provide for free vaccine against COVID-19 for the economic zone administration personnel and the workforce of the various export industries at the Mactan Economic Zones (MEZ). 
 

PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza has emphasized the significance of attaining a COVID-free workforce of the export industries as an integral component in preparing the post-pandemic economic recovery platform for Lapu-Lapu, Cebu and the Visayas.

“The vaccination of our ecozone employees is one best way PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity, which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal,” noted Plaza.

With this, the Lapu-Lapu City LGU, under the stewardship of Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, has pledged to provide and host for free inoculation of vaccine against COVID-19 for the said workforce and sector are said to be the most socially relevant cause during this period.

Both Director General Plaza and City Mayor Chan describe the workforce of export industries as the “economic frontliners”. It means the latter are maintaining their call of duty to continue to work for export-earning enterprises, despite that many local industries suspended their operations. Economic frontliners strive to foster business resiliency and continue promoting the city and the province as haven of export-based investments.


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza with Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard ‘Ahong’ Chan during the DG’s visit to Cebu.

Furthermore, Director General Plaza, being a soldier and a public servant, in partnership with Mayor Chan, takes advantage of the current pandemic as an opportunity to train leaders and managers in the export industry sector to become crisis-oriented as key elements in building institutional machinery for economic resiliency for a better normal.

“As we continue to live under this new normal setting, let us unite in creating avenues to retain and even attract more investors to locate in the country, specifically in the countryside, and help the country bounce back to its vibrant economy once again while protecting both the health of our people and the businesses,” said Plaza.

PEZA fortifies partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council to attract more investors to the Philippines

PEZA fortifies partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council to attract more investors to the Philippines
May 26, 2021
PEZA fortifies partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council to attract more investors to the Philippines

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.

PEZA deepens alliance with the American Chamber in securing more investors and stakeholders in PH

PEZA deepens alliance with the American Chamber in securing more investors and stakeholders in PH
May 26, 2021
PEZA deepens alliance with the American Chamber in securing more investors and stakeholders in PH

PEZA deepens alliance with the American Chamber in securing more investors and stakeholders in PH 
 

26 May 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – In a bid to further strengthen ties with international investors, Philippine Director Charito “Ching” Plaza attended a Virtual General Membership Meeting spearheaded by the American Chamber (AmCham) of Commerce of the Philippines on May 19, 2021 via Zoom.

The said meeting of AmCham is done monthly as a way of providing a platform for discussion among key public and private stakeholders thereby expanding their networks and collaborate with a wide range of industry leaders.”

 

According to Plaza, “At present and in terms of nationality, the Americans are the third biggest investors in PEZA (15.20%) with about 976 American enterprises employing 294,137 workers in economic zones.”

Among the top industries of American investors in the Philippines are the call centers, business process outsourcing, software development, engineering, architectural and other design services, as well as radio, television, and communication equipment and apparatus.

Plaza is also proud to share the PEZA’s recent investment performance in the first quarter of 2021 as exports from ecozones increased 15.63% growth which is equivalent to $14.93 billion exports compared to last year covering the same period.

COVID-19 vaccinations on board

A COVID-19 survivor herself, PEZA Chief Plaza has mentioned in the AmCham’s General Membership meeting that just recently, economic zone workers in Lapu-Lapu City of Cebu will receive free COVID-19 vaccines under A4 priority as economic frontliners. Further, according to Plaza, PEZA is in talks with an Israeli investor that will manufacture oral COVID vaccines in PEZA’s ecozone located in Angeles, Pampanga.

“The vaccination program is one of the best ways PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.” Plaza added.
In line with this, AmCham Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe said, “I am happy that we are now seeing a large influx of vaccines into the Philippines. By the end of May 2021, we will now have around 11 million vaccination doses and another 3 million doses by the end of June 2021.”

The PEZA Chief and Hinchliffe are positive that the Philippines [and the United States of America] will have a merrier Christmas for this year as compared to last year’s now that the country is starting its vaccinations specifically in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its surrounding provinces namely the Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal to attain herd immunity.

The Transformational Roadmap

Despite that Philippines has abundant human and natural resources strategically located at the center of Asia and the Pacific, Plaza stressed out that, “We [the Philippines] still lack efficiency factors such as the supply chain, more logistics, and transportation hubs, credit facilities, and a very competitive tax and incentives regime.”

As such, Plaza developed a medium and long-term development plan for the next 25 years known as the “Transformational Roadmap” to unlock the potentials of the Philippine industries, further address the efficiency factors in economic zone development, build new partnerships, and enhance the competitiveness of Philippine exports, human capital, and investments.

PEZA and AmCham’s deepened partnership

The American Chamber also expressed their ceaseless and dynamic support, trust, and confidence to PEZA and is looking forward to the continuous leadership of Director General Plaza.

“Thank you, PEZA Director General Plaza, for the never-ending list of projects especially for all your assistance and addressing the concerns and issues of our locators,” said the AmCham Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe.

Despite the uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA remains aggressive in keeping and even attracting more investors in the country to further protect both the economy and the Filipino workers. As such, this move has been recognized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

The US Department of State stated in its official 2020 Investment Climate Statements 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.”

With all these investment initiatives and recognitions of PEZA, Plaza is actively and continuously inviting American and other foreign and national investors/stakeholders as well as public and private landowners, LGUs, the military reservation lands, and indigenous people to become a registered economic zone.

PEZA holds dialogue with MEZ locator companies

PEZA holds dialogue with MEZ locator companies
May 20, 2021
PEZA holds dialogue with MEZ locator companies

PEZA holds dialogue with MEZ locator companies

20 May 2021 (Thursday)
 

Lapu-Lapu City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has hosted a dialogue for the locator companies of the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) at Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark on Monday, 17 May 2021, to discuss their concerns on various pressing issues including the recent passage of Republic Act No. 11534 or the CREATE Law.
 

The event follows after PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan officially inaugurated the new MEZ Admin Building, which will be the temporary home of PEZA MEZ while its building undergoes transformation.


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza along with Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard ‘Ahong’ Chan and Mactan Economic Zone Administrator Atty. Abdullah Adel-Khan Alug during the inauguration of the MEZ Admin Building.

Plaza expressed, “It is crucial for us to hear the concerns of our registered locator companies and determine ways for us to support their ventures especially during this time of pandemic as they are the ones who are keeping our economy afloat.”

She added, “These companies play a vital role in contributing to the total development of the province, allowing us to attain our goal of fully industrializing the Philippines and making it an investment haven in Asia.”

On CREATE

Addressing the concerns of companies after the sunset period provision, the PEZA Chief said that companies may apply for incentives once the sunset period is finished. However, this will now be subject to the tier classifications of CREATE and the SIPP.

Plaza noted that “new applications and expansion of projects will already be covered by the provisions under the CREATE Law, but the PEZA Board is still awaiting the final Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the legislation for the efficient execution of the changes.”

“We’re still hoping that all those we recommended in the IRR, which aims to protect the interest of our registered business enterprises, will be considered,” added Plaza.


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza delivers her speech following the ribbon cutting that marked the official opening of the new MEZ Admin Building.

COVID-19 vaccine

Likewise, the Cebu City LGU, through Atty. Eugene Espedido, also announced that PEZA and the ecozone workers in Lapu-Lapu City will get a free COVID-19 vaccine under A4 priority as economic frontliners.

Atty. Espedido said that he will be coordinating with the City Health Office for the scheduling of the vaccination. “Maybe at this early what I could suggest is for each company to come up with a roster of employees [for the vaccination] and to come up with groupings, with comorbidities as priority, in order to avoid disruption of services,” he explained.

According to Atty. Espedido, “The only way to revive the economy is to prevent COVID and the only way to prevent COVID is to have ourselves vaccinated.”


PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza along with Mactan Economic Zone Administrator Atty. Abdullah Adel-Khan Alug, and representatives from MEPZCEM and the Lapu-Lapu City LGU during the dialogue with MEZ locator companies

‘Balikatan Sagip Negosyo’ program

Aside from the vaccination, PEZA Director General Plaza also introduced the ‘Balikatan Sagip Negosyo’ program which aims to help registered business enterprises to altogether rise from the present crisis.

According to Plaza, the PEZA Board said that “sales of goods by a PEZA enterprise to other PEZA enterprises may be considered indirect export even if the goods are not directly related to the registered activity of the PEZA enterprise-buyer, provided that the transaction is between two PEZA-registered enterprises.”

Plaza likewise noted that PEZA may consider the extension of the allowance for work-from-home arrangements particularly for IT companies depending on the President’s decision to extend the placement of the country under State of Calamity after 12 September 2021.

“These are just ways for us to pay back our PEZA locators for giving jobs to their constituents, contributing to the social progress of the area with low poverty and crime incidence,” noted the PEZA Chief.

Accordingly, Director General Plaza is gearing towards having a series of dialogues with other LGU hosts of its 413 economic zones nationwide in order to hear their concerns and reciprocate the investors’ contribution to the local economy.

PEZA economic zones’ exports boost 15.63% growth in the first quarter of 2021

PEZA economic zones’ exports boost 15.63% growth in the first quarter of 2021
May 12, 2021
PEZA economic zones’ exports boost 15.63% growth in the first quarter of 2021

PEZA economic zones’ exports boost 15.63% growth in the first quarter of 2021
 

12 May 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Monday reported the top investment promotion agency’s performance in the first quarter of 2021 amidst the ongoing Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and its four surrounding provinces namely, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan.
 

With the continuous and perilous global effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the recent surge of COVID cases in the country, it poses continuous challenges to PEZA’s investment performance. However, PEZA remains confident as exports from economic zones soared 15.63% growth in the first quarter.

From $12.91 billion last year to $14.93 billion exports covering the same period, employment in ecozones has also increased to 2.94% which is equivalent to 1.58 million workers compared to 1.53 million workers a year ago.

The investments made in the first quarter of 2021 are also higher than last year with 53.87% increase amounting to PhP 25.382 billion with 57 PEZA Board-approved projects generating a total of 5,601 employment.

Among the 57 newly approved projects, 43 will be located in Luzon while 10 will be located in Visayas, and 4 in Mindanao.

For the 57 projects of registered business enterprises, 22 are for export projects, 15 are for IT projects, 7 are for facilities, 3 for logistics and 1 for utilities, and 1 tourism enterprise. Meanwhile, the other 8 are for ecozone development projects which sums to 57 projects in total.

Further, despite the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) period from April 12 to 16, 2021, PEZA zones have reported that 90% or 2,701 companies are operating nationwide with 1.193 million employees both working in skeletal force and work-from-home arrangements. Per sector, the manufacturing sector is 94% operational while the IT-BPO industry is 84% operational.

Director General Plaza proudly recognize and give thanks to locator companies for their ceaseless support and for trusting PEZA despite the current global pandemic crisis. She added, “Philippines is still indeed an investment haven and PEZA’s brand of excellence, its one-stop non-stop shop as well as becoming part of the solution during these challenging times, and continued operations all while observing strict health and safety protocols is chosen by many investors.”

“With the approval of new projects and increase in the investments and exports in the first quarter of 2021, this proves that PEZA is unfaltering in keeping the Philippine economy afloat and being on top of its game in performing its mandate, mobilizing the country’s investment competitiveness, and creating employment opportunities for many Filipinos.” Plaza noted.
 

 

PEZA launches University of Perpetual Help System – Molino, Cavite as new special ecozone for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST)

PEZA launches University of Perpetual Help System – Molino, Cavite as new special ecozone for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST)
May 12, 2021
PEZA launches University of Perpetual Help System – Molino, Cavite as new special ecozone for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST)

PEZA launches University of Perpetual Help System – Molino, Cavite as new special ecozone for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) 

12 May 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine of Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza together with University of the Perpetual Help System (UPHS) Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Dalta and Jonelta Group, Dr. BGen Antonio L. Tamayo signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on May 5, 2021, at the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta - Las Piñas Campus, thereby making it as the first Private Higher Educational Institution (HEIS) to be recognized by PEZA  as a Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) - Special Economic Zone Institute (KIST-SEZ Institute) in the Philippines.
 

Plaza expressed her warmest gratitude to the successful MOA Signing. She said, “I am delighted to launch UPHSD-Molino as the first Private Higher Education Institution to be recognized as a Knowledge Innovation Science and Technology (KIST) – Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute called the ALTAHUB.”
“It is high time that we continue finding and establishing innovative ways of uplifting our society, starting from our youth and even working Filipinos to attain better education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The 21st century skills are needed to succeed in a working environment that is becoming increasingly competitive.” PEZA Chief Plaza added.

The making of the UPHS Dalta-Molino Campus as KIST-SEZ Institute is in line with the strategies for accelerating the development of human capital as provided in Chapter 10 of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2020.
This aims to develop lifelong learning opportunities and improve income-earning abilities to enable Filipinos to respond to the economic challenges of the 21st century and nation-building.

LGU support to host KIST

Bacoor City Mayor Lani M. Revilla also graced the event virtually as the Keynote Speaker. Revilla emphasized the strong partnership between the local government of the city of Bacoor and the University of Perpetual Help System (UPHS) Dalta over the years as their ever-dependable champion in providing high-quality and affordable education.

Mayor Revilla said that “the Philippine Economic Zone Authority made the best choice in tapping the UPHS as their partner for the promotion and creation of Philippine startup ecozones that support organizations aiming to develop an innovative product, process or business including startup enablers.”
According to Revilla, UPHS-Molino Campus opened its doors for the first time in May 1995 and has only 700 enrollees. At present, its enrollment boosts more than 6,000 students catering not only to people residing in Bacoor but to nearby cities and towns as well.

UPHS Founder, Dr. BGen Antonio L. Tamayo alongside with the University President Dr. Anthony Jose M. Tamayo spearheaded the creation of the AltaHub facility in the UPHS-Molino Campus to create a more robust tie-up between the academe, the hospital, and the industry with the goal to become PEZA-accredited private higher education institution and be recognized as KIST-SEZ Institute. Thus, the creation of the AltaHub Innovation Institute will have three (3) major flagship programs at the forefront of nation-building namely health, business, and technology.

Further, the AltaHub shall become the bridge between the educational institution and the needs of various industries in the country as they will serve as a research and development facility not only for the University but also for the neighboring towns and areas within the proximity of the locations or investors to be assigned by the UPHS through the assistance of PEZA.

UPHS lauds PEZA’s SEZ Institute program

Meanwhile, Dr. BGen Antonio L. Tamayo has also expressed his appreciation to Director General Plaza for her support not only for the UPHS, but for the entire socio-economic community of the Philippines through its programs like the SEZ Institute program.

Under PEZA’s Transformational Roadmap to make the Philippines an investment haven in Asia, SEZ Institute and training centers shall be built in every region in public ecozones, SEZs, or in KIST parks (SUCs, private universities) according to the skills and manpower needs of RDC/LGU-identified industries, integrating TESDA, DOST, and other government and private sector skills training programs for ecozone and industry workers.

He said, “Education is the core competency of the university. The dynamics of teaching and learning experience in our university have always held the importance of academic excellence, community service, and research. With the blessing of the local government of Bacoor and PEZA, the formation of AltaHub brings together three vital ingredients which will benefit both the community and our country, in general: education, employment, and economic growth.”

The AltaHub Council Officers also took their oath of office last Wednesday to formalize their roles and responsibilities in establishing a resilient facility such as the AltaHub KIST-SEZ Institute.
 


PEZA Director General Plaza and  UPHS Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Dalta and Jonelta Group, Dr. BGen Antonio L. Tamayo signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on May 5, 2021, at the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta - Las Piñas Campus


Live screenshot of PEZA-UPHS MOA Signing from UPHS Dalta-Las Piñas Official Facebook Page

PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines

PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines
May 4, 2021
PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines

PEZA seeks inclusion of PEZA locators, ecozone and industry workers in the A4 category for COVID vaccines
 

04 May 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to include economic frontline workers to be included in the A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination.
 

In a letter to IATF Head Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. dated 23 April 2021, PEZA Director General Charito ‘Ching’ Plaza explained, “PEZA-registered companies, ecozone and industry workers are considered frontline workers as they have continued working to ensure the unhampered service to contribute to the global supply chain.”

“In phases of Community Quarantine (CQ), from ECQ to GCQ ECQ, the IATF has always managed to strike a balance between the need to aggressively respond to COVID-19 and the need to allow essential business sectors to operate and keep the economy afloat. Hence, the BPO and export-oriented sectors were allowed to operate as a measure to cushion the adverse impact of COVID-19 to the economy, subject to strict compliance with health and quarantine protocols,” she stated.

During MECQ period in 12-16 April 2021, PEZA zones have reported that 90% or 2,701 companies are operating nationwide with 1,193,813 employees working under various work schemes. Per sector, the IT-BPO industry is 84% operational while the manufacturing sector is 94% operational.

Referring to PEZA’s ‘balancing acts’ and relief measures during the pandemic, the PEZA Chief said that “PEZA has been hitting two birds in one stone since the beginning of this health crisis. As we give assistance and reprieves to our locator companies who play a big role in keeping our economy afloat, we are protecting the jobs and livelihood of our 1.5 million workers.”

PEZA also cited in its letter to the National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementer various memoranda released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which further emphasized the importance of locators and ecozone workers during this pandemic and to better prepare the country for post-COVID economic rebound.

Under the government’s vaccination program priority list, the A4 category is the group of frontline personnel in essential sectors, which has now been expanded to include additional sectors like the transportation workers, market vendors, religious leaders, overseas Filipino workers, and members of the press.

Vaccine Procurement

Regarding the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by PEZA-registered companies, PEZA is helping in the facilitation of the locators’ purchase of vaccines on a per ecozone basis for ease of administration and subject to strict compliance with COVID vaccination protocols. To date, PEZA manages a total of 410 economic zones across the Philippines and has registered about 4,643 locator companies.

According to Plaza, “The ecozone vaccination program is one best way PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity, which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.”

PEZA conducts dialogue on COVID-19 vaccine procurement to guide PEZA-registered companies 

PEZA conducts dialogue on COVID-19 vaccine procurement to guide PEZA-registered companies 
April 22, 2021
PEZA conducts dialogue on COVID-19 vaccine procurement to guide PEZA-registered companies 

PEZA conducts dialogue on COVID-19 vaccine procurement to guide PEZA-registered companies 
 

22 April 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has hosted on Tuesday an online forum for its export-oriented registered companies with experts from the national government, primarily from the Department of Health (DOH), and potential suppliers from the private sector to educate them regarding the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure the protection of its workers and the safety of the ecozones.

 

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “the PEZA management initiated this dialogue upon the request of our ecozone locators for PEZA to take the lead in getting the right resource persons to educate us about the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and their safety.”

“It is essential to understand why it is important to achieve herd immunity or that majority of our population is vaccinated. The lesson is we all share each other’s safety and health,” Plaza noted.

The dialogue attended by around 1,200 online participants was participated by resource persons namely Dr. Nikka Hao, Head of the DOH Disease Prevention and Control Bureau and Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, Special Adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) who discussed the Government COVID vaccination program.

For the private sector COVID vaccination management, former DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Rosell-Ubial, now the Head of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Molecular Laboratory, Ms. Josephine Romero of GoNegosyo, the Senior Adviser of the ASEAN-BAC Philippines and the Program Lead of A DOSE OF HOPE, and Mr. Carlo Garrucho, the Chief Operating Officer of IP Biotech, Inc. shared their insights on the benefits of COVID vaccination especially for ecozone export-oriented locators and their workers being economic frontliners.

Government Vaccine Procurement

On the vaccine procurement of the government, Dr. Hao of DOH explained, “We’re implementing one national program across the country regardless if it’s bought by the national government, the private sector, and all others that will be procuring. That means, all of the process has to take place across all of the different procurement method and that includes passing through the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] … and will also encompass following the [government’s] prioritization list.”

Dr. Herbosa added, “All procurement will have to follow the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan and all of the processes and must report to the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC), which controls all of these operations.”

Tripartite Agreement

On the tripartite agreement, Dr. Herbosa of NTF emphasized that “The private sector is best partnering with the government because it is the bulk purchase of the government that lowers the price. With your additional orders, what happens is we are able to get the best price for the bulk order for the vaccines.”

Dr. Herbosa, who is also the Executive Vice President of the University of the Philippines (UP), likewise noted that, “All the vaccines have not been approved by the FDA for sale. It has only been given an emergency use authorization (EUA) to the government.” So far, the vaccines with EUA from the FDA are the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Gamaleya’s Sputnik V, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccines according to its website.

“You cannot buy on your own. And even if you buy on your own, I doubt if any of the companies will sell to you especially if you have small order … You’ll really have to partner with the government on this one. It’s not that we’re forcing you [but] that’s the way it is all over the world,” Dr. Herbosa further explained.

He added, “Another thing in the tripartite [agreement] is that none must profit … the private sector is allowed to buy, but the private sector is not allowed to profit from this vaccine program.”

Ms. Romero and Dr. Ubiall have likewise noted that the government will be the one to cover any expenses that will result from any adverse effects after vaccination. As Dr. Herbosa explained, the indemnity clause of the agreement only pays the government.

Private Sector Agreement

Meanwhile, Ms. Romero of GoNegosyo explained that, in the case of the private sector procurement, “the purchase agreement and the term sheet that [the company] will be signing with the manufacturer or the consolidator for the Philippines, which is IP Biotech and Ambitech [for example], will mirror the relevant clauses in the tripartite agreement that they will be signing with the NTF and DOH.”

She added, “When you do indicate your interest to purchase a particular brand of vaccine, they will be very transparent with you and give you a clear idea of what will be the terms covered in the tripartite agreement that they are currently negotiating or have signed with the Government.”

“DOH is set to release the IRR for private sector acquisition of vaccines. Private sector was asked in consultative meetings to give inputs. You can be assured that the IRR is since practical,” noted Ms. Romero.

Further, Ms. Romero said that the vaccination is not mandatory, but based on the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Labor Advisory No. 03-21, the employee should not shoulder any cost should the company decide to vaccinate its workers.

On the other hand, Dr. Ubial explained that “[PRC’s] agreement is not to supply the vaccines to the company but to deliver the doses to the employees. I think that’s also what the DOH and the other companies are doing because you cannot establish bakuna centers left and right. It has to be accredited and must follow a very stringent accreditation process by the DOH.”

“What we are doing at Red Cross is we’re getting as many bakuna centers accredited by DOH so that when vaccines arrive, we will deliver the doses … I don’t think that the companies are actually allowed to do their own vaccination unless they become bakuna center accredited,” noted the former DOH Secretary.

With vaccine suppliers not anymore accepting orders for AstraZeneca and Moderna due to the threshold limit, Mr. Garrucho of IP Biotech shared that they are to offer Bharat-IP Biotech's Covaxin, which was recently given a green light by FDA, starting May.

“The initial batch commitment of Bharat-Biotech worth 8 million doses [of Covaxin] deliveries will start to enter the Philippines in May of 2021. We hope that all tranche deliveries will conclude in November of this year,” said Mr. Garrucho.

He added, “Designated representative of IP Biotech are waiting for cases in India to go down because a party is to fly out to India to request/negotiate for a second and much larger set of deliveries for the Philippines and for private market access.”

PEZA Assistance on Vaccine Procurement

“PEZA’s role in this exercise of vaccine procurement [by PEZA-registered companies] is more of an enabler. We can help facilitate the locators’ purchase of vaccines on a per ecozone basis for ease of administration and subject to strict compliance with COVID vaccination protocols. We freely give the decision to our locators to choose their own supplier and administrator of vaccines,” noted the PEZA Chief.

She added that, “PEZA is not in a position to subsidize the cost or advance payment of vaccines for and on behalf of the locators.”

Meanwhile, PEZA Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Mr. Tereso Panga stated that another assistance PEZA can give to its locators is “the allowance of tax and duty-free importation [for COVID vaccines] subject to the lifting of the EUA,” citing the same reprieve approved by the PEZA Board last year on the importation of PPEs and COVID-related equipment for locators' direct use for the protection of their workers.

“The best COVID vaccine is the one that is readily available. Either you get infected or vaccinated, the choice is yours,” noted Panga as he closed the forum.

As of today, PEZA manages a total of 410 economic zones across the Philippines and has registered about 4,643 locator companies. The ecozone vaccination program is one best way PEZA can contribute to the attainment of herd immunity, which will accelerate the country's full reopening of the economy and transition to the new normal.

 

PEZA online job fair (DOLLAR program) continues amid pandemic

PEZA online job fair (DOLLAR program) continues amid pandemic
April 8, 2021
PEZA online job fair (DOLLAR program) continues amid pandemic

PEZA online job fair (DOLLAR program) continues amid pandemic
 

08 April 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – To fulfill its mandate of generating jobs and other economic opportunities, PEZA partnered with WorkBank Philippines Inc. to make job vacancies easily accessible to Filipinos seeking employment with PEZA-registered companies.

The CREATE Law aims to gradually lower the corporate income tax from 30% to 25% and streamline the government’s fiscal incentives for investments both covering foreign and domestic enterprises.

 

This initiative is in line with the Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement (DOLLAR) program which was launched by the PEZA Director General Charito Plaza last July 29, 2020, with the support of government agencies namely: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Office of Senator Bong Go.

Even with the recent surge of COVID cases and the resulting community quarantine, DG Plaza reiterates that “PEZA is strongly committed and unrelenting in its efforts to promote investment and employment that will benefit Filipinos despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic."

PEZA's DOLLAR program initiative of conducting a virtual job fair aims to inform the public of thousands of jobs available in different types of industries in various ecozones.

The DOLLAR Program is also in support of the Administrative Order No. 18, otherwise known as “Accelerating Rural Progress Through Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside” and Executive Order No. 114, also known as the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program”.

DOLLAR program update in 2021

The DOLLAR Program’s Job Expo online job search platform is powered by WorkBank which was established on November 28, 2018, by virtue of “malasakit” or compassion and care program, bridging businesses with qualified and primed talents. It is an online job site that primarily helps job seekers connect to various job opportunities locally and abroad.

WorkBank reported a total of 17,500 job vacancies with 60 companies tagged under the special category for PEZA, 16 of which are currently active with jobs posted online. Of these 16 active companies, 62% are BPO and call center companies followed by IT (12%), manufacturing (12%), and transport and logistics (12%).

In terms of applicants for PEZA-related companies, there are over 22,500 applicants in the first 3 months of 2021, and from August 2020 up to the present, WorkBank recorded over 40,000 applicants.
However, WorkBank stated that it is quite challenging to obtain accurate data in determining how many of these applicants were hired since only a few companies are reporting back to their system regarding the number of their newly hired employees.

Meanwhile, PEZA was also recently added to WorkBank’s “Live Programs” section. This section serves as an additional promotional field on the job search category to essentially highlight the ongoing job opportunities in various PEZA-registered companies.

Likewise, WorkBank offered its discount to companies under PEZA at 65% to further boost the agency’s initiatives in generating employment in the Philippines.

Of the 17,500 job vacancies, active companies under PEZA are Alorica, Teleperformance, Wells Fargo Philippines, VXI, iOPEX Technologies Philippines, Synchrony Global Services Philippines Inc., and Wideout Workforces Inc. There are also new companies that joined the said online job search platform namely: Optum, Sykes, Accenture, Honda Philippines, Inc., HGS, and Ayala Land Premier.

Repatriated OFWs, fresh graduates, unemployed Filipinos, those who are looking for work-from-home arrangements, and any interested applicants can access the online job portal 24/7 and create their own account for free through this link: www.workbank.com/peza.
 

PEZA welcomes signing of CREATE into law 

PEZA welcomes signing of CREATE into law 
April 7, 2021
PEZA welcomes signing of CREATE into law 

PEZA welcomes signing of CREATE into law 

07 April 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority has welcomed the signing of a new law Republic Act. No. 11534, or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, by President Rodrigo Duterte last March 26, 2021.

The CREATE Law aims to gradually lower the corporate income tax from 30% to 25% and streamline the government’s fiscal incentives for investments both covering foreign and domestic enterprises.

 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has expressed gratitude to the President and the Congress for considering most of the concerns and suggestions from the industry associations and PEZA-registered export industries that had been expressed and submitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate since the deliberations began as TRAIN 2, to CITIRA, and now the CREATE Law.

“We are happy with the final CREATE Act after all those years of struggle. We recognize the need to gradually change and reform national tax or revenue system yet at the same time address the need to maintain and attract investors’ confidence in the Philippines, especially during this time of pandemic,” said Plaza.

The PEZA Chief added, “Although CREATE may offer 'win some, lose some' opportunities for the different industries, we are glad that CREATE sustained our argument and has placed a high premium on export-oriented enterprises with their availment of superior fiscal incentives particularly for new projects that will be applied with the IPAs like PEZA.”

“Now that the passage of CREATE law is done, it creates stability in taxation regime and PEZA as the top export-oriented investment promotion agency can aggressively pursue marketing and promotion of our economic zones to global investors,” she added.

The PEZA Chief said that there’s a need to communicate to existing and new investors the impact of the CREATE law to export-oriented industries while pushing the momentum and efforts to attract investments through marketing and promotion activities.

Extension of availment of incentives for existing RBEs

One of the items vetoed by the President which may have a big effect to the country’s existing foreign direct investors is the removal of the extension of availment of tax incentives by existing registered business enterprises (RBEs) given that the "extension of incentives for existing projects is unfair to ordinary taxpayers / unincentivized enterprises and further, only new activities and projects deserve fresh incentives."

Under CREATE, RBEs have no choice but to make do with the 10-year sunset period (after the lapse of ITH) and thereafter, graduate to the regular 25% CIT rate.

As explained by Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Mr. Tereso Panga, “This scenario could be a make or break for the Philippines as the affected ecozone locators, for example, might decide to retain their facilities and invest in new projects to be entitled to a longer ITH and SCIT period (total of 14- 17 years) or worse, they might just pack up and transfer to a more willing host-country that can offer better incentives for their investments as their availment of more advantageous incentives for sunk projects with the IPAs prior to CREATE were cut short by the mandatory sunset period for RBEs.”

Nevertheless, Plaza remains hopeful that the locator companies will be able to cope with the new conditions and the Philippine economy will be able to bounce back with a much inclusive growth for the country.

“We believe that effective governance will be pivotal in our resolve to retain, expand and attract investments into the ecozones under the CREATE regime and in due time, our existing locators will be able to adjust to CREATE and continue to secure their investments in the Philippines,” she said.

PEZA is currently preparing its inputs to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the RA 11534 and will soon conduct series of dialogue with its locator companies to further discuss the impact or benefits of the CREATE Law to PEZA and its registered enterprises.

PhP 13.19 Billion investments okayed by the PEZA Board in March 2021 

PhP 13.19 Billion investments okayed by the PEZA Board in March 2021 
March 18, 2021
PhP 13.19 Billion investments okayed by the PEZA Board in March 2021 

PhP 13.19 Billion investments okayed by the PEZA Board in March 2021 

18 March 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Board has approved on March 11, 2021 a total of 33 projects, which will bring about PhP 13.19 Billion investments and generate 2,447 employment in host areas of the ecozones. 
 

Among the total 33 Board-approved projects, 29 will be located in Luzon while the remaining four will be located in Visayas and in Mindanao.

For the 30 projects of registered business enterprises, 12 are for export projects, 11 are for IT projects, five (5) are for facilities, one (1) for logistics and one (1) for utilities Meanwhile, the other three (3) projects are for ecozone development projects which sums to 33 projects in total.

The 33 projects cover the February to March 2021 applications to PEZA and approval by the Board. According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “We thank our locator companies for continuously trusting PEZA and for believing the potentials that the Philippines have despite the onslaught of this current pandemic crisis. PEZA indeed continues to implement its brand of excellence, one-stop-shop and continued operations albeit observing strict health and safety protocols for the safety of all”

“The approval of new projects and investments is the agency’s positive action to continuously support the Philippine economy in our endeavor to maintain our competitiveness for investments despite the impact of COVID-19,” noted Plaza.

“We at PEZA are doing our best to become part of the solution during these trying times. We will continue to turn the threats into opportunities and help the Philippines achieve its goal of becoming an investment haven in Asia and around the globe,” noted Plaza.
 

PEZA builds partnership with the new Philippine Army Head for defense ecozone plan 

PEZA builds partnership with the new Philippine Army Head for defense ecozone plan 
March 17, 2021
PEZA builds partnership with the new Philippine Army Head for defense ecozone plan 

PEZA builds partnership with the new Philippine Army Head for defense ecozone plan 

17 March 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Director General Charito Plaza welcomed the newly appointed Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CGPA) Lt. Gen Jose C. Faustino Jr. PA at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Head Office yesterday 16 March 2021.
 

PEZA Chief Plaza expressed her excitement to start the Defense Industrial Complexes with the Philippine Army. She said, “Under your [Lt. Gen. Faustino] watch, we will hopefully start the creation of the first ever Defense Industrial Complexes from among the Philippine Army reservation areas.”
According to her, “PEZA aims to establish different types of economic zones and spread development to the countryside based on the land potential of the region. This includes the proposed creation of Defense Industrial Complexes in the Philippines.”

With only a month since he assumed the position, Philippine Army Lt Gen Faustino noted that he has seen the needs of the Army when it comes to modernization. He said, “With PEZA’s expertise in promoting investments and facilitating business operations, the Philippine Army can easily determine the necessary actions to maximize the revenue potential of its military reservations to support its modernization program.”

The CGPA said that creating a Defense Industrial Complex on economic zones is in line with the Philippine Army Transformation Roadmap which aims to pursue genuine transformation founded on good governance and excellence to better serve the Filipino people and secure the Philippines.

“The Philippine Army is privileged to have established a strong foundation of partnership with PEZA who similarly aspires for the betterment not just of both organizations, but also for the whole country,” Faustino added.

Overview of Defense Industrial Complex
The Defense Industrial Complex refers to a tract of land with defined boundaries located physically and/or administratively outside the customs territory and predominantly oriented to export production. This will produce world-class defense products to meet both domestic and world market requirements, thus, maximizing the utilization of economic zones to generate maximum revenues for the government and support to the modernization program as well create employment opportunities in the Philippines, particularly in and around the complex.

PEZA and AFP continued talks on military reserve land utilization to become ecozones
Meanwhile, the AFP showed their full support to PEZA’s plans and programs for establishing a Defense Industrial Ecozone in military reserves during PEZA’s 26th Anniversary Celebration last 24 February 2021.

Director General Plaza said that it is in AFP Chief Sobejana’s stewardship of the Philippine Army (PA) when they started discussing the Defense Industrial Complex as the newest type of economic zone. She said, “The PA is managing almost 20,000 hectares of military reservation areas and we are now planning to make this the first Defense Industrial Complex in the country.”

“At present, we are currently exploring the idea of establishing a Defense Industrial Complexes in selected military reservation [areas] across the country. We really need to produce locally our defense requirements and reduce our dependency to foreign suppliers,” AFP Chief Sobejana explained.

Plaza hopes to invite investors and defense industries who will manufacture military equipment, software, hardware, and uniforms among others that the military and police will be needing.

PEZA strengthens partnership with India, attracts more investors to PH

PEZA strengthens partnership with India, attracts more investors to PH
March 7, 2021
PEZA strengthens partnership with India, attracts more investors to PH

PEZA strengthens partnership with India, attracts more investors to PH

07 March 2020 (Sunday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has strengthened ties with India in attracting more investors to invest in the Philippines following the courtesy visit of the Indian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Mr. Shambhu Kumaran and First Secretary Mr. Nishi Singh to the PEZA Head Office last 01 March 2021.
 

The visit of the Ambassador is to discuss with PEZA the business opportunities in the Philippines for Indian investors. To date, there are around 28 Indian companies registered in PEZA – 21 of which are registered as IT-BPO, five (5) as manufacturing, and two (2) under various enterprises.

According to H.E. Kumaran, “The past year has been a bit of a setback to everyone but I feel that fundamental trends indicate that the Philippine economy continue to grow positively and energetically into the future.”

“The 21st century is really the century of digital economy… and there, both India and the Philippines are very well in place to derive maximum benefit,” noted the Ambassador.

Upskilling and reskilling of workforce

Like Plaza, H.E. Kumaran cited the importance of training and transforming our workforce and the cooperation between the countries in order to meet the needs of the global market when it comes to skills. “The demographic dividends can only be realized if we do what is required – that is to train and equip [those entering the job market] to meet the challenges of the new economy,” said the Ambassador.

He explained that through upskilling and reskilling, “We will be able to work together in areas of core strengths and bring in our skills in the global job market.”

Defense and Pharmaceutical Industries

Further, the Ambassador assured support in attracting defense industries and pharmaceutical companies in the country as these are two areas where there are good possibilities.

“It’s something that we would want to get some of our Indian companies who have connected suppliers to look at. We will be engaged with you and your team [regarding this] because this is a very interesting area that you highlighted for us,” noted H.E. Kumaran.

Global Biz

Likewise, PEZA and the Indian Embassy will be partnering for a session under the Global Biz monthly forum to cater to Indian companies, briefing them about investment opportunities in the Philippines and attracting investors to the country.

Aside from India, PEZA is also closely coordinating with the Malaysian Embassy to host a Global Biz session solely dedicated to the Malaysian companies wanting to invest in the Philippines. This comes as the Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Norman Bin Muhamad made his courtesy visit to PEZA early in February.

PEZA to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements in PEZA systems in ecozones

PEZA to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements in PEZA systems in ecozones
March 7, 2021
PEZA to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements in PEZA systems in ecozones

PEZA to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements in PEZA systems in ecozones

07 March 2021 (Sunday)
 

Pasay City – In order to protect government interests and ensure PEZA ecozone locators’ compliance, cooperation, trust and confidence in government, PEZA is set to hold talks this week with Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, together with the representative of the Department of Finance (DOF) in the PEZA Board, DOF Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko, to strengthen PEZA’s assistance to BIR in its monitoring and compliance requirements by further integrating into PEZA systems BIR requirements that are not yet part of PEZA’s processes, including those pertaining to PEZA-registered export enterprises manufacturing cigarettes and tobacco products that are exporting 100% of their production.
 

As explained by PEZA Director General Charito "Ching” Plaza, this collaboration is in line with the brand of service PEZA is known for – transparency, no corruption, no red tape.

PEZA has also initiated talks with Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to also strengthen collaboration between PEZA and Bureau of Customs and to resolve other PEZA and BOC concerns in relation to the movement of goods of PEZA enterprises and other BOC requirements.

“Along with BIR and BOC, PEZA vow to strengthen, integrate monitoring, compliance systems and processes in our economic zones to prevent smuggling, promote efficient tax collection, preserve investors’ cooperation, and maintain their trust and confidence in the government’s policies and processes,” noted the PEZA Chief.

At present, PEZA already assists BIR in ensuring that all PEZA enterprises file their Income Tax Returns by way of PEZA’s requirement for all its registered enterprises to submit to PEZA annually copies of their annual Income Tax Returns and Audited Financial Statements, with proof of receipt thereof by the BIR, including proof of their payment of applicable taxes to the BIR.

In case certain enterprises fail to submit these documents within the period prescribed by PEZA, PEZA withholds issuance to the non-compliant enterprise of their Annual Certification of Entitlement to Incentives and entitlement to VAT zero-rating on their local purchases. This is in addition to PEZA’s imposing penalties of fine per day of delay in their submission of these documents and, in case of continued failure to submit these documents to PEZA, PEZA withholds the issuance of Import Permits and Export Declaration to the erring PEZA enterprise.

As to the collection of excise tax on cigarettes manufactured by PEZA enterprises and sold locally, PEZA, in 2017, had an extensive dialogue with the BIR’s excise tax officers for the purpose of PEZA’s enforcement of BIR’s requirements for excise tax on local sales of cigarettes manufactured by PEZA enterprises. PEZA has since been implementing these requirements for local sales of cigarettes manufactured by PEZA enterprises. Under the PEZA Law (R.A. No. 7916, as amended) which provides incentives to PEZA enterprises contained in the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987, PEZA export enterprises are allowed to sell locally their manufactured products to the extent of 30% of their annual total revenues if foreign-owned, and up to 50% of total revenues if Filipino-owned, subject to payment of duties and taxes to the Bureau of Customs. Payment of duties and taxes is made to the Customs office stationed in every PEZA zone where PEZA-registered export manufacturing enterprises are located. Likewise, a PEZA office is stationed in every PEZA ecozone with PEZA-registered export manufacturing enterprises.

These duties and taxes, and in the case of cigarettes, including excise taxes, are required by PEZA to be paid to the Bureau of Customs (the deputized BIR collection agent for internal revenue taxes inside the PEZA ecozones) by the PEZA enterprise before their goods for local sale are allowed by PEZA and the Bureau of Customs stationed in the PEZA zone, to leave the PEZA ecozone where the manufacturing facility of the PEZA enterprise is located.

PEZA has also been collaborating with the BIR on the VAT zero-rating entitlement of PEZA enterprises on their local purchases related to their registered activities. PEZA regularly submits to BIR a list of PEZA enterprises entitled to the VAT zero-rating incentive, for which PEZA issues annually a Certification of Entitlement to each PEZA enterprise to this incentive after checking their compliance with PEZA’s reportorial requirements and other compliance requirements of PEZA. PEZA has also equipped these Certifications with a QR Code so that BIR can check the authenticity of these Certifications when presented to BIR by local suppliers of PEZA enterprises.

PEZA also submits to BIR all PEZA approvals and evaluation reports on income tax holiday extension years granted to qualified PEZA enterprises in accordance with criteria prescribed in the Omnibus Investments Code of 1987. In addition, pursuant to Republic Act No. 10708, the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA), PEZA religiously submits to BIR, since this law was enacted in 2015, an annual report on PEZA enterprises’ availment of tax incentives.

As to the movement of import and export shipments and other goods of PEZA enterprises, PEZA Director General Charito Plaza explains that PEZA has in place rigid measures to ensure that imports and exports and all movement of goods of PEZA-registered enterprises are controlled and monitored. PEZA, she explains further, has a long history of collaboration with the Bureau of Customs via a series of Memoranda of Agreement to jointly control and monitor the movement of import and export shipments and other movement of goods of PEZA enterprises.

Among these are the presence of Bureau of Customs offices in all of the PEZA economic zones supervised by PEZA where PEZA-registered export manufacturing enterprises are located. The Customs officers in the PEZA zones jointly inspect with PEZA officers in the PEZA offices also stationed in all PEZA zones where manufacturing enterprises are located, the incoming and outgoing goods of PEZA enterprises. Import Permits, Export Declarations and all other Permits issued by PEZA for all types of movement of goods of PEZA enterprises into and out of the PEZA economic zones are provided to and are accessible to the Customs officers at the PEZA zone.

In accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement between PEZA and the Bureau of Customs, PEZA offices are stationed at the international ports of entry such as the Manila International Container Port. Port of Manila (South Harbor), NAIA, Cebu International Seaport, Mactan International Airport, particularly to double check all Import Permits issued to PEZA enterprises before these are endorsed by the PEZA office to the Bureau of Customs at the Port for processing of the corresponding Bureau of Customs Transshipment Permit for the import shipment. Import Permits issued by PEZA to its registered enterprises are equipped with bar codes so that even BOC can check on their authenticity. More recently, BOC has implemented its E-TRACC (Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo) System on containerized import shipments of PEZA enterprises. The E-TRACC system utilizes an electronic lock equipped with GPS attached to the container.

BIR and PEZA are currently investigating two PEZA-registered enterprises engaged in manufacturing cigarettes for 100% export, which were found to be deficient in compliance with BIR registration requirements for cigarette manufacturers. PEZA continues with its own investigation into this matter and had earlier withheld import shipments of these enterprises until a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued by the Court. PEZA will apply its own rules and regulations on penalties applicable to these enterprises based on PEZA’s own investigation. This is distinct and different from whatever penalties BIR may impose upon these enterprises. Other cigarette manufacturers registered with PEZA engage best practices, such as JT International Asia Manufacturing Corp.

Director General Plaza adds that in order to enhance PEZA’s smuggling prevention efforts, PEZA is strengthening its intelligence capability and will continue to coordinate and collaborate with BOC and BIR to protect government revenues. PEZA will also closely coordinate with the PNP, AFP, LGUs and other agencies of government not only to protect government revenues but also to ensure trust and confidence of investors in our processes, and their safety inside the PEZA ecozones. PEZA, she says further, is now in the process also of enhancing its automated systems to include monitoring and compliance requirements.

PEZA investigates non-compliant companies within ecozones, to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements

PEZA investigates non-compliant companies within ecozones, to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements
March 7, 2021
PEZA investigates non-compliant companies within ecozones, to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements

PEZA investigates non-compliant companies within ecozones, to dialogue with BIR-BOC-DOF to strengthen integration of BIR-BOC monitoring and compliance requirements 

07 March 2021 (Sunday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is currently investigating two PEZA-registered enterprises engaged in manufacturing cigarettes for 100% export, which were found to be deficient in compliance with Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) requirements for cigarette manufacturers. 
 

GB-BEM and GB Global, both PEZA locators, were recently the subject of raids conducted by the BIR for operating without the requisite BIR registration and other permits required in cigarette manufacturing. The matter is also the subject of parallel investigations by the BIR as well as the House Committee on Ways and Means.

PEZA had earlier withheld import shipments of these enterprises until a Writ of Preliminary Injunction was issued by the courts. PEZA will apply its own rules and regulations on penalties applicable to these enterprises based on the results of its own investigation. This is distinct and different from whatever penalties BIR may impose upon these enterprises.

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said that in order to protect government interests and ensure PEZA ecozone locators’ compliance, the agency will be holding talks this week with BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, together with the representative of the Department of Finance (DOF) in the PEZA Board, DOF Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko. The talks are aimed at strengthening PEZA’s assistance to BIR in its monitoring and compliance requirements by further integrating into PEZA systems BIR requirements that are not yet part of PEZA’s processes, including those pertaining to PEZA-registered export enterprises manufacturing cigarettes and tobacco products that are exporting 100% of their production.

PEZA has also initiated talks with Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to strengthen collaboration between PEZA and BOC and to resolve other PEZA and BOC concerns in relation to the movement of goods of PEZA enterprises and other BOC requirements.

Plaza noted that PEZA already has existing systems in place in collaboration with both BIR and the BOC, which have been proven effective in regulating other locators. She cited the example of JT International Asia Manufacturing Corp, which engages in so-called “best practices” and fully compliant with PEZA, BIR, NTA and BOC requirements. Nevertheless, she said the agency will look further to plug remaining gaps in the system.
The Director General adds that in order to enhance PEZA’s smuggling prevention efforts, PEZA is strengthening its intelligence capability and will continue to coordinate and collaborate with BOC and BIR to protect government revenues. PEZA will also closely coordinate with the PNP, AFP, LGUs and other agencies of government not only to protect government revenues but also to ensure trust and confidence of investors in our processes, and their safety inside the PEZA ecozones. PEZA, she says further, is now in the process also of enhancing its automated systems to include monitoring and compliance requirements.

Director General Plaza adds that in order to enhance PEZA’s smuggling prevention efforts, PEZA is strengthening its intelligence capability and will continue to coordinate and collaborate with BOC and BIR to protect government revenues. PEZA will also closely coordinate with the PNP, AFP, LGUs and other agencies of government not only to protect government revenues but also to ensure trust and confidence of investors in our processes, and their safety inside the PEZA ecozones. PEZA, she says further, is now in the process also of enhancing its automated systems to include monitoring and compliance requirements.

PEZA celebrates 26th Anniversary with the Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021

PEZA celebrates 26th Anniversary with the Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021
March 4, 2021
PEZA celebrates 26th Anniversary with the Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021

PEZA celebrates 26th Anniversary with the Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021

04 March 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) awarded its partners composed of government agencies, industry leaders, and civil society groups local under the “Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021” in line with the celebration of PEZA’s 26th Anniversary last February 24, 2021, which was attended by AFP Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana and DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
 

After the PEZA Chief delivered the State of PEZA Address (SOPA), the said awarding was conferred to PEZA’s government partners, Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), the PEZA Board, Industry Associations, Foreign Chambers various stakeholders, and selected Ka-PIPPs partners for their relentless assistance, contribution, and support to PEZA’s programs. These include in the areas of economic zone development, investments promotion, community projects, policy, and legislative actions or advocacies that are aimed to the overall goal to fully industrialize and promote the Philippines as an investments haven in Asia.

#GalingPinas represents PEZA’s slogan that meant "Made in the Philippines is the best! and the Philippines is best to invest in!”

List of Awardees

The list of awardees was divided into seven categories namely, government partners and Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs). IPAs are government entities in charge of promoting investments, administering tax and non-tax incentives, as well as overseeing the operations of the different economic and Freeport zones in accordance with their respective charters.

PEZA Board Members are also awarded for their continuous formulation and implementation of policies, plans, and programs of the Authority, including the establishment and enforcement of rules, regulations, and standards governing the establishment and operation of economic zones.

Further, Industry Associations, various stakeholders, and Foreign Chambers of Commerce were recognized for their unceasing efforts as PEZA’s outstanding PEZA partners and locator companies. Chambers of Commerce plays a vital role in linking, associating, and growing businesses in the Philippines by providing useful information practical assistance to companies that are planning on outsourcing to the Philippines.

Lastly, in line with the 10-point programs and special projects of PEZA that seek to build partnerships with international and domestic business chambers and industries’ associations, PEZA recognized various agencies and institutions, also known as Ka-PIPPs. With this partnership, PEZA hopes to continue connecting and attracting global investors into the Philippines, despite the challenges of a global pandemic.


PEZA Board Members Awardees

PEZA adapts automated systems and processes to enhance the ease of doing business in economic zones

PEZA adapts automated systems and processes to enhance the ease of doing business in economic zones
March 3, 2021
PEZA adapts automated systems and processes to enhance the ease of doing business in economic zones

PEZA adapts automated systems and processes to enhance the ease of doing business in economic zones

03 March 2021 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza announced on her State of PEZA Address (SOPA) last Wednesday, February 24, 2021, that the agency will begin to use and implement automated systems and processes including an online payment method accessible to applicant investors or current locators in ecozones.
 

“Now in its 26th year, it is high time that PEZA’s governance adapt technology and innovations and explore digital platforms to improve good governance, transparency, ease of doing business, and accountability,” said Plaza.
In line with this, PEZA Director General Plaza and I-PAY MYEG PH (IPMPI) Chief Executive Officer Ann Margaret Saldana signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on February 18, 2021, at PEZA Head Office in Pasay. IPMPI is an online payment gateway provider that operates and maintains an Electronic Payment Collection System (EPCS) and has the capability to integrate with PEZA’s online portal.

MOA for the online payment platform

The signing of MOA between the PEZA and IPMPI is in line with the Republic Act No. 11032, also known as the “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Services Delivery Act of 2019” that aims to improve transaction systems and procedures. As such, the use of electronic payment and collection system by PEZA will enhance and promote more efficient services to the general public.
PEZA Chief Plaza said in her SOPA speech last Wednesday, “This will improve transparency, accountability, and good governance in PEZA’s brand of service.”
According to her, the EPCS will roll out in 30 to 45 days following the recent MOA signing with IPMPI. The EPCS enables clients to remit payments through various channels such as ATM accounts, credit cards, mobile wallets, and over-the-counter facilities.

IPMPI has offered its EPCS and related services to PEZA at no cost, and has also passed the PEZA accreditation process for online payment gateway providers.


Director General Charito "Ching" Plaza and I-PAY MYEG PH (IPMPI) Chief Executive Officer Ann Margaret Saldana together with MYEG Business Development Head Clemente Antonio Sarte signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the EPCS and related services, on February 18, 2021.

Other automation efforts

Further, the Office of the Board Secretary and the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ) have started the Digitization and Document Management System (DMS) allowing a more efficient, secure, and organized document management for PEZA. “Economic zones in Mactan and Baguio City will begin using the system in the next few weeks with the scanners recently deployed”, Plaza noted.
The Electronic Letter of Authority (eLOA) for four types of LOAs is currently undergoing pilot implementation. Electronic filing of other types of LOAs and the eLOA’s integration to the payment gateway system is targeted on April 2021.

Automating engineering permits and visa

Meanwhile, the Engineering Permits Assessment Monitoring System (EPAMS) is now being redeveloped to update system functionalities and secure a more efficient interconnection with the Billing and Collection System. EPAMs automates the filing and monitoring of engineering permits.

Also, the procurement process and development of the online VISA for foreign investors will start this year. It is a web-based system that will manage and monitor the submission of visa applications of foreign nationals, expatriates, and their dependents working for PEZA-registered enterprise.
TIMTA reports for submission via online

Lastly, PEZA Chief conveyed that TIMTA report submissions, required by law to be submitted to PEZA by locators receiving tax incentives, will adapt an online system developed by NEDA. The Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act System or TIMTA System under R.A. 10708 allows for the submission of online documents of annual reports which will also reduce the tedium or organizing and extracting voluminous data required by the TIMTA.

These adaptations showcase a continuous improvement of the ease of doing business in the Philippines and particularly in PEZA which manages 401 ecozones and more than 4,000 locator companies.

PEZA turns 26: remains atop performing Investment Promotion Agency amidst the pandemic

PEZA turns 26: remains atop performing Investment Promotion Agency amidst the pandemic
March 2, 2021
PEZA turns 26: remains atop performing Investment Promotion Agency amidst the pandemic

PEZA turns 26: remains atop performing Investment Promotion Agency amidst the pandemic

02 March 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza delivered her State of the PEZA Address (SOPA) in celebration of the agency’s 26th Anniversary last week, 24 February 2021, at the PEZA Auditorium.
 

The PEZA Chief delivered her second SOPA speech which focused on the agency’s performance, vision, programs, the current and future directions of PEZA. The SOPA speech served as an avenue for Director General Plaza to report to all PEZA officials and its employees, its partners, and stakeholders the performance, updates, and accomplishments of PEZA during the previous year as well as the agency’s new projects and programs.

Plaza proudly stated that PEZA didn't slow down amidst the COVID-19 crisis, but took the challenge and threats into opportunities. She also thanked PEZA’s locator companies for choosing the Philippines and the PEZA ecozones for expanding their businesses in 2020 despite the pandemic.

The Director General noted that “PEZA had generated PHP 95 billion of investments with 300 projects registered for the period of January-December 2020. As of October 2020, PEZA also generated US$ 45.085 billion of exports and created 1,541,259 jobs. This also allowed PEZA to remit to the national government an accumulated amount of PHP 24.097 billion from 1995 to 2020.”

Support for creating more ecozones

Hon. Presbitero Velasco, Jr, Chairman of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), applauded PEZA for its dynamic and continuous effort to perform its mandate at its best despite the current difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Like PEZA, ULAP envisions to attain total development of the Philippines by accelerating growth in our Local Government Units in every region, particularly in the countryside. It is high time for our regions to enjoy social progress and achieve inclusive growth that brings development and livelihood outside Metro Manila.” He said.

From the Central Bank of the Philippines, Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier also commended PEZA and underlined that “the Philippine Peso remains market-driven supported by sound macro-economic fundamentals and is considered as one of the strongest currencies in the region.” She also noted that BSP aims to fuel the country’s economic recovery with a more responsive and sufficient banking system heeding to the nationwide call for more productive activities in critical sectors of the economy.

Further, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Cirilito Sobejana highlighted that the Philippines should be the best place for investment. He also added that the AFP will continue to provide full support to PEZA and all its endeavors with hopes that their partnership will continue to prosper.

Lt. Gen Sobejana said, “I urge PEZA to continue being true with the agency’s primary objective of providing a globally competitive environment for investments.” Likewise, the AFP vows to protect the investment of our country’s investors assuring peace and security on economic zones.

Finally, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III has graced the event and delivered his Congratulatory Message. Bello agreed with Lt. Gen Sobejana’s statements on peace. “Truly, you don’t achieve peace by just signing the Peace Agreement. You achieve peace by addressing the root causes and the outcome.” Bello said.

According to him, DOLE fully supports PEZA’s efforts for industrial peace and harmony in ecozones as it is caring for Filipino workers’ welfare. “DOLE shares PEZA’s value for labor and environment ensuring that statutory rights of workers in economic and freeport zones are upheld and protected,” the DOLE Secretary noted.

PEZA Performance

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported in the last quarter of 2020 that, “Only PEZA [among the IPAs] registered year-on-year growth in foreign investment commitments during the July-to-September period with P20.3 billion, up to 97 percent from P10.3 billion last year.”

Plaza noted that “PEZA had generated PHP 95 billion of investments with 300 projects registered for the period of January-December 2020.”

Just this January 2021, the PEZA Board approved a total of 24 projects, which are seen to employ 5,601 workers and bring PHP 11.308 billion of investments. “This is a 139% increase from the PHP 4.726 billion investments PEZA generated last year in January 2020.” PEZA Chief added.

The continued attraction of investments showcase that the Philippines is indeed an investment haven and PEZA’s brand of excellence is chosen by many investors. To date, among the total 2,571 companies registered in PEZA, 2,229 companies in Luzon are continuously operating, 393 companies out of 409 companies are operating in Visayas, and 46 of 47 companies are operating in Mindanao.

Recognitions and Citations

PEZA is also known for its best practices among economic zones worldwide. Various organizations and government institutions locally and abroad have recognized these practices that contributed to the ease of doing business in the Philippines.

The US Department of State lauded the Authority in its 2020 Investment Climate Statements saying, “The business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop-shop services for investors.

Likewise, the PCOO awarded PEZA during the 2020 Freedom of Information or FOI Awards with a Special Citation conferred to government agencies who have exemplified an untiring dedication and commitment to the FOI program during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping its channels of information open and active to the public.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) conducted the cost benefit analysis (CBA) from 2016 to 2018 last year. Based on NEDA’s initial CBA study, an average of 94.5% of all exports were made by registered business enterprises (RBEs) under PEZA and these RBEs also acquired most imports (92.7 to 97.0%).

PEZA Chief said, “The findings in the preliminary study proves the importance and effectiveness of the tax incentives being given to investors and their presence in the country.”

PEZA’s Transformation Roadmap

Last December 2020, the PEZA Board approved the adoption of the new 10-point programs and special projects which shall be called “PEZA’s Transformational Roadmap” in the next 25 years.

Director General highlighted the new Transformation Roadmap as “a blueprint that is a legacy and continued guideline to unlock the potentials of Philippine industries, of enhancing human capital and natural resources of our country towards full, sustainable, and green industrialization.”

PEZA will collaborate with other government bodies to address the efficiency factors that expanding multinational companies are considering in making their investment decisions. This is in line with the signing of Administrative Order No. 18 in 2019 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which mandates various government agencies to develop and support ecozone creations in the countryside.

“PEZA has lived 26 wonderful years. And as we proceed to the next years of growing, improving, and developing together, we pray that we will all keep the same indomitable spirit and culture of excellence that set us apart from the rest.” said the PEZA Chief.

PEZA begins partnerships with local and foreign banks for credit facilities for ecozone development, facilities, utilities, and supply chain

PEZA begins partnerships with local and foreign banks for credit facilities for ecozone development, facilities, utilities, and supply chain
March 2, 2021
PEZA begins partnerships with local and foreign banks for credit facilities for ecozone development, facilities, utilities, and supply chain

PEZA begins partnerships with local and foreign banks for credit facilities for ecozone development, facilities, utilities, and supply chain  

02 March 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – Last Wednesday, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) had its first of its monthly-forum called “Global Biz” for 2021 as part of its PEZA’s 26th Anniversary held on 24 February 2021 at the PEZA Auditorium.
 

PEZA started the year 2021 with Global Biz that hosted its foreign and local banks such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Philippines National Bank (PNB). The said forum also included Japanese banks namely, the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, and the Singaporean financial institution, the Passion Venture Capital.

With the theme, “Creating Credit Facilities for Ecozone Developer, Export Enterprise, Suppliers, Logistics, Transportation Hubs, Utilities Facilities, Public Works, IT Infrastructures, and Everyone Doing Business in the Philippine Zone”, the Global Biz forum aims to achieve PEZA’s worldview, “Thinking Global, Acting Local” as outlined in its 10-Point Program to fully industrialize, enhance the efficiency, and competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia.

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said, “It is our goal that through this month’s Global Biz, local and international banks will be encouraged to put up credit facilities in our economic zones to address the efficiency factors like logistics, transportation hubs, public works, and infrastructures as well as to enhance the ease of doing business in the Philippines.”

Islamic Financing Opportunities in the Philippines

The BSP Executive Vice President, Attorney Noel P. Tianela delivered his Keynote Address. He discussed the opportunities of developing Islamic Banking and Finance in the Philippines. Tianela said, “Big populations can be tapped and be included in banking systems if there are robust and expanded Islamic Banking System as this can promote inclusive finance and address the demand of Muslims for Shariah-compliant financial products.”

According to Tianela, “Islamic Banking Systems should be anchored on principles that would lead the economy to greater financial stability.”

The BSP is anticipating more domestic banks to open their own Islamic banking units and foreign banks applying for their own Islamic banking license. He added, “We are now starting to provide a comprehensive regulatory framework conducive with a level-playing field for Islamic banking product and services, vis-à-vis, or that could operate alongside the conventional banking system.”

Credit Facilities of the DBP and PNB

The DBP Vice President and Head of the Program Development Management I, Mr. Noli Cruz graced the event as one of the resource speakers. Cruz highlighted that DBP’s core support to PEZA’s locator companies will be on infrastructure development. “This includes power, water, transport, logistics, housing, solid and hazardous wastes, and sanitations. DBP can also support the entire value chain of locator companies especially the small and medium enterprises and other areas needing development interventions.” Cruz said.

According to him, “DBP adheres to sustainable development thus, supporting projects that advance environmental protection believing that sustainable growth is purely hinged on total human development.” Cruz also pointed out that DBP is a strong advocate that promotes the well-being of Filipinos across the nation.

In a statement by the PNB Senior Vice President Jean Marie Baruelo, she said, “We intend to provide you comprehensive financial solutions spanning from your investments as you set up your operations in the Philippines all the way to your growth and development as we aim to partner with you as your financial partner of choice.”

Similar to the DBP, PNB also offers corporate or institutional loans, launching their sustainable finance network that aims to further support and promote such as renewable energy, clean transportation, energy efficiency, pollution prevention control, climate change adaptation, and terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity conservation.

Further, PNB can assist in investment banking solutions, global trade services, cash management solutions, and electronic payment solutions. Baruelo also encouraged foreign investors in the event that the PNB can assist them in queries on setting up establishment operations in the country and finding partners for joint ventures for local expansion.

PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders

PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders
March 2, 2021
PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders

PEZA, AFP partners for creating Defense Industrial Ecozones, transforming investors and workers as Reservists and disaster and emergency responders

02 March 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has assured the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), headed by Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, its full support to its plans and programs particularly for establishing a Defense Industrial Ecozone in military reserves during PEZA’s 26th year anniversary celebration on 24 February 2021 at the PEZA Auditorium.
 

AFP Chief of Staff Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana has congratulated PEZA for “persistently promoting sound and balanced industrial, economic, and social development that continuously empower our people to become productive partners and integral catalysts for progress and nation building.”

“I urge PEZA to continue being true with the agency’s primary objective of providing a globally competitive environment for investments. On our part, we will continue to commit ourselves and provide our full support to PEZA and all its endeavors,” noted Lt Gen Sobejana.

He added, “The partnership between PEZA and the AFP has just started. We have to journey together towards building a stronger relationship in as far as growth and progress of our nation is concerned. We hope that this partnership will continue to prosper.”

Defense Industrial Complex

Meanwhile, PEZA and the AFP have already continued talks regarding the utilization of military reserve lands to become economic zones.

Under the leadership of Plaza, PEZA has established different types of economic zones based on the land potential of the region. This includes the proposed creation of Defense Industrial Complexes in the Philippines.

The PEZA Chief explained, “It is in [Lt Gen Sobejana’s] stewardship of the Philippine Army (PA) when we started to discuss the newest [type of] economic zone, which is the Defense Industrial Complex. The PA is managing almost 20,000 hectares of military reservation areas and we are now planning to make this the first Defense Industrial Complex in the country.”

“We hope to invite investors and defense industries who will manufacture military aircraft, seacraft, weapons, equipment, software, hardware, uniforms, and all those that the military and police will be needing,” she noted.

For his part, the AFP Chief explained that “At present, we are currently exploring the idea of establishing a Defense Industrial Complexes in selected military reservation [areas] across the country. We really need to produce locally our defense requirements and reduce our dependency to foreign suppliers. Of course, we need the technology that other countries have for us to establish [defense industries] here in our country for various.”

‘Not Militarizing PEZA’

Director General Plaza noted that the partnership of the AFP and the Authority is much needed especially in ensuring the safety and welfare of the Filipino people especially those in our economic zones.

“We are not militarizing PEZA. We are just making our employees and the industry workers in the ecozone as military reservists. And we are trained by the military, soon the police will join in the trainings, so that we will make our ecozone workers and PEZA employees as disaster and calamity responders. They can assure our investors that investing in our economic zones will be very safe and secured,” explained the PEZA Chief.

She added that, “PEZA cannot do it alone. We need the help of our forces to better equip us against manmade and natural disasters.”

Supporting the call, Lt Gen Sobejana noted, “We are just wanted to give assurance to the investors that your huge amount of investment is secured, wherever it is across the Philippine archipelago.”

In fact, Sobejana explained, “The program between the AFP and PEZA enabled us to effectively perform other roles and functions such as disaster response and other various community services as an affiliated reserve unit.”

“PEZA made a huge contribution through relief operations during the eruptions of Taal Volcano, the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysees and other typhoons, and in our fight against the spread of COVID-19,” noted the AFP Chief.

Galing Pinas

The AFP has likewise assured PEZA that they share the same goal of ensuring a much inclusive peace and progress for the whole country, attaining the full industrialization of the Philippines.

“We could all agree that partnerships and collaborations are extremely necessary in addressing the myriad of challenges that our nation is currently facing… We can effectively fight all [the present] threats and challenges if we effectively converge all our efforts. We really wanted to achieve that objective that the Philippines should be the best place for investment. Galing Pinas, Galing Pilipinas,” said Sobejana.

The AFP Chief explained, “I do believe that it would be an operation than of war that would offer a more sustainable solution to our problem and that is more on economic development. We have a lot of potentials; we have a very rich nation with a lot of human and natural resources… With so many resources around us, I define progress as a patriotic response to opportunities geared to reinvigorate an economic sustainable society.”

Sobejana and Plaza have unitedly called for other agencies as well to be part of the cause especially this time of pandemic.

“Let us be a light and a symbol of hope for the country and for our fellow Filipinos especially in the coming years. Let us altogether promote Galing Pinas, Galing Pinas! – made in the Philippines is best, the Philippines is best to invest in,” noted the PEZA Chief.

PEZA Chief welcomes the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. at Lima Technology Center, Special Economic Zone, Batangas 

PEZA Chief welcomes the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. at Lima Technology Center, Special Economic Zone, Batangas 
February 23, 2021
PEZA Chief welcomes the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. at Lima Technology Center, Special Economic Zone, Batangas 

PEZA Chief welcomes the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. at Lima Technology Center, Special Economic Zone, Batangas 

23 February 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza attended the Inauguration of the Manufacturing Plant Expansion Project of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc., (YMPH) yesterday, February 22, 2021, at the Lima Technology Center, Malvar, Batangas. The PEZA Chief attended the said Inauguration on Monday.
 

The Inauguration formally marks the start of operation of the PEZA approved plant expansion with Supplemental Agreement last January 15, 2020. This is also Yamaha’s testament to their commitment to further business operations in the Philippines.

Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc. has been with PEZA since its registration on September 5, 2007. This is part of PEZA’s aim to attract Japanese companies to locate and invest here in the Philippines.

Director General Plaza expressed her appreciation and gratitude to locator companies’ continued operations such as the YMPH for keeping the Philippines afloat and protected amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, thus preserving the welfare of our countrymen, our country’s economy, and the jobs of Filipinos.

“PEZA welcomes YAMAHA’s Expansion Project especially during this time that we are reeling from the uncertainties at hand,” Plaza said. The PEZA Chief also emphasized that PEZA has always been supportive of these relative projects as it aims to encourage locators not to leave nor transfer but to expand and continue operations in economic zones amidst the pandemic.

This is also a significant event for the YMPH President Hiroshi Koike as this is his first time setting up a new factory in the Philippines in his 34 years working in Yamaha Motor. According to Koike, with the pandemic shifting the mode of public transportation from commuting to personal use of mobility, there is an increase in the demand for automatic models. “Generating a huge number of products will result to creation of more jobs roughly about 1500 employees for old factory and additional recruitment of 1300 workforce for this newly-built factory. This is in line with our corporate social responsibility in contributing to the enhancement of the Philippine economy,” Koike said.

YMPH aims to continuously cooperate with PEZA in expanding their business in order to also fulfill the mission of Yamaha Motor Philippines which is having the highest

growth in the motorcycle industry among ASEAN countries and to take pride in impressing the Filipino people by creating products that are beyond expectations.

As PEZA continues to do its best in promoting the creation of economic zones especially in the countryside, Plaza encourages locator companies to retain this in the entire nation and attain much inclusive growth for the Philippines. “We look forward to strengthening our partnership with you to achieve our goal of transforming the Philippines to become an investment haven in Asia.” PEZA Chief said

PEZA to celebrate 26th Anniversary with State of PEZA Address, to build partnerships with BSP and banks for credit facilities for ecozones

PEZA to celebrate 26th Anniversary with State of PEZA Address, to build partnerships with BSP and banks for credit facilities for ecozones
February 18, 2021
PEZA to celebrate 26th Anniversary with State of PEZA Address, to build partnerships with BSP and banks for credit facilities for ecozones

PEZA to celebrate 26th Anniversary with State of PEZA Address, to build partnerships with BSP and banks for credit facilities for ecozones 

18 February 2021 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – Continuing to be the top investment promotion agency in the country that manages more than 4,605 registered companies and 410 operating ecozones nationwide amidst the new normal, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is preparing to celebrate its 26th anniversary on February 24, 2021 at its new office location in Pasay.
 

For the second time, the PEZA Director General will deliver a State of PEZA Address (SOPA) and also jumpstart its monthly Global Biz News with the topic on building partnerships with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and other local and foreign banks to create credit facilities for ecozone developments. Plaza delivered her first State of PEZA Address during the Investor’s Recognition Day last year, December 10, 2020.

“Indeed, PEZA is unstoppable and unrelenting amidst the pandemic. We continue to deliver our mandate for investments, jobs, and exports and see opportunities amidst the challenges for the Filipino people. We share the celebration of PEZA’s 26th anniversary with all the agency’s stakeholders and partners in the export-industry who help to keep our economy afloat and remain competitive in the global market,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Wednesday.

A series of programs are being prepared on February 24th. In the morning from 9:00AM is the “Global Biz with PEZA” which will be forum to discuss creating credit facilities for export-driven enterprises and ecozone developers both in public and private sectors. Meanwhile, in the afternoon from 3:00pm is the “State of PEZA Address” (SOPA) where the Director General shall deliver a message on the performance, vision, programs, and directions of PEZA in the present and coming years.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) are just some of the attendees for the upcoming Global Biz.

“We urge all concerned and interested public to join us in the livestreaming of the PEZA’s 26th Anniversary. It is a platform to learn and enlighten us on PEZA and the Philippine investment climate’s competitive edge, opportunities, and collaborations needed to further propel us to the vision of establishing the Philippines as investment haven in Asia,” said the PEZA Chief.

Galing Pinas Award by PEZA

Meanwhile, part of the program in the afternoon on February 24th after the SOPA is awarding of the recognition to PEZA’s partners in promoting the country's ecozones, competitiveness and making it as a premier investment hub. The “Galing Pinas Ecozone Investment Partnership Award 2021” are going to be conferred in honor of those contributions to PEZA’s programs and mandate.

“Under PEZA’s Galing Pinas Awards, we have selected Ka-PIPPs partners which meant members of PEZA Investment Promotion Partners, industry associations, companies and personalities who had worked with PEZA as the top investment promotion agency in the Philippines along with the citations from the World Bank, IFC, and US Department of State among others,” said the Plaza.

#GalingPinas represents PEZA’s slogan that meant "Made in the Philippines is the best! and the Philippines is best to invest in!”

Leaving Legacy

Meanwhile, the PEZA Chief underlined that in the current political context, “In basketball terms, we are in the last two minutes of our first Mindanaoan President’s term and we need to do our best to deliver for our fellow Filipinos and the Philippines.”

From Plaza’s appointment as the head of PEZA in 2016, PEZA has achieved many milestones and she has proven again her leadership prowess in her more than four years leading PEZA amidst the pandemic and implementing great balancing acts in managing the top investment promotion agency in the country.

Plaza is the second presidential appointee to the position of Director General since PEZA’s creation in 1995 by virtue of Republic Act No. 7916. Duterte appointed Plaza as PEZA Chief and she assumed the role beginning October 4, 2016. She is the co-author of Republic Act No. 7916 also known as “The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995” during her time as Congresswoman.

Since 2016 from the time of Plaza’s appointment to the present, PEZA recorded a total of 680.8 billion pesos of investments, a very significant portion of which comes from the development of new economic zones all over the country.

Under Plaza’s leadership, “PEZA is going beyond the traditional perception that ecozones are primarily or merely just the manufacturing or assembling type. In fact, there are different types of ecozones that can be established in idle lands depending on the viability and apt to the natural resources available in the area.”

Plaza explained that “PEZA can do more in partnership with private developers or public ecozones into developing smart cities or townships within cities. We are helping to build metropolitan areas with the presence of economic zones as the key driver for economic development.”

PEZA strengthens partnership with Mindanao leaders, pushes for more ecozones in the countryside 

PEZA strengthens partnership with Mindanao leaders, pushes for more ecozones in the countryside 
November 16, 2021
PEZA strengthens partnership with Mindanao leaders, pushes for more ecozones in the countryside 

PEZA strengthens partnership with Mindanao leaders, pushes for more ecozones in the countryside 

16 February 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Davao City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has come together with Mindanaoan leaders and national government officials to strengthen its partnership and further develop Mindanao during the Mindanao Speaks Up summit, which was held on Wednesday, 10 February in Ritz Hotel, Davao City.
 

Initiated by PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) Administrator Abdulghani Ajul Salapuddin, the Mindanao Speaks Up forum seeks to address the long-delayed and other vital infrastructure projects especially for Mindanao as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte comes to his last 18 months in office.

“It is our dream to attain a stronger inclusive growth for the Philippines; to transform the country into a self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating investment haven. In order to achieve that, no one must be left behind. Thus, we need to help our President to fulfill his dreams and promises and make Mindanao the ‘Land of Fulfillment’,” said Plaza.

Creation of more ecozones in Mindanao

As MinDA Secretary Piñol and SPDA Administrator Salapuddin push for increased budget allocation for Mindanao in the 2022 budget, the PEZA Chief urged Mindanaon leaders in LGUs and national offices as well as those in Congress to file a resolution asking the President to declare idle public lands in the country’s south as areas for the development of special economic zones.

“The Mindanaoan leaders will be passing a resolution to the President so we could have the opportunity to trigger economic growth, creation of jobs, develop the countryside. Let’s proclaim public lands in every region to become public economic zones so we can contribute to the total development, in peace and prosperity of the country,” said Director General Plaza.

This urge is in line with the President’s Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 which seeks to promote rural development, ensure inclusive growth in the countryside, and create robust economic activity and wealth generation in areas outside of Metro Manila.

The PEZA Chief believes that the creation of more economic zones is the best and fastest economic masterplan that national government must promote.

“Ecozones will be drivers for economic recovery and growth in every region, which will help create jobs for the locals, complete the supply needs in the area, and make enterprises participate in the global supply chain. This will in turn spur socio-economic progress as well as reduce crime and poverty incidence in our regions,” explained the Plaza.

There are currently 37 ecozones in Mindanao, with 17 in Davao, 10 in Northern Mindanao, eight in Soccsksargen, and one each in Zamboanga and Caraga. Of these, 12 are agro-industrial, 15 IT parks, eight manufacturing, and one tourism.

The PEZA Chief added, “We are determined to help leave a legacy for our people in Mindanao and help realize the plans and programs of our beloved President especially in Mindanao that is full of potentials in human capital, natural resources, and available idle lands.”

Hearing the concerns of all parties, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had assured legislative support for next year’s budget and other resolutions put forward at the multi-stakeholder gathering.

“We still have time for these projects to be inserted to our General Appropriations Act so let’s work together to make sure that these projects don’t remain promises or blueprints… Just tell us what you need, my dear friends in MinDA, from the national budget, so we can push these initiatives and move this forward,” said Senator Zubiri.

He added, “We have a few Mindanaoans in the Senate: Senator [Aquilino] Pimentel, Senator [Christopher Lawrence] Go, Senator [Ronald] Dela Rosa, Senator [Emmanuel] Pacquiao as well as yours truly. We are all open to hearing from you and are always ready and willing to help our beloved Mindanao.”

PEZA, PNP sign Implementing Rules and Regulations of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) at Camp Crame for safe ecozones, industrial peace

PEZA, PNP sign Implementing Rules and Regulations of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) at Camp Crame for safe ecozones, industrial peace
February 16, 2021
PEZA, PNP sign Implementing Rules and Regulations of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) at Camp Crame for safe ecozones, industrial peace

PEZA, PNP sign Implementing Rules and Regulations of Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) at Camp Crame for safe ecozones, industrial peace

16 February 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza together with PNP Chief PGen Debold M. Sinas spearheaded the signing of PEZA – PNP Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO) yesterday, February 15, 2021, at the National Headquarters, Camp Crame, Quezon City.
 

The signing of the JIPCO IRR between the PEZA and PNP coincided with the Monday Flag Raising Ceremony, Conferment of Award, and the Memorandum of Agreement Signing between PNP and Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The signing of the IRR between the PEZA and PNP aim to contribute to providing a safe and globally competitive business environment in economic and freeport zones.

Plaza expressed her gratitude to the PNP. She said, “As we aim to sign the IRR, on our part in PEZA, we are grateful to PNP’s leadership in sharing with us our cherished mandate and value to uphold the rights of Filipino workers or labor and uphold environmental laws – two of which are the non-negotiables in PEZA’s regulation of industries.”

The PEZA Chief said, “I am confident that investments in the economic zones will be secured and maintained as it continues to prosper, thus, producing more jobs and generating investments, and economic growth for Filipinos.”

Police Brigadier General Julius Lagiwid thanked PNP Chief Debold Sinas for building alliances between industry players and workers’ communities in partnership based on encouragement and empowerment. Lagiwid said, “Finally, we can collaboratively protect the investment integrity of this country making the Philippines an ideal investment destination in Southeast Asia.”

PEZA-PNP's IRR for MOA on JIPCO

On March 26, 2018, the PEZA and PNP signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the aims to strengthen their partnership for change and development through the creation of the PEZA-PNP JIPCO.

Under the IRR of the MOA between the PEZA and PNP, their partnership is also designed to compose the teams to be assigned, including female police officers to address security issues and cater to complaints, queries, and other concerns in the workplace with the end in view of promoting industrial peace and respect for the rights of labor and management towards achieving a more conducive business environment in the ecozones.

According to the IRR, the PNP is tasked to strictly observe police operational procedures (POP) and respect for human rights shall be paramount at all times.

Likewise, the PEZA Police Force and the PNP will now bring the services of the PNP closer to investors and workers. “We hope to make a more equipped PNP and our workers by undergoing training seminars that are different from the program of instruction adopted by the PNP,” Plaza noted. Such trainings will focus more on police relations, crisis resiliency, civilian resistance, and seminars on IED Awareness, Bomb Threats Management, and other related life-saving techniques. Likewise, the IRR signing will enable the PEZA Police Force to craft and implement crime prevention measures, crisis control, and contingency plans in public and private economic zones.

Plaza also emphasized peace and security as important factors of investment in partnership with PNP. “Through the JIPCO and its IRR, we believe this will harness the ease of doing business (EODB) and help provide a safe and secure ecozone environment for all of the Filipino and foreign workers, locators, and investors in ecozones,” said the PEZA Chief.

Meanwhile, Sinas expressed his gratitude and appreciation to PEZA saying that the signing of the IRR best describes their further efforts in protecting the country particularly to the security of economic zones. “With this IRR, the PNP and PEZA will work together towards sustaining a competitive Philippine export industry and integrated without compromising public safety,” Sinas said.

The PNP Chief also added that the IRR is crafted fair and square for the Filipino people which also possess a strong message to investors most especially abroad that the Philippines is serious in its objectives which PEZA has always upheld through its “one-stop nonstop shop policy”.

With the successful implementation of the JIPCO IRR, PEZA and PNP can fulfill the slogan of JIPCO, “Together, we drive the force of our country’s global competitiveness and foreign preference as an investment destination.”

PEZA opens first Pharma Ecozone in PH to be located in Bulacan

PEZA opens first Pharma Ecozone in PH to be located in Bulacan
February 2, 2021
PEZA opens first Pharma Ecozone in PH to be located in Bulacan

PEZA opens first Pharma Ecozone in PH to be located in Bulacan 

02 February 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has officially granted Philstar Marketing Development, Inc. its registration as a developer/operator of First Bulacan Business Park (FBBP) in Malolos, Bulacan, the first mixed use ecozone in the province following the signing of its Registration Agreement on 27 January 2021, under Certificate of Registration No. EZ-21-01.
 

This comes after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Proclamation No. 1070 granting FBBP the status of a “special economic zone.”

“We thank President Duterte for the proclamation of the First Bulacan Business Park, which is the first pharmaceutical ecozone registered under PEZA,” said Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

First Bulacan Business Park

Envisioned to be the premier ecozone in the country that will host pharmaceutical and support IT companies and export-oriented industries, FBBP plans to adopt smart technologies and renewable source of power inside the ecozone to meet locator companies’ demand for a sustainable business environment.

Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando likewise manifested his full support to the proclamation of the ecozone dubbed as “The Pharma Park of the North.”

Plaza said, “The proclamation of FBBP will surely spur pharma-related research, manufacturing, and tourism in the country especially with the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

More Pharma Ecozones in PH

Citing the importance of the ecozone as an effective strategy to bounce back from the present crisis and to prevent it from happening again, the PEZA Chief noted that “PEZA will continue to do its best to attract investors that will create more pharmaceutical economic zones in the Philippines, making the country self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating in terms of producing our own medicines, medical equipment and supplies.”

In December 2020, Senator Francis Tolentino appealed to the government to speed up the establishment of pharmaceutical manufacturing zones to ensure the public’s access to cheaper medicines and help boost the country’s economic growth. Tolentino proposed Senate Resolution No. 580 urging PEZA and the Board of Investments (BOI) to fast-track its creation of pharmaceutical zones.

The COVID-19 outbreak has reaffirmed the need for investment in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. As such PEZA, in addition to the existing medical tourism guidelines, is looking to explore adding to its new types of ecozones “Biomedical Innovative Center” to host leading Biotechnology Companies and Philippine startups (under Innovative Startup Act), including pharmaceuticals. This will be in the mold of Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster (KBIC), which offers a platform for networking businesses and institutes in their pursuit of innovative collaboration and groundbreaking discoveries in a wide spectrum of medical, pharmaceutical, and biological fields, including medical device and regenerative medical fields.

In support of the business continuity objective of the global pharma companies which are mostly located in Metro Manila, FBBP provides a redundant site outside NCR and in the countryside. FBBP is also in close proximity to the proposed Bulacan International Airport.

PEZA 10-point programs

According to Plaza, “The creation of pharmaceutical economic zones in the country will also be officially included as one of the types of economic zones to be created by PEZA.”

“We aim to promote the creation and development of more world-class economic zones in every province in the country in line with the President’s Administrative Order (AO) No. 18. We are partnering up with the different local government units in harnessing use of lands in their respective jurisdictions by utilizing the overall millions of hectares of idle lands in the country and turning them into green, healthy, and sustainable economic zones,” explained Plaza.

The creation of different types of economic zones is part of PEZA’s 10-point program and special projects which has been adapted by PEZA as its transformational roadmap for the next 25 years.

The transformational roadmap aims to fully industrialize the country and make it an investment haven in Asia. This roadmap seeks not only to promote investments in the economic zones, but more importantly to address, in collaboration with other government bodies, the efficiency factors that expanding multinational companies are considering in making their investment decisions.

PEZA Chief thanks BOC for timely apprehension of smuggled cigarettes NOT allowed among PEZA Importations

PEZA Chief thanks BOC for timely apprehension of smuggled cigarettes NOT allowed among PEZA Importations
January 26, 2021
PEZA Chief thanks BOC for timely apprehension of smuggled cigarettes NOT allowed among PEZA Importations

PEZA Chief thanks BOC for timely apprehension of smuggled cigarettes NOT allowed among PEZA Importations 

26 January 2021 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has lauded on Tuesday the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for the immediate apprehension of shipment containing smuggled cigarettes, which is allegedly bound to a PEZA-registered enterprise in Cavite.
 

On 18 January 2021, the Manila International Container Port (MICP) apprehended two-by-forty-foot (2x40’) containers containing undeclared cigarettes allegedly bound to the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) Special Economic Zone.

The subject shipment was verified to originate from China consigned to YJC International Corporation, a PEZA-registered export enterprise. Based on the Alert Order on the shipments issued by BOC, the shipments were found to contain, among others, 1,599 cartons of cigarettes. As a matter of PEZA procedure, PEZA does not interfere with BOC on actions it may take on shipments of PEZA enterprises that have been issued an Alert Order.

“We thank BOC for their immediate action on their discovery. We at PEZA do not tolerate violations by a PEZA-registered enterprise to custom rules and regulations. PEZA has already issued a show cause order to the said company and is conducting its own investigation on the incident,” said the PEZA Chief.

She added, “We’re now trying to identify how and where these smuggled items not included in the locators’ importation permit were inserted in their containers. We’re also tracing the owner of the vessel and its route where insertions could have occurred.”

“PEZA has been recognized by both the local and international organizations like the US Department of State, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and the Presidential Communications Operations Office for its best practices and performance during the pandemic. We do not want this ‘bad apple’ to taint the integrity of other PEZA enterprises and obliterate the gains and brand of excellence and in the regulatory role of PEZA over the past 25 years,” noted Plaza.

The Director General has already requested for a meeting with BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to tackle the matter and to strengthen cooperation to prevent the occurrence of any further incident similar to this.

Likewise, PEZA is continuously collaborating with BOC for the effective implementation of the Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo (E-TRACC) system for containerized shipments bound to PEZA zones using a risk-based approach.

Under the PEZA law, "Export Processing Zone (EPZ)" is a specialized industrial estate located physically and/or administratively outside customs territory, predominantly oriented to export production. Enterprises located in export processing zones are allowed to import capital equipment and raw materials free from duties, taxes and other import restrictions. Notwithstanding, PEZA and BOC have existing partnerships and cooperation to properly monitor entry of imported products. This collaboration has been proven effective in the long years of PEZA’s existence.

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

PEZA welcomes 2021 with positive investments, performance lauded for maintaining a globally competitive business climate   
January 14, 2021
PEZA welcomes 2021 with positive investments, performance lauded for maintaining a globally competitive business climate   

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.”

PEZA records good performance in investments in 2020 despite pandemic  

PEZA records good performance in investments in 2020 despite pandemic  
December 24, 2020
PEZA records good performance in investments in 2020 despite pandemic  

PEZA records good performance in investments in 2020 despite pandemic  

24 December 2020 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – A top performing Investment Promotion Agency in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) closes the year 2020 on a good note with a continued streak of good performance and with the approvals of new and expansion projects despite the COVID-19 crisis.
 

“Indeed, PEZA is unstoppable by COVID-19. While implementing COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, we continue to serve our mandate and turned challenges into opportunities for the Filipino people and Philippine export-industry,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza. “Amidst the new normal, we will continue to do so in the years to come,” she added.

PEZA Board approvals

For the year 2020, the PEZA board approved 318 applications for new and expansion projects which are projected to generate employment of about 70,000. These applications prove that many investors are still looking to invest in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently reported that, “Only PEZA [among other IPAs] 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.”

PEZA also continues to receive positive impressions from local and international organizations like the IFC World Bank and the US Department of State about its best practices on ecozone management and in its performance. The US Department of State noted that “while the Philippine bureaucracy can be slow and opaque in its processes, the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors. Noteworthy advantages of the Philippine investment landscape include free trade zones, including economic zones, and a large, educated, English-speaking Filipino workforce.”

Performance indicators in 2020

Moreover, showing a silver lining amidst the crisis, PEZA has generated PhP 88.341 Billion of investments with 300 projects registered as of November 2020. PEZA also generated US$ 45.085 Billion of exports and created 1,541,259 jobs as of October 2020. Compared last year, PEZA recorded PhP 109.194 Billion of investments and US$ 45.340 Billion exports, with 496 projects registered and 1,572,510 jobs generated for the same periods.

PEZA Chief said, “While PEZA, like other investment promotion agencies (IPAs), may have experienced a decline in investment applications this 2020 which can be attributed the global pandemic and the localized lockdowns, and also the uncertainties brought by the pending CREATE legislation, PEZA remained on top of its mandate and think out of the box and doing great balancing acts.”

“We continue to be positive about opportunities for the Philippines to attract trust and confidence of investors and business groups whether in terms of new or expansion projects. We at PEZA continue to do our best to attract investors and help our economy bounce back,” noted the PEZA Chief.

Status of Operations

Also with the great balancing acts and business assistance programs implemented by PEZA for its locators to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA registered companies are nearing to get back to its 100% operations by the end of 2020.

For the period of December 7-12, about 2,645 companies or 88% are currently operating with 1,107,826 or 75% of the work force working under various work schemes. By sector, the IT-BPO companies are 84% operational whereas the manufacturing industry is operating at 91%.

For the last two years of the Duterte Administration, PEZA is also gearing to fully adopt its “Transformational Roadmap” containing 10-point programs, which seek to eradicate the country’s import and consumption dependence in order to attain industrialization and total development of the Philippines. The programs also complement Administrative Order (AO) No. 18, which seeks to accelerate rural progress through the creation of economic zones in the countryside, and Executive Order (EO) No. 114 or the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa” Program.

In his speech during the PEZA 25th Anniversary and Investors’ Recognition 2020, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that “Particularly under the leadership of DG Ching Plaza, we laud PEZA for its great balancing acts during this pandemic, which helped export-oriented enterprises to continue participating in the supply and demand in the global market while protecting the safety and welfare of the Filipino employees. With this, our valued enterprises immensely helped to keep the Philippine economy afloat and let thousands of our Filipino workforce retain their jobs.”

“Let us be one in making a competitive and positive business environment, enhance Filipino human capital and natural resources, and attract investors in the country and thereby create jobs and promote economic growth,” said the PEZA Chief.

Outstanding ecozone locators and developers awarded at PEZA Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

Outstanding ecozone locators and developers awarded at PEZA Investors’ Recognition Day 2020
December 14, 2020
Outstanding ecozone locators and developers awarded at PEZA Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

Outstanding ecozone locators and developers awarded at PEZA Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

14 December 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – In line with its 25th Silver Anniversary celebration this year, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has awarded its outstanding registered economic zone locators and developers during the Investors’ Recognition Day last December 10, which was attended by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque as representative of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
 

Roque emphasized the “Duterte administration’s commitment and efforts in shaping a conducive and attractive business and investment environment for our foreign as well as domestic investors.”

“Particularly under the leadership of PEZA Director General Ching Plaza, we laud PEZA for its great balancing acts during this pandemic, which helped export-oriented enterprises to continue participating in the supply and demand in the global market while protecting the safety and welfare of the Filipino employees. With this, our valued enterprises immensely helped to keep the Philippine economy afloat and let thousands of our Filipino workforce retain their jobs,” said Roque.

The Investors' Recognition Day is the biggest annual event in PEZA, that is often celebrated with PEZA's Anniversary. Here, PEZA acknowledges the enormous and very considerable benefits that economic zones with its developers, economic zone locator enterprises, and other stakeholders contribute to the country's socio-economic growth and development.

“This is our way to appreciate our registered business enterprises for their relentless efforts and to boost their confidence in doing business in the Philippines. We thank our registered business enterprises for your continuous help to transform the Philippine economy into a thriving and vibrant one despite the challenges we are facing. PEZA would not be what it is today without all of you,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

Also present in the PEZA Investors’ Day were Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian, CGPA Lt Gen Cirilito Sobejana, and virtually sending message of greeting were Vice President Leni Robredo and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Under the Special Awards category, PEZA also opened three new recognitions for our registered business enterprises. The COVID-19 Response Award is given to PEZA-registered enterprises and economic zone developer – operators who were able to successfully establish policies and programs to avert the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the workplace.

The Green, Healthy, Smart, and Sustainable Ecozone Award on the other hand is given to company for their notable commitment to promoting healthy industrialization and sustainably-designed, smart, and green economic zone.

In recognition of PEZA enterprises’ patronage of locally manufactured/produced raw materials, and support to local suppliers, PEZA shall be giving the Galing Pinas! Award to PEZA-registered Ecozone Export Enterprises that are substantially utilizing locally manufactured/produced and/or grown raw materials in their export product.

List of Awardees

A total of 35 companies and developer-operators have been recognized for the major categories in the PEZA Excellence Awards, while 21 have been awarded under the special awards category.

Below is the list of PEZA’s ecozone locator companies and developer-operators who have showed exemplary performance in 2019 and were recognized during the event:

FOR OUTSTANDING EXPORTER
1. Dyson Electronics Pte. Ltd. – Philippine Branch
2. STMicroelectronics, Inc.
3. B/E Aerospace B.V. – Phil Branch
4. Continental Temic Electronics (Philippines), Inc.
5. Wu Kong (S) Pte., Ltd. (Phil Branch)
6. Sutherland Global Services Philippines, Inc.
7. Concentrix Daksh Services Philippine Corporation

FOR OUTSTANDING EMPLOYER
1. Concentrix Daksh Services Philippine Corporation (2nd Award)
2. Concentrix CVG Philippines, Inc.
3. EMS Components Assembly, Inc.
4. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc.
5. ING Business Shared Services B.V. Branch Office

FOR OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY PROJECT
1. ING Business Shared Services B.V. Branch Office (2nd Award)
2. Reed Elsevier Shared Services (Philippines), Inc.
3. ON Semiconductor Philippines, Inc.
4. Denso Philippines Corporation
5. Telus International Philippines, Inc.
6. WeServ Systems International, Inc.
7. EY GDS (CS) Philippines, Inc.
8. Philippine Sinter Corporation
9. Alliance Mansols, Inc.

FOR OUTSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE
1. Brother Industries (Philippines), Inc. (2nd Award)
2. Canon Business Machines (Philippines) Inc.
3. Analog Devices Gen. Trias, Inc.
4. Samsung Electro-Mechanics Philippines, Corp.
5. Denso Ten Philippines Corporation

ELEVATION TO THE HALL OF FAME
1. JAE Philippines, Inc.
2014, 2017, and 2019 Outstanding Employer Award
2. PetroSolar Corporation
2017, 2018, 2019 Outstanding Community Projects Award
3. Techlog Center Philippines
2017, 2018, 2019 Outstanding Community Projects Award
4. Ibiden Philippines, Inc.
2016, 2017, and 2019 Outstanding Community Projects Award
5. Epson Precision (Philippines), Inc.
2008, 2011, and 2019 Outstanding Environmental Performance Award
6. Astec Power Philippines
2014, 2017, and 2019 Outstanding Environmental Performance Award
7. Laguna Auto-Parts Manufacturing Corporation
2007, 2011, and 2019 Outstanding Environmental Performance Award

BILLIONAIRES AWARD
1. TI (Philippines), Inc.
2. Toshiba Information Equipment (Phils.), Inc.

SPECIAL CATEGORY
A. GREEN, HEALTHY, SMART, SUSTAINABLE ECOZONE AWARD
1. First Philippine Industrial Park
2. Science Park of the Philippines, Inc.

B. GALING PINAS! SPECIAL CITATION FOR LOCAL PURCHASES
1. Cargill Oil Mills Philippines, Inc.
2. House Technology Industries Pte. Ltd.
3. Nidec Philippines Corporation
4. Pilipinas Kao, Inc.
5. Canon Business Machines (Philippines), Inc.
6. EPSON Precision Philippines, Inc.
7. Wu Kong (S) Pte., Ltd. (Phil Branch)

C. COVID-19 RESPONSE AWARD
1. Analog Devices Gen. Trias, Inc.
2. Enomoto Philippine Manufacturing Incorporated
3. Knowles Electronics Philippines Corporation
4. Lexmark Research and Development Corporation
5. Maxim Philippines Operating Corporation
6. Philippine Manufacturing Co. of Murata Inc.
7. Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation
8. Taiyo Yuden (Philippines), Inc.
9. Brother Industries Philippines
10. EMS Group
11. EPSON Precision Philippines, Inc
12. Techlog Center Philippines

“I thank our investors for your continued trust and support for the local businesses that fuel our economy. May your confidence in the country never cease despite all the uncertainties surrounding us,” expressed Senate President Vicente Sotto III during his video message.

PEZA performance

Aside from the awarding, Director General Plaza also delivered her State of PEZA Address (SOPA) wherein she reported the Authority’s performance in the last 25 years and during this time of pandemic.

“Truly, the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic and the changes in the legislation affected us in the last years. Nevertheless, we continue our streak of good performance little-by-little,” remarked the PEZA Chief.

According to Plaza, “PEZA now manages 410 economic zones with a total of 4,605 locator companies being housed in the zones. The investments of these 4,605 locator companies in the zones have accumulated a whopping total of PhP 3.9 trillion during the last 25 years. Also, the export revenues of locator companies in the zones have reached US$ 839 billion and counting.”

The recent study of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also revealed 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.”

As noted by Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo in her video message, “PEZA has done such a good job in taking care of our industry associations and foreign chambers that many of our partners are still investing here in our country and our people. Your contributions to the economy are undeniable.”

PEZA Balancing Acts

The PEZA Chief also reported PEZA’s great balancing acts which helped protect the health and welfare of our Filipino employees and the Philippine economy as a whole.

According to Plaza, “Our registered companies helped to keep the Philippine economy afloat and let thousands of our Filipino workforce retain their jobs. Without them, we might have been in a graver situation than we are now.”

Senator Sotto likewise applauded PEZA for its balancing acts. “With your efforts, our economy will be able to hurdle the challenges brought about by [the COVID-19] pandemic,” said Sotto.

“PEZA has lived 25 wonderful years. And as we proceed to the next 25 years of growing, improving, and fighting together, I pray that we all keep the same indomitable spirit and culture of excellence that set us apart from the rest (…) we also pray that amidst seeming difficult circumstances, PEZA can be a light and a symbol of hope for the country and for our fellow Filipinos,” stated Plaza.

The December 10 celebration also marked the official inauguration of the new PEZA office at 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the Double Dragon Meridian Park, Corner Macapagal Avenue & EDSA Extension, Bay Area, Pasay.

PEZA’s performance under Duterte administration

Secretary Harry Roque also discussed in his keynote speech that “Under the Duterte administration, PEZA recorded a total of PhP 680.8 billion investments, a very significant portion of which comes from the development of new economic zones all over the country. PEZA was also able to create a total of 248,399 direct jobs and generate a total of US$ 157.858 Billion exports from July 2016 to June 2019 for the first three years of the Duterte administration.”

“We thank you for your continuous efforts to help the Government keep and attract foreign investments in the country and in promoting the creation of special economic zones especially in the countryside that will become economic drivers in every region,” he said.

He conveyed that this will greatly support Administrative Order No. 18, “Accelerating Rural Progress Through Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside,” and Executive No. 114 or the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program.

Saying that COVID cannot stop us from doing our best for our country and our fellowmen, Roque assured investor that the Government, with the help of PEZA and other agencies, are doing everything revive and maintain an enabling and most conducive environment for investment in the years to come.

“We will bounce back from this crisis stronger than ever. At this point, on behalf of the Philippine government, let me reiterate our full and abiding support to you, our valued investors and to PEZA management and programs that promote ‘Galing Pinas, Galing Pinas’ – Made in the Philippines are the best, the Philippines is best to invest in,” he said.

State of PEZA Address and awarding of top ecozone developer-operators and locator companies to be held on Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

State of PEZA Address and awarding of top ecozone developer-operators and locator companies to be held on Investors’ Recognition Day 2020
December 4, 2020
State of PEZA Address and awarding of top ecozone developer-operators and locator companies to be held on Investors’ Recognition Day 2020

State of PEZA Address and awarding of top ecozone developer-operators and locator companies to be held on Investors’ Recognition Day 2020 

04 December 2020 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – As the top export-oriented investment promotion agency (IPA) in the country continues its 25th Anniversary celebration this 2020, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is preparing to conduct the Investors’ Recognition Day to recognize the outstanding economic zone locator companies and developer operators in the annual PEZA Excellence Awards this coming December 10.
 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said, “Aside from the State of PEZA Address (SOPA) that I will deliver on the Investors’ Day, I am pleased to share that PEZA continues to give award and recognition to registered business enterprises in economic zones. They bring to the country investments that generate export-income for the country, that create jobs for thousands of Filipinos, and that help improve the living conditions of our fellowmen and attain the total development of the country.”

"This is our way to appreciate their relentless efforts and to boost their confidence in doing business in the Philippines,” added Plaza.

A total of 35 export-oriented companies will be given under the following award categories: Outstanding Exporter Award; Outstanding Employer Award; Outstanding Community Project; Outstanding Environmental Performers Award; Hall of Fame; and the Billionaires Award.

Recognitions

The Outstanding Exporter Award is given to locators that accomplished outstanding performance in exports and is a good corporate citizen while the Outstanding Employer Award is given to those companies that generated the most number of jobs, held high regard for the welfare of its workers, and maintained harmony between labor and management.

For the Outstanding Community Project Award, locators or developers that has strengthened its relationship with the community through meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects like scholarship programs, free medical and dental services, tree planting, gift giving, or similar pro-community projects will be recognized.

The Outstanding Environmental Performers Award is given to a locator that has institutionalized its environmental management system, complied with environmental regulations, and fostered partnership between the government and the industry in caring for the environment while simultaneously sustaining economic growth.

Meanwhile, the Hall of Fame Award is awarded to three-time winners of the Outstanding Exporter, Outstanding Employer, Outstanding Community Project and Outstanding Environmental Performer Awards.

Further, the Billionaires Award is given to a company that exports at least US$2.5 Billion in any given year.

New PEZA Award categories in 2020

Aside from these awards, PEZA also recently opened this year three new awards under the Special Awards category for its registered companies to vie for.

Open to all locators and ecozone developers-operators, the COVID-19 Response Award seeks to recognize registered business enterprises who were able to successfully establish policies and programs to avert the spread of the virus in the workplace.

“It is a must that we recognize the efforts of our registered companies to combat the effect of this pandemic while they strive maintain operations and comply to the global supply and demand,” noted the PEZA Chief.

These companies must be able to provide proof of collaboration between employers, supervisors and workers in the workplace safety and health committees to promote and improve response and preparedness for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, PEZA has come up with the Green, Healthy, Smart and Sustainable Ecozones Award which will be given to ecozone developers who are committed to and are qualified on the following:

1) the promotion of healthy industrialization through designing ecozones and townships that are geared towards sustainability and a decarbonized future;

2) adoption of technologies and methodologies which make ecozone operations more efficient; and

3) fostering partnership between government and the industry in making ecozones more attractive to global leaders in the manufacturing and IT sector, thereby enabling PEZA to achieve its vision as primary catalyst for sound and balanced development.

This award is in line with PEZA’s new policy to transform its ecozones into green, healthy, sustainable, safe, and smart ecozones.

In recognition of PEZA enterprises’ patronage of locally manufactured/produced raw materials, and support to local suppliers, PEZA shall be giving the Galing Pinas! Award to PEZA-registered Ecozone Export Enterprises that are substantially utilizing locally manufactured/produced and/or grown raw materials in their export product.

Under its criteria, Deputy Director General for Operations Ms. Mary Harriet Abordo explained that “Sourcing products locally is an important step towards sustainable business practices. It supports the local economy and foster community development. Local sourcing can boost economic growth while providing opportunities to reduce negative environmental impact. By sourcing locally, companies create linkages with domestic suppliers upstream in their value chain.”

The awarding ceremony will be held on 10 December 2020, 2:00 PM at the PEZA Auditorium with only limited honorees and guests present in line with the COVID-19 guidelines on mass gathering.

The Investors’ Recognition Day 2020 will also be streamed live on PEZA’s official social media accounts through this link: bit.ly/PEZAAwards2020

PEZA’s great balancing acts on COVID-19 recognized in the 2020 FOI Awards 

PEZA’s great balancing acts on COVID-19 recognized in the 2020 FOI Awards 
December 1, 2020
PEZA’s great balancing acts on COVID-19 recognized in the 2020 FOI Awards 

PEZA’s great balancing acts on COVID-19 recognized in the 2020 FOI Awards 

01 December 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) has recently been awarded the ‘Special Citation to Government Agencies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic’ in the recent Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards for its great ‘balancing acts’.
 

“Launched in 2017 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order No. 2 or the Freedom of Information Act in 2016, the FOI Awards is an annual event being facilitated by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). The awards being given by the Philippine Government aims to recognize those government agencies and organizations who have helped in promoting open, transparent, and accountable governance.

Special Citation to Government Agencies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

The Special Citation is conferred to government agencies for its untiring dedication and commitment to the Freedom of Information Program during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping their channels of information open and active to the public.

According to PCOO, its criteria for awarding PEZA is that “despite the advisories they issued, PEZA continuously responded to the FOI requests lodged during the ECQ [period].”

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has expressed gratitude for the award, saying “We thank the PCOO for the recognition of PEZA’s hard work, diligence, and industriousness in serving and quality of responsiveness to our clients, investors, and the general public during this pandemic.”

“PEZA registered enterprises immensely contribute to the economy that is why it is essential to implement great balancing acts to protect the health, welfare, and jobs of workers and assist the continuous operations of its economic zones and export companies especially this time of pandemic,” noted the PEZA Chief.

Plaza described that PEZA has improved its promotions and public relations efforts to ensure sharing of relevant information on ecozone operations in traditional and social media and that the investment promotion through online platforms continue amidst the pandemic.

Assisting enterprises amidst pandemic

For the period of November 2-6, 2020, PEZA has reported that 2,627 registered companies have continued operating with 1,048,749 employees working under various work arrangements. The IT-BPO and Manufacturing sectors are operating at 84% and 89% respectively.

Plaza said, “PEZA is thankful for its locator companies and ecozone operators for their cooperation and compliance to health and safety measures and protocols that allowed the Philippine economy stay afloat.”

“We will continue to do our best to perform our mandate, keep and even attract more investors to the country, and assist and contribute to our economy. Let us work together to bounce back from this crisis stronger than ever,” quipped the Director General.
For three consecutive years, PEZA has been a recipient of the FOI Awards. Aside from this recognition, the Authority has also been recognized as the ‘Agency with Most Number of Requests’ in the 2018 and 2019 FOI Awards.

PEZA to launch TIGER Course on taxation and incentives for export-oriented companies and ecozone developers

PEZA to launch TIGER Course on taxation and incentives for export-oriented companies and ecozone developers
November 26, 2021
PEZA to launch TIGER Course on taxation and incentives for export-oriented companies and ecozone developers

PEZA to launch TIGER Course on taxation and incentives for export-oriented companies and ecozone developers

25 November 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is set to kick-off a free webinar course dubbed as “Taxation and Governance for Exporters Review” (TIGER) Course that is dedicated for existing and even interested PEZA locator companies and ecozone developers on Thursday, November 26.
 

“Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA continue to take initiatives to assist existing and even future enterprises in ecozones nationwide in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. As we approach yearend of 2020, we believe it is still crucial to conduct training on webinar platforms so that education and learning about PEZA’s tax incentives and corporate taxation continue and help businesses,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Wednesday.

The PEZA Chief announced that beginning November 26, “The TIGER Course is a free webinar course that will tackle tax incentives and taxation for ecozone locators and exporters and will be launched as one of the programs of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute.”

The TIGER Course seeks to refresh our locator companies and economic zone developers of essential information about the ongoing fiscal policy reform initiated by the government for the export-oriented industries in the Philippines and the status quo rules and regulations on taxes and incentives.

“As we aim for TIGER Course to be an annual webinar course provided by PEZA, we envision this as a platform for various government agency partners of PEZA like the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to be able to brief investors of the different processes, existing policies, and various requirements for export-oriented industries and enterprises,” said Plaza.

TIGER Course Webinar Schedule

The launching on November 26 will be graced by Makati Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Emelita Apostol Alvarez, PMA Accounting Services and Taxation Consulting Co. President Gina R. Mandigma, Ms. Cheryl Edline C. Ong, Partner, Business Tax Services of SGV & Co. Head Cebu Office, Mr. Santhanakrishnan Vaidiswaran, President and General Manager of TMX Philippines Inc and President MEPZCEM Chamber Inc., and Mr. Felix Taguliam, the President of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Afterwards, the TIGER Course is scheduled to have three (3) sessions and will run from November 27 until December 09, 2020.

For the first session on November 27, Taxation Law and Tax Risk Assessment will be discussed and it will give the general overview/background on taxation as well as the digital solutions in financial management and tax risk management processes.

The second session, which will be held on December 3-4, the topic would revolve around Fiscal Incentives and Risk Control. Here, the rules of the BIR and BOC on Freeport shipments will be discussed as well as the updates on the BOC issuances on importations. In addition to this, the tax rules and requirements for foreign expatriates and the Tax Amnesty Law.

Further, Financial Reporting Standards Review will be the topic for the third and final session on December 9 wherein PEZA officials will discuss including the reportorial requirements.

Plaza said, “While we promote ease of doing business, we in PEZA also urge responsible entrepreneurship in a way that businesses and proprietors must keep up with and be diligent about rules and regulations including on taxation and incentives. TIGER Course is part of our services to assist our locators and help Philippine government in its efforts for fiscal governance.”

“We hope the TIGER Course will be able to help our investors become more aware regarding our taxation laws, the risks to manage, and possible improvements that will best attract more investors to the country,” posited by the Director General.

PEZA extends COVID-19 assistance and reprieves to its registered enterprises, BIR approves the move 

PEZA extends COVID-19 assistance and reprieves to its registered enterprises, BIR approves the move 
November 17, 2020
PEZA extends COVID-19 assistance and reprieves to its registered enterprises, BIR approves the move 

PEZA extends COVID-19 assistance and reprieves to its registered enterprises, BIR approves the move 

17 November 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – While COVID-19 pandemic continues towards the end of year 2020, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has extended its assistance and reprieves to its registered business enterprises (RBEs) cushion the perilous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

PEZA Director General Plaza said on Monday, “This is a great way to help our RBEs who, despite being hit by the pandemic, they are the ones keeping our economy afloat. With sound economic and legal policies, we must continue to do our best to keep these companies in our country despite the present uncertainties.”

“Since the start of the lockdown in March in the country, PEZA’s registered companies have implemented strict COVID-19 measures to protect the health and safety of the Filipino workforce while continuing to contribute in the global supply and demand,” Plaza noted.

Assistance and Reprieves

PEZA Memorandum Circular no. 2020-011 titled “PEZA assistance to Ecozone IT Enterprises in Responding to COVID-19”, which was extended under MC No. 2020-040 dated 31 July 2020, has been further extended until 31 December 2020, subject to guidelines and requirements that PEZA will issue for WFH and other work arrangements outside PEZA-registered IT Centers.

The said memo circular aims to further assist PEZA Ecozone IT Enterprises in their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic and to facilitate the continued ease in movement of their IT equipment and other assets for the purpose of setting up work-from-home (WFH) operations and other work arrangements outside their PEZA-registered IT Center facilities.

The PEZA Board has also approved on October 2 the extension of the effectivity of the 90% limit on the WFH arrangement until 12 September 2021.

Moreover, the PEZA Board approved the consideration of the following as direct costs for RBEs entitled to the 5% GIT incentive:

1. Cost of temporary (near-site) housing/accommodations to employees of the enterprise, including accommodations inside the facility of the enterprise for stay-in employees;
2. Cost for shuttle services for the employees;
3. Port charges in MICP, Port of Manila, and NAIA arising from delays in the release of shipments at the said ports immediately after the implementation of the ECQ in NCR;
4. Costs for disinfecting conducted by the company to its work area/facility/premises, and cost of PPEs and sanitation requirements; and
5. COVID tests for their employees.

However, this assistance or consideration is only applicable for the COVID-19 quarantine period of ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ and it is without prejudice to the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) inherent power to audit the expenses.

BIR response to PEZA

In support of the move, the BIR has okayed PEZA’s assistance to the RBEs that are enjoying the 5% gross income tax (GIT) incentive.

In BIR’s letter response to PEZA dated 27 October 2020, it has noted that “If the enumerated expense can be directly attributed in providing the PEZA-registered services, then it should be treated as direct cost, otherwise, it is non-deductible.”

For the cost of temporary housing/accommodation to PEZA RBEs’ employees as well as the shuttle services, BIR said “only the cost of temporary accommodation [and for shuttle services] for Operations and Maintenance personnel may be considered as direct cost, as they are the employees whose work can directly be attributed to the PEZA-registered services.”

BIR also noted that the port charges may be considered direct costs pursuant to Section 27 (a) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997. They have stated that “Port charges arising from delays in the release of shipments only for finished goods or raw materials used in providing the PEZA-registered services.”

Further, the “cost for disinfecting and cost for PPEs and sanitation requirements, for as long as incurred for Operations and Maintenance personnel and the work area/facility/premises which such personnel work in, may be considered direct costs.”

As for the COVID tests however, BIR has found that “It is not directly related to the rendition of its registered service, since the enterprise can still carry on its PEZA-registered services without having to incur cost for the COVID-19. Hence, unless it can be proven that such COVID tests are directly related to the registered services, then they should be classified as operating expenses and must be disallowed as a direct cost.”

On her part, PEZA Director General expressed gratitude to the BIR for supporting PEZA’s initiative to assist its locator companies that help to keep the Philippine economy afloat and keep jobs of thousands of Filipinos in various ecozone industries.

“Let us do our best to keep and even attract foreign direct investors to our country. Let us be one in making a competitive and positive business environment in order to attain our goal of making the Philippines an investment haven in Asia,” Plaza noted.

House Speaker Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts, listens to concerns of investors

House Speaker Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts, listens to concerns of investors
October 22, 2020
House Speaker Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts, listens to concerns of investors

House Speaker Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts, listens to concerns of investors

22 October 2020 (Thursday)
 

Pasay City – The new House Speaker Congressman Lord Allan Jay Velasco has lauded and expressed support to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) programs and efforts to keep and attract investors to the Philippines amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

On Tuesday, PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has welcomed House Speaker Velasco with Bataan Province Representative Jose Enrique “Joet” Garcia III to the agency’s new office at Double Dragon Center WEST Bldg. in Pasay.

“PEZA is grateful that the very humble and esteemed new House Speaker himself visited PEZA’s new office to dialogue with us and listen to stakeholders about the export-industry which have been adversely hit by the COVID-imposed lockdowns and global crisis the halted exports and investments, thus affecting jobs,” said Plaza.

“He is such a humble, hands on, and down-to-earth House Speaker who even went out of his way to visit us in PEZA to discuss with us how we can assist and support our investors during these trying times and to even continue to attract new investors to the country,” said Plaza.

Velasco lauds PEZA's balancing acts

During the dialogue, the PEZA Chief presented PEZA’s performance under the Duterte administration, the great balancing acts during the pandemic where PEZA is able to continue operations of majority of ecozones, and the export-industry continue to give jobs to thousands of Filipinos.

“COVID-19 cannot stop us in PEZA to act locally and think globally, to give jobs and hope to many Filipinos, and keep the competitiveness of Philippine investments. We are glad for the support we receive on this mission to help our economy survive and keep jobs, investments, and export incomes,” said Plaza.

“PEZA and its registered-enterprises or companies immensely contribute to the economy with majority of its companies operational and its employees working amidst the COVID-19 crisis. We are glad that our esteemed lawmakers like the House Speaker show openness to listen to the concerns and role of our export-industry and ecozones” she said.

Based on the latest report from PEZA ecozones about its locator companies’ operations for the period of September 21-26, 2020, 87% of the total PEZA registered companies in different types of ecozones are operational. Such 87% is constituted by 2,620 of companies nationwide regulated by PEZA. Breaking down this numbers, PEZA recorded that IT/BPO sector is 83% operational, while manufacturing is 90% operational.

Velasco supports role of PEZA in AO No. 18 to spread development

Plaza also discussed with the House Speaker PEZA’s new concept in creating different types of economic zones to fully implement President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 18, which mandates the creation of special economic zones in the countryside.

According to the Director General, “PEZA’s economic zones have modeled to bring peace, prosperity, lowered poverty and crime incidence with LGU hosts’ increase their income and classification and their constituents provided with jobs and better lives.”

The largest export-oriented Investment Promotion Agency in the country that regulates ecozones, PEZA is renowned for its best practices for providing a better business environment due to its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.

PEZA’s outstanding performance over the years has likewise been continuously recognized globally including the IFC World Bank as having the “best practice among the economic zones worldwide.”

Meanwhile, the recent US Department of State 2020 Investment Climate Statement made the specific statement that the “While the Philippine bureaucracy can be slow and opaque in its processes, the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

It further said that, “PEZA administrators have earned a reputation for maintaining a clear and predictable investment environment within the zones of their authority.”

Moreover, the cost and benefit analysis (CBA) study conducted by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has vindicated PEZA’s globally-competitive, tried and tested tax incentives that it indeed generates more investments and contribution to the economy.

Velasco and Garcia both supported PEZA’s plans and programs and pledged to extend help in ways they can.

PEZA will soon conduct another roundtable discussion with House Speaker Velasco together with the industry associations, foreign chambers, and other PEZA stakeholders to come up with a contingency plan for the future of foreign direct investments in the country and the spreading of special ecozones to the countryside, jobs, and technologies to attain the total development of the country and make the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia.

“We need to fully industrialize the country to realize President Duterte’s Ambisyon Natin 2024, that every Filipino will have jobs, and Filipinos will be in the middle state of our society,” noted Plaza.

PEZA, industries call for two separate regimes of tax incentive for export and for domestic businesses amidst pandemic and CREATE bill passage

PEZA, industries call for two separate regimes of tax incentive for export and for domestic businesses amidst pandemic and CREATE bill passage
October 12, 2020
PEZA, industries call for two separate regimes of tax incentive for export and for domestic businesses amidst pandemic and CREATE bill passage

PEZA, industries call for two separate regimes of tax incentive for export and for domestic businesses amidst pandemic and CREATE bill passage

12 October 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – As the Philippines ranked first in ASEAN in most COVID-19 cases since August despite seven months of lockdowns and the economy grapples with job losses and tough competition for investments in the pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority calls on the Senate to consider instead two separate regimes of tax incentives for export and for domestic market enterprises.
 

“The Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill which aims to rationalize fiscal incentives for both export and domestic companies should instead be focused on applying only to domestic market,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Monday as Senate deliberates the bill as a top agenda.

Plaza said that “We are still in the state of calamity. Philippine economy is suffering with uncertainties that are created by the COVID-19 global crisis and the uncertainties of the CREATE bill. Passage of CREATE bill is in bad timing. Its passage is insensitive with the companies struggling to operate, keep jobs, and that contribute to keep the economy afloat. Also it will badly affect competition for new investments in our export industry.”

The PEZA Chief explained that “It is detrimental strategy to apply new tax incentives regime to export-based companies when in fact PEZA’s tax incentives is globally-competitive, tried, and tested for attracting investments that other countries try to compete with.”

“Moreover, as shown in the recent NEDA’s initial key findings from cost benefit analysis (CBA) on tax incentives from 2016 to 2018, PEZA is vindicated with the finding that its tax incentives indeed generate more investments and contribution to the economy,” she added.

CREATE bill aims to rationalize fiscal incentives uniformly both to export and domestic markets. Meanwhile, aggressively competing ASEAN neighbors had been adjusting both their fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to attract transferring companies and keep existing investors amidst the pandemic where operations of companies are volatile.

Why CREATE bill must apply only to domestic market

The PEZA Chief underlined that “Exporters should not be equated with domestic companies that only produce for the local market. The two are different in context. The exporters compete in a global market and face tougher competition from international competitors, while domestic market only focus on local consumers and few competitor.”

“In terms of tax incentives, it is a crucial factor for export-based investors as part of ease and cost of doing business. Investors compare tax incentives in different countries. However, PEZA’s incentives and brand of service in one-stop-shop and non-stop shop are internationally renowned already and globally-competitive. Hence, there is no need to tinker with it. When we tinker with PEZA’s tried and tested incentives that keep our investors, it threatens companies that can opt to transfer their investments abroad. They can leave and it means job losses for Filipinos,” said Plaza.

“On the other hand, domestic market is the one that needs to experience tax incentives and be incentivized with their market. In addition, establishing or changing their tax incentives won’t be large threat to the economy because they don’t necessarily leave the country and transfer capital,” explained Plaza.

The country needs export income as part of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to generate investments and jobs.

Exporters need separate fiscal incentives

Further explaining the special context for ecozones, the PEZA Chief said that “Ecozone investors under PEZA, Subic, Clark, AFAB and other IPAs are export-oriented and therefore must be provided special fiscal and investment incentives as they compete in the international market.”

“As efficiency-seeking investors, they consider incentives as compelling factor in their decision to locate in a certain country including cost of doing business and labor productivity. Ecozone locators in particular rely on fiscal incentives to compensate for high cost of doing business and weak supply chain in the Philippines, and so they can be viable with their export operations in the country,” she added.

“CREATE bill is more advantageous to domestic enterprises with their market or resource-seeking investments, but the bill will be detrimental to export enterprises given their efficiency-seeking investments,” Plaza said.

At the global context, ecozones and freeports worldwide compete to offer the best fiscal incentives to be able to attract FDI and generate export revenues for their government. “We are not the only game in town as we vie for FDI against our ASEAN neighbors, and where ecozones as a development strategy continue to be the trend worldwide particularly in Asia,” the PEZA Chief said.

In terms of Income Tax Holiday (ITH) alone as a common fiscal incentive for FDI attraction, the Philippines has the shortest term of 4- 8 years ITH compared to the 5- 15 years ITH among ASEAN top five countries. Vietnam can offer up to 40 years of ITH, while Dubai's ITH period ranges from 15- 50 years.

“We have more developed ASEAN neighbors that have better quality of infrastructure, ease of doing business and overall competitiveness than the Philippines. While our incentives still keep our investors, we must realize that it becomes imperative that the government provides for a different and even enhanced incentives for export-oriented FDI in order for the country to be competitive as an investment destination in the region,” Plaza remarked.

Status quo tax incentives for exporters

The PEZA Chief also appealed that keeping the status quo of tax incentives for exporting companies is being sensitive to both investors and to Filipinos’ need for jobs and livelihood.

Meanwhile, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) in their letter dated 28 May 2020 to Senator Pia Cayetano, head of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, requested that existing investors and locators in economic zones be given “a five (5) year deferment of any changes to current incentives to counterbalance serious uncertainties brought about by the health crisis and give ample time to recoup losses.”

IBPAP President Rey Untal described it as a much-needed deferment and after which the IT and BPO industry is open to proceed with the sunset provisions.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto also pointed out that even when the passage of the bill will end the agonizing uncertainty for investors, they must be very careful with its negative implications. “If we make a mistake and pass a bad law on rationalizing fiscal incentives, we will miss the boat … We might be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs as well in the process,” said Recto.

Likewise, Senator Richard Gordon called for caution in tinkering around with something that is not broken especially on rationalizing incentives given by IPAs. “It may not be the right time to do this. Let us take a step back and look at our situation because COVID is going to exacerbate it. Let us not tinker around too much with what is working because we might end up in a bigger abyss,” he said.

Export companies retain jobs amidst job losses in pandemic

According to DOLE report, close to 100,000 workers in the country were laid off in the first semester of 2020 due to the pandemic. The figure is a fraction of the 4.9 million who lost their jobs in April.

“Despite the difficult times in COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA has maintained its operations of registered-companies through its ‘balancing acts.’ We should be sensitive and support also export-companies that keep the jobs of Filipinos,” said Plaza.

“PEZA has implemented an effective ‘balancing acts’ to address both the dangers and opportunities brought by the COVID-19 crisis. Now, 80%-90% of its 4,587 locator companies in its 408 ecozones continue to operate with implementation of strict health and safety protocols, ensuring the welfare of more than one million employees still working.”

Bringing pride and hope amidst the pandemic, the PEZA Chief thanked the US Department of State for recognizing PEZA that regulates and operates special economic zones as providing a better business environment due to its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.

In its official 2020 Investment Climate Statements communicated through the Philippine Embassy in the US and to the Department of Trade and Industry, the US Department of State made the specific statement that the “While the Philippine bureaucracy can be slow and opaque in its processes, the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

PEZA Chief’s fourth year leadership of PH ecozones marked with milestones, great balancing acts in COVID-19 pandemic 

PEZA Chief’s fourth year leadership of PH ecozones marked with milestones, great balancing acts in COVID-19 pandemic 
October 12, 2020
PEZA Chief’s fourth year leadership of PH ecozones marked with milestones, great balancing acts in COVID-19 pandemic 

PEZA Chief’s fourth year leadership of PH ecozones marked with milestones, great balancing acts in COVID-19 pandemic 

12 October 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – A seasoned leader with experiences in Congress, military, and local government amongst others, BGen Charito “Ching” B Plaza MNSA, PhD has proven again her leadership prowess as she reached her fourth year leading the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) amidst the pandemic and implementing great balancing acts in managing the top investment promotion agency in the country.
 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead PEZA to greater heights and despite the pandemic. One’s leadership is tested in this pandemic and I humbly say I’m able to withstand the odds based on faith and rational and sound initiatives. At the heart of my hard work in PEZA is keeping and generating jobs for Filipinos, investments, and export income that boost Philippine economy,” said Plaza.

As the PEZA Chief, Plaza initiated major policy reforms particularly in revolutionizing the PEZA towards the goal of making the Philippine ecozones as economic driver & global contributor to supply chain.

Plaza is the second presidential appointee to the position of Director General since PEZA’s creation in 1995 by virtue of Republic Act No. 7916. Duterte appointed Plaza as PEZA Chief and she assumed the role beginning October 4, 2016. She is the co-author of Republic Act No. 7916 also known as “The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995” during her time as Congresswoman. Plaza has reached the 25th founding anniversary of the agency.

Since 2016 from the time of Plaza’s appointment to the present, PEZA recorded a total of 680.8 billion pesos of investments, a very significant portion of which comes from the development of new economic zones all over the country

Great Balancing Acts, Proven Leadership amidst Pandemic

In her time as PEZA Chief, Plaza is managing 408 economic zones and 4,587 registered companies and enterprises nationwide and her leadership helped to keep operations and performance of ecozones and to keep thousands of jobs amidst the seventh month of quarantines or lockdowns in the country.

Plaza said “PEZA has done positive changes and performance since 2016 even towards this 2020 despite that Philippines economy is coping with the pandemic. Early in March 2020, PEZA was avante-guard in implementing great balancing acts in order to keep operations of hundreds of ecozones that directly employ 1.6 million Filipinos.”

Based on the latest report from PEZA ecozone about the operations for the period of September 21-26, 2020, 87% of the total PEZA registered companies in different types of ecozones are operational. Such 87% is constituted by 2,620 of companies nationwide regulated by PEZA. Breaking down this numbers, PEZA recorded that IT/BPO sector is 83% operational, while manufacturing is 90% operational.

Nationwide, Luzon records that 86% or 2,193 out of its total 2,560 companies have already resumed operations. The Visayas is 94% operational or 384 out of its total 409 companies are operating. Mindanao is 90% operational which means that 43 out of its total 48 companies are also already operational.

Despite reported positive cases in some areas of some ecozones, there were only three deaths reported from PEZA registered ecozones nationwide.

“Beyond the pandemic, PEZA’s goal is to leave a legacy to Philippine investments and regions nationwide as we reach the last two years of the Duterte administration,” said Plaza.

“We will leave a legacy that is implementable within the last two years of the Duterte administration. This includes rebuilding the PEZA Pasay building and the Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS) that are important as PEZA spreads services to regions nationwide. Unfortunately, the CPCS has not been finalized by the previous administration that affected the morale and compensation of long-time workers in PEZA,” said Plaza.

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

“We are adopting the Thinking Globally, Acting Locally campaign. The reason for this is exports compete in a global market while export incomes help generate dollar income to the national economy. In relation to this, ecozones are the key economic drivers to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) that will pave the way for the goal of building an export and production-driven economy—moving beyond a consumption and import-driven economy,” said Plaza.

“Achieving that goal of export and production-driven economy needs that efficiency factors for investments to be addressed. That is why PEZA takes the initiative of implementing the Development Outreach for Labor and Livelihood Advancement of Resources (DOLLAR) program,” Plaza added.

DOLLAR program aims to enhance the human capital, resources, and idle lands in the country. It is specifically in support to the Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 signed by President Duterte which is about “Accelerating Rural Progress through the Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside”.

Thinking globally, Plaza envisions “Philippines as active contributor to the global supply chain as top performer of exports from different types of ecozones.” In this view, the PEZA Chief underlined the importance of empowering domestic enterprises, LGUs, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and building partnerships with private sector to prepare the country to more diversified investments.

Plaza also built partnerships with SUCs in developing their hectares of idle lands into Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Park that is haven for new technology transfer and making the country as research and development and education center in Asia.

Meanwhile, Plaza also initiated the Ka-PIPPs which means “PEZA Investment Promotions Partnerships” program, which partners with various agencies and organizations who voluntarily support investment promotions and business matchings for the country.

“Part of being investment haven is that we transform or keep harnessing Filipinos to be world class, multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers in every region of the country who are equipped with knowledge and skills needed amidst new technology and new ecozones. Hence, in DOLLAR program, PEZA facilitates human capital development through skills matching and training and identifying the same through the Special Economic Zone Institute,” said Plaza.

PEZA together with DTI and DOLE launched on July 29 the DOLLAR programs Job Expo and online skills training. In an online platform which can be found in PEZA website, the public, any interested Filipino working age, can search the available jobs which is a total of 69,081 and counting which are located in PEZA registered companies and ecozones. The vacancies are open for all unemployed Filipinos and repatriated OFWs, with jobs for newly graduates and under work-from-home arrangements being offered.

Different types of ecozones as drivers for development

“PEZA is going beyond the traditional perception that ecozones are primarily or merely just the manufacturing or assembling type. In fact, there are different types of ecozones that can be established in idle lands depending on the viability and apt to the natural resources available in the area,” said Plaza.

Plaza explained that “PEZA can do more in partnership with private developers or public ecozones into developing smart cities or townships within cities. We are helping to build metropolitan areas with the presence of economic zones as the key driver for economic development.”

As PEZA reached its 25th year this 2020, Plaza initiated the master-planning or redesigning of the 40-year old public ecozones located in Baguio, Cavite, Angeles, and Mactan. These are old concept of industrial parks. “Now we are turning them into models of green, healthy and sustainable, smoke-free smart industrial cities.”

The different types of ecozones available and potential for developing into new ones are: Halal Hubs and Production Zone; Export Processing Ecozone; IT Parks and Centers; Agro-industrial Ecozone; Agro-Forestry Ecozone; Mineral Processing Economic Zones; Free Trade Zone in International Air/Sea Ports Logistics Parks; Renewable Energy Eco-Industrial Park; Tourism Economic Zones Retirement Homes and Wellness & Naturopathy Villages; Island Cities; Knowledge Innovation and Science Technology (KIST) Parks; and Defense Industrial Complex.

Addressing efficiency factors of investments

Anchored on the mission to fully industrialize the Philippines with different types of ecozones and become an investment haven in Asia, Plaza said that addressing the efficiency factors of investments is important to attract investors and urge expansions to various regions. Efficiency factors include the ease of doing business, cost of doing business, supply chain, power and water rates, labor rates and labor capabilities, digital connectivity, peace and order, and international connectivity and logistics infrastructures, backward and forward linkages among others.

So aside from tax incentives administered by PEZA, Plaza urge whole-of-government support to maintaining and enhancing the Philippine competitiveness for exports and ecozone investments saying that there’s tighter competition among neighboring countries to keep investors and attract new ones.

“In an atmosphere of world recession and export companies looking to consolidate their resources and transferring to other profitable countries with better incentives, we must seek to assure our current investors that the Philippines remains the best investment haven hub in Asia because of our one-stop, non-stop shop, and continuing improvements in the country’s efficiency factors” said Plaza.

AO No. 18: Spreading ecozones to more regions

The PEZA Chief lauds President Duterte’s signing of AO No. 18 last 2019 which ordered the spreading of development of ecozones to the countryside. “This paves the way for utilizing and making idle lands productive and for bringing about the transfer of technology.”

President Duterte reiterated the importance of AO No. 18 during his fifth State of the Nation Address on July 27, 2020.

“Last year, I said that distributing economic and business activities is imperative to our country’s sustained and equitable growth. Today I reiterate that statement. I issued AO No. 18, directing concerned agencies to strengthen the development of Special Economic Zones in areas outside Metro Manila,” said the President.

Plaza underlined that President’s issuance of AO No. 18 evidenced the importance of ecozones in every region and is key for spreading development to the countryside. “LGUs that host the top public ecozones like Cavite, Mactan, and Baguio are very progressive and able to generate employment, multiplier effects, reducing poverty and bringing social progress. Regions with the most number of ecozones are in fact the top ranking regions for the country’s GDP. Host LGUs of ecozones are models of how ecozones bring progress and many LGUs now are hoping to replicate this,” said Plaza,

Before her appointment in PEZA, Plaza has already had a fruitful three consecutive terms in the Congress and with the other government agencies. In 1987, Plaza was elected as a congresswoman of the 1st District of Agusan del Norte, making her the youngest Congress Representative in the Philippine History. During her term, she has made major amendments to the Balikbayan Program and the Tourism Infrastructure Bill.

A Brigadier General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Force, Plaza is also trained on Crisis Resolution and Management at Melbourne, Australia; National and International Security Management at JFK School of Government of Harvard University; Preparing and Managing the Consequences of Terrorism at the Civil Military School of the National Guard Bureau in San Luis Obispo, California; and at the Asia Pacific Center on Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Trainings both domestic and international have honed Plaza as a Crisis-Oriented Leader and a National and International Security Administrator.
 

PEZA launches DOLLAR virtual job fair for CALABARZON in Cavite Economic Zone with 23,644 job openings

PEZA launches DOLLAR virtual job fair for CALABARZON in Cavite Economic Zone with 23,644 job openings
October 9, 2020
PEZA launches DOLLAR virtual job fair for CALABARZON in Cavite Economic Zone with 23,644 job openings

09 October 2020 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Amidst the present challenges that the pandemic has confronted the country with, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, under the leadership of Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza will conduct its second launching for its virtual job fair program under the Development for Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources (Human Resource, Technical Resource, Natural Resource, and Financial Resource) or simply known as the DOLLAR Program today, Friday, particularly in Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ).
 

“COVID-19 cannot stop us from giving hope and opportunities to our fellow Filipinos to find livelihood in ecozones and locator companies that continue to operate amidst the pandemic and observe health and safety measures. We bring good news for job seekers both former OFWs and those laid off during this global crisis,” Plaza stated.

Today, October 9, 2020, the Cavite Economic Zone will be holding its virtual launching at 12:00 noon of the online job skills training. This will be held in the PEZA New Admin Building, at the Cavite Economic Zone, Rosario, Cavite.

“What we want to do is to provide our locator companies with the needed labor force that they are looking for which in turn employs our skilled and hardworking Filipino workers. It is a win-win situation, staying true to our goal to think global and act local,” said the PEZA Chief.

The virtual job fair is powered by Workbank, wherein the available jobs can be accessed 24/7, on their page dedicated to the DOLLAR Program - http://workbank.com/peza.

Companies with active job openings there include Concentrix, Ubiquity, iOPEX, TaskUs, and Alorica among others. As of September 14, 2020, Workbank has had over 12,000+ applicants across all the active jobs posted. The vacancies are open for all unemployed Filipinos and repatriated OFWs, with jobs for newly graduates and under work-from-home arrangements being offered.

Director General Plaza is proud to lead this exemplary program with the support of its locator companies. “Difficult times call for active “Bayanihan” among us and this is one great example that we are proud to be a part of. We thank our locator companies for their active cooperation as we seek to help provide jobs for more Filipinos and in turn contribute to the continuous growth of our economy.”

Last July 29, 2020, PEZA launched the DOLLAR Program particularly its two components on online job fair and online skills training. Together with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Office of Senator Bong Go, the DOLLAR program was launched as a program with the overall goal to enhance the human capital, resources, and idle lands in the country. It is in support also of Administrative Order No. 18 signed by President Duterte which is about “Accelerating Rural Progress through the Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside.”

US Department of State highlights PEZA’s performance and role in creating positive business environment in PH

US Department of State highlights PEZA’s performance and role in creating positive business environment in PH
October 9, 2020
US Department of State highlights PEZA’s performance and role in creating positive business environment in PH

09 October 2020 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has thanked the US Department of State (DoS) for recognizing PEZA that regulates and operates special economic zones as providing a better business environment due to its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.
 

In its official 2020 Investment Climate Statements communicated through the Philippine Embassy in the US and to the Department of Trade and Industry, the US Department of State made the specific statement that the “While the Philippine bureaucracy can be slow and opaque in its processes, the business environment is notably better within the special economic zones, particularly those available for export businesses operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), known for its regulatory transparency, no red-tape policy, and one-stop shop services for investors.”

It further said that, “Noteworthy advantages of the Philippine investment landscape include free trade zones, including economic zones, and a large, educated, English-speaking, and relatively low-cost Filipino workforce.”

“Learning positive feedback and impressions from the DoS and from foreign and local partners and stakeholders about PEZA’s brand of service and performance solidify our position that PEZA is the top export-oriented investment promotion agency bringing investments, export income, and jobs to many Filipinos and making the Philippines as investment hub in Asia,” said Plaza.

She added, “Even during these times filled with the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19 and the future of the CREATE bill, we express our sincerest gratitude to the US Department of State for acknowledging PEZA’s contribution to the Philippine economy and its vital role in making a competitive and positive business environment enticing investors in the country.”

According to the PEZA Chief, “We Filipinos should be proud that PEZA is known worldwide for its best practices and historically one of the leading creators of ecozones. The efficiency and best practices of PEZA over the years is recognized by foreign investors and international institutions such as the IFC World Bank.”

More positive impressions on PEZA

Moreover, PEZA continue to receive positive impressions from business groups and industry associations who testify on PEZA’s efficiency and best practices over the years.

“PEZA enjoys the trust and confidence of companies both from its parent, local and subsidiaries worldwide. PEZA should retain its authority to grant incentives to its registered export-oriented enterprises. The “One Stop Shop for Exporters” approach of PEZA greatly aids exporters in ease of doing business also,” said Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (MEPZCEM Chamber, Inc).

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) also stated “The one-stop-shop nature of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) have been an effective proponent of the country as a premier investment destination.”

According to Mr. Ralph Morales of Texas Instruments Phils., Inc. which is located in Baguio City Economic Zone, “The 40 years’ of operations of Texas Instruments in the Philippines is already more than enough manifestation of how we greatly appreciate and value the services of PEZA.”

AMKOR Technology Phils. President Norberto Viera also added that “If I have my way, I would say that we have to expand PEZA and even convert the whole country into a PEZA zone.”

Retention of PEZA powers and incentives

With these testimonies, PEZA continues to call for the retention of its powers and its tried, tested, and proven to be globally competitive incentives which compensate in the country’s high cost of doing business and lack of efficiency factors.

“An unattractive and changing incentives law will adversely affect investments that will negatively impact on jobs and exports,” said Plaza.

Echoing this, Plaza stated “CREATE is a good bill but it is best to be implemented to domestic enterprises who are the most vulnerable due to the pandemic.”

“Let us not change the rules in the middle of the game especially in this crucial period of the pandemic and world recession. Changing and tinkering of the rules and incentives that are working will destabilize investment and the economy as it would lose the trust and confidence on the stability and attractiveness of the Philippines to FDIs and export enterprises,” explained Plaza.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto also pointed out that even when the passage of the bill will end the agonizing uncertainty for investors, they must be very careful with its negative implications. “If we make a mistake and pass a bad law on rationalizing fiscal incentives, we will miss the boat … We might be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs as well in the process,” said Recto.

Likewise, Senator Richard Gordon called for caution in tinkering around with something that is not broken especially on rationalizing incentives given by IPAs. “It may not be the right time to do this. Let us take a step back and look at our situation because COVID is going to exacerbate it. Let us not tinker around too much with what is working because we might end up in a bigger abyss,” he said. 

You can read the full US Department of State 2020 Investment Climate Statements here: https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-investment-climate-statements/philippines/

NEDA CBA on tax incentives vindicates PEZA’s incentives and performance as top contributor to exports, employment, and poverty-reduction

NEDA CBA on tax incentives vindicates PEZA’s incentives and performance as top contributor to exports, employment, and poverty-reduction
October 7, 2020
NEDA CBA on tax incentives vindicates PEZA’s incentives and performance as top contributor to exports, employment, and poverty-reduction

07 October 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Pasay City – Amidst the pending reform on corporate taxes and tax incentives in the country being pushed in Congress, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza lauds the much-awaited initial findings of the cost benefit analysis (CBA) conducted by National Economic and Development Authority about tax incentives from 2016 to 2018.
 

Plaza underlined the CBA vindicated PEZA’s globally-competitive, tried and tested tax incentives that it indeed generates more investments and contribution to the economy.

According to NEDA’s initial CBA study, “For three years, an average 94.5 percent of all exports were made by RBEs under PEZA” while SBMA takes up most of the residual. In terms of economy-wide impacts, “Tax incentives increase domestic production” and “the export performance under the scenario with tax incentives indicated rising growth.” It says also that tax incentives appeared to help reduce poverty levels.

NEDA conducted the CBA study in view of Republic Act No. 10708 or the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA). Under the law, NEDA has been tasked to conduct a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) on investment incentives to determine the impact of such incentives to the Philippine economy.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, who is also the author of RA 10708, noted that NEDA will be the final arbiter between DOF, on the revenue side, and DTI, on the investments side.

According to the PEZA Chief, “The findings of the NEDA CBA shall be a credible study that evidence PEZA’s clarion call to the retention of its tax incentives because it is key attraction to export-based investments in the country. More than labelling tax incentives as foregone taxes, tax incentives helped generate investments, employments, and dollar earnings from exports.”

“The findings in the preliminary study proves the importance and effectiveness of the tax incentives being given to investors and their presence in the country,” Plaza added.

Based on NEDA’s CBA study, eight investment promotion agencies (IPAs) submitted data covering 1,687 companies. PEZA registered business enterprises (RBEs) have contributed the most of the data.

2016-2018 CBA Key Findings

In terms of employment generation, PEZA, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Authority of Free Port Bataan (AFAB) contributed the most among the IPAs. Over the three years, 78.09 percent of employment were generated by RBEs under PEZA.

Moreover, RBEs under PEZA made an average 94.5 percent of all exports while they also acquired the most imports (92.7% to 97.0%). Industry-wise, the manufacturing sector was highly dependent on imports, comprising around 96 percent.

It’s also been revealed that the current tax incentives in the country is effective. As stated by Senator Recto during his interpellation on CREATE last September 28, “[the CBA shows that] the current tax incentives package is favorable to the Philippines” and that “benefits outweigh the costs.”

RBEs under PEZA received most of the tax incentives, about PHP42.5 billion to PHP50.3 billion each year. This is equivalent to 16.6 percent to 18.26 percent of the corporate income tax recorded from 2016 to 2018. Also, RBEs under PEZA had stockholders’ equity equivalent to 4.17 percent to 5.69 percent of the equity market.

Some of the economy-wide impacts cited by NEDA are the following:

1. Tax incentives increase domestic production.

2. The export performance under the scenario with tax incentives indicated rising growth. All export growth multipliers were positive and rising. However, the export growth was generally slightly slower compared to a no-tax-incentives regime.

3. Tax incentives appeared to generate more investments.

4. As factor supplies increase, additional incomes are generated and the bases of the direct income taxes expand. Personal income tax collection was 3.17 percentage points higher with tax incentives.

5. A household wellbeing measure in the form of equivalence variation suggests that households are better off with the tax incentives.

6. Tax incentives appeared to help reduce poverty levels. However, disaggregation suggests that rural households benefit more from the tax incentives.

Plaza noted, “The findings show that PEZA’s incentives are in fact performance- and target-based and it has undeniable positive effect or impact to the local government units (LGUs) hosting the ecozones.”

Nevertheless, Plaza said “we cannot deny the impact of investments being brought into the country by export companies who are attracted of PEZA’s tried, tested, and globally competitive fiscal incentives. In fact, PEZA’s incentives entice RBEs to come and invest in the

Philippines as these compensate the high cost of doing business and lack of efficiency factors.”

Appeal to consider the possible impact of CREATE

The Director General stated “We continue to appeal to our Honorable Senators and legislators at the House of Representatives to consider the possible effect of the change in the current tax regime to our export-oriented sectors and to our economy.”

The Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (MEPZCEM Chamber, Inc.) has called on the Senate to retain PEZA’s attractive and globally competitive incentives and powers to grant incentives to its registered export-oriented enterprises or else they will pull out of the country. In their position paper, the chamber said that ‘We are waiting to hear the outcome of CREATE bill in the Senate. If it is passed, we will plan our exit to another country’.”

“Given the current economic scenario [due to pandemic], we expect the Government to be coming up with more incentives and aid for business establishments and most especially exporters as this is the only way to keep the majority of the workforce employed,” the chamber said.

“Let us not change the rules in the middle of the game especially in this crucial period of the pandemic and world recession. Changing and tinkering of the rules and incentives that are working will destabilize investment and the economy as it would lose the trust and confidence on the stability and attractiveness of the Philippines to FDIs and export enterprises,” explained Plaza.

She added “Let us acknowledge the many contributions of our exporters to improve our economy, create thousands of jobs, bring in new technology, develop the millions of hectares of idle lands, build hospitals, school buildings, seaports, airports and other infrastructures supposedly built by the Government. There are also other Corporate Social Responsibility projects by PEZA locator companies. Let us not kill the goose that lays the golden egg.”

Senator Richard Gordon also called for caution in tinkering around with something that is not broken especially on rationalizing incentives given by IPAs. “It may not be the right time to do this. Let us take a step back and look at our situation because COVID is going to exacerbate it. Let us not tinker around too much with what is working because we might end up in a bigger abyss,” he said.

The Senate interpellations on CREATE will continue before their October 15 break.

PEZA: Let's build PH competitiveness for exports, ecozone investments as countries compete amidst pandemic

PEZA: Let's build PH competitiveness for exports, ecozone investments as countries compete amidst pandemic
October 6, 2020
PEZA: Let's build PH competitiveness for exports, ecozone investments as countries compete amidst pandemic

06 October 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Pasay City – While employments and investments are being affected as the global economy suffers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza urged whole-of-government support to maintaining and enhancing the Philippine competitiveness for exports and ecozone investments saying that there’s tighter competition among neighboring countries to keep investors and attract new ones.
 

“We need to adapt in this pandemic and remain competitive to attract more investors and keep the ones we already have,” said Plaza. “Specifically, to remain competitive and maintain confidence in PEZA’s brand of ecozone attraction,” Plaza said “Our position is for the retention and enhancement pf the incentives package which is tried, tested, and globally-competitive especially in this time of pandemic.”

“The retention of the tax incentives will keep our 4,587 export companies and 408 economic zones (both vertical and horizontal ecozones) and the directly and indirectly employed Filipinos in various ecozones,” said Plaza.

The PEZA Chief lamented that “While Congress aims to reform corporate taxes, PEZA provides assistance and reprieves to registered locators in ecozones to be able to keep the existing investors and attract new ones that are moving the location of their companies due to the pandemic”

“Changing the rules and system will discourage the export companies who are trying their best to keep their investments and jobs in the Philippines so everybody can survive amidst the pandemic,” she added.

“In an atmosphere of world recession and export companies looking to consolidate their resources and transferring to other profitable countries with better incentives, we must seek to assure our current investors that the Philippines remains the best investment haven hub in Asia because of our one-stop, non-stop shop,” said Plaza.

According to the United Nations article on the World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2020, the world economy is projected to shrink by 3.2 % this year. GDP growth of countries will also be on a decline. In a grim conclusion, the UN states that “the cumulative output for 2020 and 2021 will nearly wipe all the output gains from the past 4 years.

“The effect of the lockdowns and limited international flights and logistics have decreased or slowed down economic activities, trade, and financial performance of countries across the globe, resulting in job loss and an increase in poverty,” said Plaza.

In a study conducted by S&P Global Ratings, they concluded that the economy is predicted to shrink by 9.5% this year because of the effect of the pandemic.

COVID-19 cannot stop PEZA

Leading according to balancing acts during this time of quarantine in the country, PEZA management has been assisting in the coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and concerned authorities for the continued operations of locator companies and for keeping jobs of thousands of Filipinos.

Of the 1.6 million directly employed workers in PEZA-registered companies and enterprises, 1.1 million of them are already back to work. PEZA locator companies are already at 85% operational to date.

“PEZA takes strong and smart initiatives as we understand the dire consequences of the prolonged quarantines. Mindful of strict health protocols to protect the health of our workers, there are shuttle services and dormitories were also provided to lessen their exposure to public transportation,” said Plaza.

PEZA also suspended the existing 30% limit on the total revenue on the work-from-home (WFH) arrangement effective March 17, 2020, wherein a 90% limit on the total annual revenue on WFH arrangement shall be allowed until December 31, 2020.

Additionally, under PEZA MC No. 2020-011, the Authority allows PEZA-registered enterprises to establish workspaces in non-PEZA registered sites.

Many countries are in fact dependent on China for manufactured goods. In this time of pandemic, many investors are seeking to branch out to different neighboring countries or return to their home country. In this context, ASEAN countries are competing for investments by calibrating their policies and incentives to attract investors.
Several ASEAN countries have issued incentives to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. These come in the form of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives as well as cash handouts.

The Vietnam government is already preparing to give out incentives in the form of tax breaks, delayed tax payments, and delayed fees in land use for those involved in businesses. Indonesia plans to set up more industrial parks by 2024 and reducing its corporate tax from 25 to 20 in the coming years. Malaysia on its part is coming up with tax exemptions on manufacturers who will be investing a minimum of about $117 million in the country. Thailand on the other hand is looking into extending its tax break for companies who are into the health care industry as the pandemic highlighted the world’s dependence on China for most of its masks and other PPEs. Cambodia has also published regulations that seeks to mitigate the impact of the pandemic by being more lenient in the imports of raw materials, parts, and accessories used for textile and garment production. Additionally, companies heavily affected by the disruption of production will be granted tax holidays for up to one year as well.

As the Philippines compete with other countries PEZA Director General Plaza remains firm on her stand that “In light of the CREATE bill, let us remember that these incentives have been working from the start. It is our appeal that we do not cause fear and uncertainty in the hearts of potential investors and even those who are already here so that we will be able to keep those who are already here and provide confidence in those who are looking into the Philippines that this country is a great place to invest in.”

PEZA Chief breaks myths: Fact is PEZA’s tax incentives are performance- and target-based for products and services, technology, and capital investments not for companies

PEZA Chief breaks myths: Fact is PEZA’s tax incentives are performance- and target-based for products and services, technology, and capital investments not for companies
October 2, 2020
PEZA Chief breaks myths: Fact is PEZA’s tax incentives are performance- and target-based for products and services, technology, and capital investments not for companies

02 October 2020 (Friday)
 

Pasay City – Amidst the ongoing deliberations in the Senate about the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or the CREATE bill, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has once again debunked misconception against PEZA’s tax incentives for registered business enterprises (RBEs), saying PEZA’s incentives are in fact performance- and target-based and it is not forever given to companies but to technology, product quality services, expansion, and increase in the capital investments by investors.
 

According to CREATE proponents, Philippines is the only country offering ‘forever’ incentives with its 5% gross income earned (GIE) tax regime. The overall goal of CREATE is to rationalize fiscal incentives towards being performance-based, target-based, time bound, and transparent which Plaza said have long been implemented by PEZA.

“Contrary to notion that PEZA’s incentives lacked those standards, PEZA’s incentives are given to qualified products/activities on a per project basis. It is product, activity, and performance-based from the beginning, not an afterthought. Incentives are being given to motivate and encourage companies to bring in new technology, upgrade, grow, and perform in a global market competition for exports,” explained the Director General.

Performance and target-based

The PEZA Chief underlined that “PEZA incentives are not given to companies, enterprises, locators, or ecozone developers per se, but incentives for export-based industries are for those who are able to upgrade their products, activities, expand their projects and markets, and those who can bring technology-transfer in the Philippines.”

“PEZA has validation process in order for locators and companies to avail of tax incentives,” explained Plaza.

Only activities included in the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) may be registered with PEZA and granted incentives. In addition, RBEs shall only operate exclusively inside PEZA-registered economic zones and engage only in registered/authorized activities which require prior approval of the PEZA Board.

Plaza noted that “If the activity is not registrable with PEZA, we deny outright their application and it never reaches the PEZA Board. Only applications that satisfy all the qualifications are evaluated by PEZA and presented to the PEZA Board for approval.”

PEZA monitors performance

Further, under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7916 or “The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995,” PEZA may suspend, withhold, disapprove or revoke import or export permits, authority to engage in local sale, to avail of any incentive or privilege being administered by the agency for failure of companies to comply with the rules and regulations governing the incentives.

“In other words, incentives are not forever enjoyed by companies which fail to innovate and expand, thus, they lose the world buyers and close shop. It is a misimpression that incentives are continuously given even to non-performing companies,” said the Director General.

PEZA also requires registered enterprises to submit reportorial requirements on a regular basis and failure to submit these reports shall result in the payment of fine, withholding of necessary permits such as building and occupancy permits, permit to operate and/or Letters of Authority (LOA) including the suspension of the enjoyment of incentives. The submission of these reports are for monitoring of their activities and compliance with the conditions imposed in their registration.

Retain PEZA’s incentives

Finally, Plaza reiterated that “PEZA’s position—supported by our ecozone operators, export companies, industry associations and foreign chambers—is for the retention and enhancement of the incentives package which are tried, tested and globally-competitive especially in this time of pandemic. The retention of the tax incentives will keep our 4,587 export companies and 408 economic zones (both vertical and horizontal ecozones) and the 1.6 million directly employed Filipinos in various ecozones.”

According to Plaza, “Changing the rules and system will discourage the export companies who are trying their best to keep their investments and jobs in the Philippines so everybody can survive amidst the pandemic.”

“Let us be sensitive to our people’s needs for jobs and livelihood and support our investors’ struggles to keep their businesses going as well as the jobs they are investing in the Philippines,” stated the Director General.

PEZA Balancing Acts

Plaza proudly noted that PEZA has maintained its RBEs operations even during this time through its ‘balancing acts.’ “PEZA has implemented an effective ‘balancing acts’ to address both the dangers and opportunities brought by the COVID-19 crisis. Now, 80%-90% of its 4,587 locator companies in its 408 ecozones continue to operate with implementation of strict health and safety protocols, ensuring the welfare of more than one million employees still working.”

The PEZA Chief added, “PEZA doesn’t stop focusing on incentives as the country’s edge for investments but works with various stakeholders, agencies, and partners in order to address the efficiency factors such as logistic hubs, support services, supply chain, backward and forward linkages through PEZA’s 10 point programs and DOLLAR program. PEZA’s programs are anchored towards thinking globally and acting locally.”

“Together with our industries, we strongly appeal and pray for wisdom be granted to our Honorable Senators and Congressmen on the final version of the CREATE Law, which will be beneficial for everyone,” said Plaza.

The Senate debates on the pending legislation will continue on Monday, October 5.

PEZA, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. partners for promotion of green, healthy, and sustainable ecozones in Baguio City

PEZA, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. partners for promotion of green, healthy, and sustainable ecozones in Baguio City
September 29, 2020
PEZA, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. partners for promotion of green, healthy, and sustainable ecozones in Baguio City

29 September 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Baguio City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), through the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ), has inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. (AFI) for the benefit of the foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan Bantay Baterya, Langis and WEEE Recovery Project and PEZA’s goals to promote green, healthy, and sustainable economic zones in Baguio last Friday, September 25, 2020. 
 

According to PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza, “PEZA welcomes partnerships that promote the goal of environment-friendly industrialization anchored on creating different types of economic zones that are green, healthy, sustainable, and smart.”

“PEZA, through the leadership of Director General Plaza, has been sincerely promoting sustainability, resiliency, green, healthy, and smart town economic zones. To this end, we can help our locators reduce operational costs, in still sense of responsibility, enhance commitment to environmental protection and ensure compliance to environmental issuances,” noted PEZA BCEZ Deputy Zone Administrator Allan Datahan.

Further, Plaza noted that “PEZA targets the implementation of environmental, health, and safety programs that seeks to provide a globally competitive and sustainable business environment for investors.”

BCEZ Recyclable Collection Event

To show solidarity to AFI’s environmental programs, PEZA has also conducted the first-ever Recyclable Collection Event (RCE) in BCEZ where participants can donate recyclables waste with economic value. The said event is also to commemorate the World Environmental Health Day 2020.

The RCE is a joint collaboration by PEZA-BCEZ with its locators, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) - CAR, City Government of Baguio, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya, and Partner Temporary Storage and Disposal (TSD) Facilities, transporters, and haulers.

“I congratulate PEZA for organizing such a wonderful event (…) PEZA has been a long-time partner in environmental protection (…) and I am proud to announce that PEZA had been compliant to all environmental rules and regulations,” said DENR-EMB CAR Regional Director Ms. Ma. Victoria Abrera.

Abrera hopes that the program will be emulated in other provinces and in all the regions. “With our collaborative efforts, we are assured of a sustainable future. Just as we move to heal as one at the time of pandemic, we must also remember to work as one in the name of environmental health (…) lagi nating tatandaan: Ako, Ikaw, Tayo ang kalikasan.”

Revolution Smoke-Free campaign

Aside from this project, PEZA has been collaborating with the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines in promoting green, healthy, sustainable, and smart ecozones.

Since 2018, PEZA, DOH, and WHO Philippines have been closely partnering for the progressive implementation of the ‘Revolution Smoke-Free’ campaign in BCEZ and thereafter replicated in all PEZA ecozones.

Hon. Joel Alison Alangsab, the Baguio City and Chairman Committee on Health and Sanitation, Ecology, and Environmental Protection, thanked PEZA for its sincere dedication to protect the environment and help the City of Baguio. “I will keep on saying thank you to PEZA for doing [these programs] and we pray that PEZA will be able to extend [these programs] to the whole city of Baguio and its barangays.”

Likewise, AFI Managing Director Ms. Susan Afan praised PEZA for its efforts to boost the economy during these trying times. She stated, “In my humble opinion, PEZA is one of the best and one of the most effective government initiatives through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) because it helps promote investments, encourages export-oriented manufacturing and services which also helps boost our economy. Our economy right now needs this boost more than ever especially during these trying times of COVID.”

“PEZA would like to express its sincerest gratitude for the continued support of organizations like the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc., DOH, and WHO Philippines in our goal to create and promote green, healthy, sustainable, and smart ecozones,” said the PEZA Chief.

“Amidst the pandemic and its underlying uncertainties, PEZA aims to transform all of its economic zones as environmental and resilient zones. Let us continue to attain our goal to revolutionize the Philippines through the creation of different types of ecozones,” said Plaza.

 

PEZA’s last appeal: retain PEZA’s powers and tried, tested, globally competitive incentives, consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic 

PEZA’s last appeal: retain PEZA’s powers and tried, tested, globally competitive incentives, consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic 
September 23, 2020
PEZA’s last appeal: retain PEZA’s powers and tried, tested, globally competitive incentives, consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic 

23 September 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has passed its final appeal to the Senators for the retention of its powers, authority, and fiscal incentives being granted to its registered enterprises, as the Senate deliberate the passage of the “Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act,” most commonly known as CREATE bill.
 

“For the last time, PEZA and its partner industry associations and stakeholders call for the retention of the tried, tested, and globally competitive current package of incentives that PEZA grants to its registered enterprises given also the experience and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza.

“While PEZA fully supports the goals of rationalizing corporate incentives, the current situation of global economy is not the appropriate time to change the current incentives’ regime. What the country needs now is stable economic policies and guarantee the sanctity of existing contracts. Philippine government must focus on reducing the cost of doing business and increase the international competitiveness of the Philippines in export-oriented industries,” noted Plaza.

In a letter dated September 10, 2020, the PEZA Chief wrote a letter regarding this last appeal addressed to Senator Pia Cayetano, Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means of the Senate, and copy furnished all Senators of the 18th Congress and all Congressmen members of the Ways and Means Committee.

Continue the tried, tested, and globally competitive incentives

In the context of global pandemic, PEZA has reiterated its appeal to Congress for the retention and enhancement of the current fiscal incentives and add non-fiscal incentives.

“The disastrous effects of the pandemic to our economy supports the position of PEZA all along for the continued grant of incentives under Republic Act No. 7916, as amended and at the same time its further enhancement to make the country more competitive, to keep the existing investors and to attract more foreign investments,” explained Plaza.

Plaza noted that “The current fiscal incentives of PEZA are proven as globally competitive, tested, and tried to continually attract exporters and ecozone developers over the years. These incentives in fact compensates the high cost of doing business in the Philippines. With the global pandemic, we need to do enhance our incentives to make it more attractive for getting investors who are moving out of other countries like China.”

The same call has been done by the lead 24 economists including Ateneo School of Governance Dean Ronald Mendoza, UP School of Economics Professor Dr. Ramon Clarete, and National Scientist Raul Fabella in their petition to the Congress regarding CREATE. “The status quo for PEZA must be maintained, pending the enactment of a consolidated incentive act.”

In its letter to Sen. Cayetano dated 21 September 2020, the Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (MEPZCEM) noted that “[because if its incentives,] PEZA enjoys the trust and confidence of companies both from its parent, local and subsidiaries worldwide [that is why they] should retain its authority to grant incentives to its registered export-oriented enterprises.”

PEZA also explained that the appeal for continuous retention and enhanced incentives at this time of the pandemic afford stability and confidence among registered enterprises and sustain the reputation of the government that it honors and respects existing contracts and/or agreements.

PEZA’s incentives will likewise be valuable to comply with the directives of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte under Administrative Order No. 18, which calls for the creation of more ecozones in the countryside, and Executive Order No. 114, or the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program.

CREATE for Domestic Enterprises first

Moreover, the Authority maintains its recommendation that CREATE should be implemented first for the Domestic Enterprises as they will benefit the most from the reduction of the corporate income tax and enjoy for the first time incentives in rationalized manner. This will in turn maximize the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) production, manufacturing export capabilities, complete supply chain, and encourage exporters to minimize import dependence.

“We have to empower, capacitate, and enrich economically first the LGUs, our farmers, MSMEs, and our people in general to contribute in enhancing our idle land assets and available rich natural resources,” said Plaza.

The PEZA Chief added, “We must think globally while acting locally, continuing to contribute in the global supply chain while establishing an economy that is production- and export-driven rather than forever an import- and consumption-dependent economy.”

Retention of powers as mandated under RA 7916

Furthermore, PEZA calls for the retention of its authority to administer and manage its existing ecozones and to recommend the proclamation of new ones, all which will be repealed and/or amended by certain sections under the proposed bill.

“Amending these powers of the PEZA Board and the general powers and authority of PEZA will cripple the Authority and render it as an ineffective IPA. These provisions should be retained in our Charter since their amendment will create a vacuum in the management and regulation of PEZA-registered economic zones,” noted Plaza.

Likewise, the PEZA recommends for the power of the FIRB to be limited to the approval of incentives as recommended by the IPAs, however the regulation of registered enterprises should remain to be with the IPAs.

Ease of Doing Business

Under the proposed CREATE bill, export-oriented enterprises will be exposed to lengthy and arduous process that will surely expose them to corruption and red tapes, killing PEZA’s admired ease of doing business.

PEZA’s ease of doing business endeared the Authority to its 4,587 locator investors having 4,501 multisite projects in 408 economic zones all over the country. The efficiency and best practices of PEZA over the last 25 years is recognized by foreign investors and international institutions such as the IFC World Bank.

“We have to do everything we can to make sure that those already with us stays us. The least that we can do is to honor our contracts with them,” noted Plaza.

IBPAP also requested to take into consideration PEZA’s ease of doing business. “Keep the one-stop-shop nature of PEZA as they have been an effective proponent of the country as a premier investment destination,” said IBPAP President and CEO Rey Untal in its letter to Sen. Cayetano dated May 28, 2020.

Maintaining the economy, exports amidst COVID

According to the Director General, “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relevance of export-oriented companies in the protection of the economy and the jobs.”

Even with the imposed community quarantine, PEZA-registered enterprises continued its operations to ensure the unhampered flow of goods and services while complying with the guidelines and health protocols issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-IED).

In the September 2020 status of operations of PEZA-registered companies, a total of 2,634 companies or 85% are now operating nationwide. Continued operations have allowed 1,181,115 workers or 76% of the workforce to work even under skeletal or work-from-home arrangements.

Among the companies, 77% of the IT-BPO sector are now operating while in the manufacturing sector, 91% are already operational.

The MEPZCEM Chamber, Inc. noted that, “Companies from the PEZA Economic Zones including the Supply Chain supporting these companies made utmost efforts to continue operations during the quarantine periods despite incurring huge losses. These efforts have sustained the most basic needs of workers preventing social unrest.”

The PEZA Chief explained that “PEZA’s ecozone locators are the ones helping to keep the economy afloat by ensuring the continuous operations of locators and thereby, sustaining the created jobs, livelihood and other economic opportunities. Their operations helped to continuously earn export income for the country, which strengthened the value of the peso with the reduction of the domestic importation.”

According to the Director General, “The COVID-19 pandemic offers us lessons and opportunities on the importance of having industries that complete the supply chain, export-oriented industries continuously operating to bring in dollars to the economy.”

She added, “In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is just as important to retain existing incentives, investments and jobs to create and attract new investments and jobs. Let us think globally while acting locally.”

The 24 lead economists also proposed that, “To help promote a more inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the priority should be on direct measures to strengthen the country’s health and social protection systems as part of a “build-back-better” plan.”

In a joint position paper by the PHILEA, SEIPI, IBPAP, CONWEP, PAMURI, MAP, US-ASEAN Business Council, Makati Business Club, and the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean, and Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce, “if existing investors face provisions that still degrade their financial projections - at a time when COVID-19 has harmed their operations – some will lose confidence in the Philippines as an investment location.”

“Together with our industries, we strongly APPEAL and PRAY for WISDOM be granted to our Honorable Senators and Congressmen on the final version of the CREATE Law,” noted Plaza.

PEZA partners with Sagay City and SPDA for creation of more ecozones in the countryside

PEZA partners with Sagay City and SPDA for creation of more ecozones in the countryside
September 21, 2020
PEZA partners with Sagay City and SPDA for creation of more ecozones in the countryside

21 September 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – Pursuant to Administrative Order (AO) no. 18 signed by President Duterte, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Sagay, Negros Occidental and with the Southern Philippine Development Authority (SPDA) for the creation of more special economic zones (SEZs) especially in the countryside in September 16 and 17, 2020 respectively. 
 

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza underlined that “Partnerships for building economic zones like this is important especially during this time of pandemic because ecozones are key for generating investments, job, and exports income. Building ecozones viable and suitable for the host community and LGUs is the best and fastest economic masterplan to jumpstart the economy and help the country recover.”

Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Marañon III echoed the PEZA Chief’s statement saying, “The creation of the export processing zone is very timely because everybody is trying to go back to their hometowns under the Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa [program or Executive Order No. 114], which is part of the post-pandemic recovery plan.”

Likewise, SPDA Chairman Hon. Abdulghani “Gerry” A. Salapuddin noted that partnerships such as these will transform the country in totality, and “will achieve the goal of turning Mindanao from a ‘Land of Promise’ to a ‘Land of Fulfillment and Opportunities’.”

Expansion of Northern Negros Agro-Industrial Export Processing Zone

The MOU between PEZA and the City of Sagay gives the green light for both governmental entities for the co-development and promotion of 160-hectare expansion of the Northern Negros Agro-Industrial Export Processing Zone (NNAIEPZ) through a usufruct agreement.

The said expansion is on top of the 20-hectare earlier approved for development by the City Government as concurred by the Office of the President under Presidential Proclamation No. 1622, issued on 15 September 2008.

On 19 February 2020, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Sagay passed Resolution No. 2020-064, which favorably endorsed and authorized PEZA to undertake ecozone development covering 1,600,000 sqm of the land of the City of Sagay. This will then be registered to PEZA as an expansion of the existing NNAIEPZ, subject to the proclamation by the President. The said resolution was formally proposed to the Authority thru a letter in 10 March 2020.
According to Marañon, the creation/expansion of NNAIEPZ supports AO No. 18, which is the national government direction to decongest Metro Manila. AO No. 18 highlights the role of PEZA to spur economic development in the country, especially in the countryside by providing employment opportunities to the locals.

Development of SPDA lands

Meanwhile, the MOU between PEZA and SPDA allows both parties to partner in identifying undeveloped lands in SPDA’s properties as well as developing and creating more special economic zones (SEZs) in the area

Specifically, SPDA’s 24,000-hectare property in the municipalities of Wao and Bumbaran (Amay Manabilang), Lanao Del Sur have been identified as a viable and feasible area for development of agro-industrial ecozones.

Under the PEZA-SPDA MOU, “The Parties shall provide each other the necessary inputs to fast-track the development of, by way of technical assistance, economic zones in priority areas within the SPDA real properties, particularly Wao-Bumbaran, Lanao del Sur or areas not necessarily SPDA’s properties but maybe jointly or severally developed with SPDA’s participation together with the other government units or/and private sector proponents/investors such as Medical Centers/Tourism , Townships, Trade Centers and People Economic Advancement and Community Empowerment (PEACE) Villages among others.”

Salappudin noted that aside from this partnership to create more economic zones in Mindanao, they must initiate a socio-economic framework in the entire of Mindanao so that the whole country will enjoy and experience socio-economic progress.

“I would like to urge our hardworking Director General Plaza to initiate in partnership with MinDA [Mindanao Development Authority] and SPDA the calling of a Mindanao-wide Leaders’ Summit to purposely craft a sustainable, doable, socio-economic framework in Mindanao.

He conveyed that a development masterplan for Mindanao shall be a legacy that “Even after our beloved President [Duterte] will end his term, we have this socio-economic development framework as guide to all the local executives in Mindanao.”

Ecozones as economic drivers

The PEZA Chief believes that “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, ecozones remain to be drivers for economic growth and a means for recovery in every region. Operation of ecozones will help create jobs for Filipinos and complete the supply chains, building local and global linkages for goods and services.”

According to Plaza, “The creation of ecozones apt to the area benefits host LGUs in terms of industrialization, transfer of technology, land development, creation of jobs which in turn had a multiplier effect in the area.”

She added that, “For 25 years since 1995, PEZA has proven the positive impact of creating economic zones for achieving total development and social progress which can be seen and experienced by the host LGUs of the long-time four public ecozones located respectively in Cavite, Baguio, Mactan, and Angeles.”

The Director General noted, “we must replicate this in the whole Philippines to attain the total development of the country. We must use this time as an opportunity to grow and develop an export and production-driven economy and a self-reliant, self-sustaining and revenue-generating country, rather than being an import and consumption-dependent, which we are now.”

 

PEZA partners with WHO Philippines, DOH for COVID-19 in the Workplace #ThisWorks Webinar

PEZA partners with WHO Philippines, DOH for COVID-19 in the Workplace #ThisWorks Webinar
September 7, 2020
PEZA partners with WHO Philippines, DOH for COVID-19 in the Workplace #ThisWorks Webinar

07 September 2020 (Monday)
 

Pasay City – With a goal to spread awareness and information about COVID-19 during this time of pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has collaborated with the World Health Organization Philippines country office (WHO Philippines) and the Department of Health (DOH) for the four-day #ThisWorks Webinar for all PEZA ecozone locator enterprises and employees. 
 

Started on September 1 until September 4, the #ThisWorks Webinar hopes to inform the general public about the coronavirus disease as well as discuss practical tips on the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

“We thank WHO for coming up with a practical webinar course that focuses on how a worker will reduce the risk of getting the virus at any stage during a typical workday: before going to work, at the workplace, when a fellow worker is confirmed positive and going home,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

Re-opening of businesses

The Director General also hoped that “may the information that everyone will learn today will become a big help especially as we push for the reopening of more businesses to help our economy get back to its feet.”

To second this, DTI Undersecretary Ireneo Vizmonte also noted during the first day of the webinar that “[The webinar] is very timely. As you know, DTI is very much into pushing for more business activities to open at this time of pandemic [as] it is very much needed now.”

Vizmonte also noted that “Employers and employees have a very important role in reducing transmission, providing a better health capacity system, and in mitigating the social impact.”

COVID-19 in the workplace

Aside from WHO experts who shared and clarified information regarding the virus and its spread in the last four days, PEZA officials and representatives from PEZA locator companies, such as Harte-Hanks Philippines Inc., Adriste (Philippines), Inc., and Maxim Integrated, also gave some insights on the measures being done on the ground to protect its workers.

“Pandemic has redefined workplace for [BPO companies]. Working from home brought its new challenges,” noted by Dr. Micaela Defiesta, IBPAP LSH Committee member, as she discussed the various measures being undertaken by Harte Hanks to protect the health and welfare of their employees like making their online clinics virtual and extending it to the family of their employees.

Moreover, Mr. Richard Cohen, the VP for Operations of Maxim Integrated, explained the important role employers have in order to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees especially in times like at the moment.

“It’s in our power as people who run factories in the Philippines to keep our people safe. [And since] we already know how to do it, we must be disciplined to do it (…) and we have to make sure that the virus will not spread to our factories,” stated Cohen who is also a SEIPI Board member.

Since the start of the quarantines in March, PEZA has released numerous advisories and directives, through Memorandum Circulars, to assist and assure the unhampered delivery of services to its export-oriented companies while protecting as well the welfare of employees in the workplace.

Further, Plaza added that, “these kinds of webinars are helpful to our locator companies especially during this time of pandemic to better equip everyone of information about COVID-19 and how, in our own ways, prevent its spread and protect the health and welfare of everybody.”

“PEZA would like to thank WHO for its continued support for a healthier economic zone. We look forward for more partnership with you particularly in creating green, sustainable, healthier, and smart economic zones,” expressed Plaza.

The PEZA Chief noted, “We will continue to work with the WHO, DTI, the Department of Labor and Employment, and partner agencies in the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to keep our workers safe. As our ecozone workers go home to their communities, may they be our advocates for keeping the households safe from COVID.”

 

PEZA Chief: Creating ecozones in the countryside is best economic driver to grow smart towns, digital cities, and new metropolitan areas for PH regions 

PEZA Chief: Creating ecozones in the countryside is best economic driver to grow smart towns, digital cities, and new metropolitan areas for PH regions 
August 26, 2020
PEZA Chief: Creating ecozones in the countryside is best economic driver to grow smart towns, digital cities, and new metropolitan areas for PH regions 

26 August 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – As the country grapples with economic and health problems in its now five-month quarantines due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) underlines the role of ecozones in boosting economic growth and employment for local government units hosting ecozones.
 

On Wednesday, PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has proposed that the best and fastest economic masterplan that national government must promote is to hasten development in the countryside through the creation of economic zones rather than politically restructuring the local government units (LGUs) and regions of the country.

“We have to empower, capacitate, and enrich economically first the LGUs, our farmers, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and our people in general to contribute in enhancing our idle land assets and available rich natural resources,” said Plaza.

The PEZA Chief noted, “We must aim to establish an economy that is production and export-driven rather than forever be an import and consumption-dependent economy.”

She added that, “Strategic planning for creating various types of ecozones has been the trend in our ASEAN counterparts, and it has been proven to be effective. If they can do it, we can as well.”

Ecozones as economic drivers

“Ecozones will be drivers for economic recovery and growth in every region, which will help create jobs for the locals and complete the supply needs in the area. When people have jobs, consumption increases and local production booms. This will in turn boost socio-economic progress as well as reduce crime and poverty incidence in our regions as experienced by LGU hosts,” said the PEZA Chief.

“For 25 years since 1995, PEZA has proven the positive impact of creating economic zones for achieving total development and social progress which can be seen and experienced by the host LGUs like Cavite, Baguio, Mactan, and Angeles,” she added.

Further, the PEZA chief added that “Creation of public ecozone apt to the area benefits host LGUs in terms of industrialization, transfer of technology, land development, creation of jobs which in turn had a multiplier effect in the area.”

“Just like in the case of Cavite, they only had three cities before, and their municipalities were 4th class. Now that it is full of economic zones in Cavite, they now have seven cities, their municipalities are now first-class municipalities or cities. Same with Baguio City and Lapu-Lapu City which also hosts our ecozones, these cities are now highly urbanized areas that are getting a big share from the ecozones and industries’ income,” explained Plaza.

Former Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) President Honorable Al Francis Bichara also backed PEZA’s statement on the importance of ecozones as economic drivers.

“Indeed, the key to unlock the full development potential of the countryside is the enhancement of local competitiveness against the traditional commercial centers – something that has never been attempted by previous administrations – and that the ecozones are the economic driver we have always needed to build boom towns and smart cities where investors are reluctant to re-locate, said Bichara in his letter to the President in October 2019.

More ecozones key economic recovery plan

Complementing the numerous infrastructure projects being developed by the national government under its Build, Build, Build program, Plaza said “Creating more ecozones across the nation will likewise achieve the goal of spreading development and fully industrializing the country amidst the global crisis caused by COVID-19.”

“COVID-19 cannot stop PEZA and LGUs from industrializing our country and being an investment haven in Asia. PEZA stays committed to its 10-point programs that aim: to address the efficiency factors towards attracting and assisting investors; to create a globally competitive, sustainable, and environment-friendly business environment in

our economic zones; and to train and transform Filipino workers into multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, rich human capital and world-class workers.

In the period of January to June 2020, President Duterte signed a total of 12 proclamations for new PEZA-registered ecozones. There are still 63 pending applications for proclamation of new economic zones in the Office of the President. Once officially proclaimed, interested investors will operate with an industrial, commercial, and residential component within these ecozones.

“PEZA is promoting an environment friendly industrialization and the township concept where investors and workers will work, live, learn and play,” noted Plaza

PEZA’s investment promotion partners (Ka-PIPPs) organized domestic and abroad to make PH an investment haven in Asia 

PEZA’s investment promotion partners (Ka-PIPPs) organized domestic and abroad to make PH an investment haven in Asia 
August 20, 2020
PEZA’s investment promotion partners (Ka-PIPPs) organized domestic and abroad to make PH an investment haven in Asia 

20 August 2020 (Thursday)
 

Taguig City – Amidst the various quarantines imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has partnered with various agencies and organizations, also known as Ka-PIPPs, to continue to connect and to attract global investors to the Philippines.
 

The Ka-PIPPs program, one of the 10-point programs and special projects of PEZA, seeks to build partnership with international and domestic business chambers and industries’ associations, POs, NGOs and Socio-Civic groups to help market and promote PEZA economic zones and investment promotion programs worldwide.

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “with the help of investment promotion partners or Ka-PIPPs, we continue to conduct a series of virtual investors forum to constantly brief and update both potential and existing investors on the investment climate in the country during this crisis.”

Plaza explained, “through the forums, we continue to motivate and support both potential and existing investors with all the assistance and reliefs that we can provide.”

Proving to be positive, PEZA reported on August 10 a positive growth in foreign direct investments in the first semester of 2020. The positive growth has been registered specifically in the IT-BPO and manufacturing sectors.

New PEZA Ka-PIPPs

Alongside the July 29 launching of two projects under the PEZA Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources (DOLLAR) program, a total of 13 agencies and organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PEZA to become an investment partner. The new partners include:
1. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
2. Blaan Tribe
3. Joint Industrial Peace and Concern Office (JIPCO)
4. OFW Council of Leaders (OCL)
5. European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP)
6. Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)
7. Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KK-DAT)
8. Japan Tobacco International (JTI)
9. United Filipino Global
10. Advocates and Keepers Organization of OFWs Inc. (AKO OFW, Inc.)
11. Amigos-MARINO, Inc.
12. Bureau of Muslim Economic Affairs (BMEA)
13. Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ANZCHAM)

The groups and agencies shall commit to be a member of PEZA’s Ka-PIPPs program and help promote the economic potential of the Philippines as an emerging economic powerhouse by considering other areas of investment and by supporting the country as a priority investment destination.

“This MOU is the beginning of further collaboration between our group, OCL, and PEZA and we hope that we can contribute to the economic recovery of our country post-COVID era and beyond,” said OFW Council of Leaders Director General Venecio Legazpi.

DOLLAR program

Aside from helping to attract investments in the country from both foreign and local investors, these groups will also be supporting the DOLLAR program, PEZA’s initiative to help repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and jobless Filipinos to help cushion the impact of the pandemic.

Capt. Rey I. Valeros Jr., the Vice President of the Amigos-MARINO, Inc. expressed that, “Having almost 20,000 active members who are currently on board foreign ocean vessels and now some are coming back and looking for an alternative job as their option if their foreign principal will take time in re-hiring them due to the current pandemic, this program of PEZA is really noble and timely.”

Creation of special economic zones

Likewise, PEZA is now closely partnering with the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and the LGUs in creating special economic zones in the countryside so that economic growth, jobs, transfer of technology and land development will be realized.

According to Plaza, “Despite the current uncertainties brought about by the pandemic, PEZA continues to bring about investment to the country and create special economic zones, both vertical and horizontal, that will become economic drivers in creating smart towns, cities and new metropolitan areas in every region, with the economic zones as the economic umbrella and driver towards total development.”

“COVID cannot stop PEZA from performing its mandate to attract investments, create employment, and generate exports for the country. We continue to treat this crisis as an opportunity to grow even more and become an instrument to help the vibrant economy revive once again,” noted Plaza.

PEZA transfers new home at Double Dragon Building Pasay City

PEZA transfers new home at Double Dragon Building Pasay City
August 18, 2020
PEZA transfers new home at Double Dragon Building Pasay City

PEZA transfers new home at Double Dragon Building Pasay City

18 August 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), under the leadership of Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza transfers their head office location at the 10th Floor, DoubleDragon Center West Building, DD Meridian Park, Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City. 
 

After leasing spaces in PNOC-DOE Complex in BGC, Taguig since 2016, PEZA will temporarily lease office spaces at the 8th, 9th, and 10th floor of DoubleDragon Center West Building.

For the information of the public and clients of PEZA, the head office landlines will not be changed. However, to facilitate the transition, PEZA’s server will be down during the period of August 18-23, 2020 which will affect its phone landlines.

“During this short period, clients can reach PEZA through their emails and the official mobile numbers of its officials which can be accessed at www.peza.gov.ph/index.php/contact-us. All transactions will be temporarily done virtually. Official numbers of the agency will be posted on the social media page of the agency as well,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” B. Plaza.

Meanwhile, the PEZA Chief underlined that the formal opening of the PEZA’s head office will be on September 28, 2020.

Reasons for the transfer of Head Office

“Because of the expiration of PEZA’s contract with the PNOC complex on August 31, 2020, PEZA management decided to temporarily move to a bigger office and a more strategic location in DoubleDragon while its original PEZA building in Pasay City will soon be constructed to provided big spaces with the continuous and growing influx of export companies and investors” said Plaza.
According to Director General Plaza, “Aside from the approaching expiration of PEZA’s contract with the PNOC complex on August 31, 2020, PEZA management decided to temporarily move to DoubleDragon while its original PEZA building in Pasay City is undergoing construction because PEZA needs wider office spaces in order to cater to increased clients and expanded mandates including the creation of more ecozones in the countryside as stated in Administrative Order (AO) No. 18.”

“The DoubleDragon office space in Pasay provides a strategic location as it is nearer to the airport, and other facilities which will be convenient to both foreign and local investors,” Plaza added. Apart from PEZA, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is also an old tenant of DoubleDragon and two more government agencies will locate soon in the same building.

Plaza said that “As PEZA’s functions and transactions expand requiring bigger spaces for its employees, the bigger space also conforms to the new normal ensuring that sufficient office space is provided to both clients and workers.”

Moreover, Plaza said that “PEZA is steadfast to fulfilling ‘balancing acts’ which aim to protect the health and safety of its workers while making sure that proper facilitation and coordination are done with concerned government agencies and LGUs for the unhampered flow of goods and services remains especially during this time that the economy is suffering because of the COVID pandemic.”

PEZA registered manufacturing and IT-BPO companies thrive amidst the pandemic

“COVID cannot stop PEZA from continuing to attract investments even while in the midst of a global pandemic. Nowadays, the opportunities are even bigger as everyone is more connected online and thus virtual webinars are easier,” said Director General Plaza who conducts virtual webinars every week, continually attracting investors who are moving their productions out of China.

“We are treating this pandemic as an opportunity to easily connect with those abroad even though we cannot meet them physically, we can still cater to them virtually,” said Plaza.

The PEZA Chief is proud to say that in addition to continued virtual investments “PEZA has seen a growth in our IT-BPO and manufacturing sectors. Investments in the manufacturing sector increased by 24% this year while the IT-BPO sector recorded a 37% increase this year.”

Amidst seeming difficult circumstances, PEZA seeks to be a light and a symbol of hope for the country. “We continue to remain optimistic that the Filipinos as a resilient group of people will be able to overcome this and bounce back better than before,” said Plaza.

 

PEZA records positive growth in FDIs in the first sem of 2020 amidst COVID-19 

PEZA records positive growth in FDIs in the first sem of 2020 amidst COVID-19 
August 10, 2020
PEZA records positive growth in FDIs in the first sem of 2020 amidst COVID-19 

10 August 2020 (Monday)
 

Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza showcased on Monday PEZA’s record of positive growth in foreign direct investments in the first semester of 2020 amidst COVID-19 pandemic. The positive growth has been registered specifically in the IT-BPO and manufacturing sectors. 
 

Total economic zone investments approved for the period January 1 - July 31, 2020 amount to PhP 52.01 Billion, which is 27% lower compared to 2019 investments worth PhP 71.21 Billion. These investments came from 164 new and expansion projects.

For foreign direct investments, PEZA increased 26% or PhP 36.26 Billion compared to PhP 28.75 Billion from the same period in 2019. For local investments, PEZA recorded PhP 15.75 Billion which is 63% decrease from last year’s figure of PhP 42.46 Billion.

For its actual exports and employment data for the period of January 1 to June 30, 2020, PEZA reported US$ 24.81 Billion and 1,476,076 million for employment. Compared to 2019, PEZA posted a 7% decline for exports and 3% decline for employment.

Growth in IT-BPO and manufacturing

For the Manufacturing sector, investments increased by 24% or PhP 23.34 Billion compared to only PhP 18.77 Billion last year.

For the IT-BPM sector, PEZA recorded PhP 11.40 Billion which is 37% higher than last year’s PhP 8.32 Billion investment.

Symbol of hope amidst the crisis

Plaza remains positive that the agency and the country as a whole will be able to bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic affected our economy badly. It’s now been reported that we’re in a recession, with the country’s GDP shrinking to 16.5% in the second quarter,” said Plaza.

“Nevertheless, we at PEZA remain hopeful to bounce back from this. We have to treat this crisis as both a lesson and an opportunity,” explained the PEZA Chief.

PEZA Board chairman and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez also shared the same sentiments as Plaza.

“In an economy that’s really offering a lot of good potential [and] bright opportunities like the Philippines, it’s okay to go back (for OFWs) because we have a lot of opportunities now than before. Yes, we’ve been challenged by the pandemic, I’m optimistic that we can easily bounce back. It may take a while because of the pandemic but we will go back to the [6-7%] growth rate,” said Lopez during the PEZA DOLLAR program launching in July 29.

Further, Plaza, “Even with the difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA continues to attract investors to the country and promote the creation of special economic zones especially in to the countryside that will become economic drivers in every region.”

“COVID-19 cannot stop PEZA in performing its mandate to register, manage, and operate public and private economic zones in the country. PEZA continues to attract investors to come and invest to the Philippines despite the crisis,” noted Plaza.

PEZA aggressively promotes creation of special ecozones in the countryside as PRRD reiterates AO 18 and EO 114 in SONA

PEZA aggressively promotes creation of special ecozones in the countryside as PRRD reiterates AO 18 and EO 114 in SONA
August 6, 2020
PEZA aggressively promotes creation of special ecozones in the countryside as PRRD reiterates AO 18 and EO 114 in SONA

06 August 2020 (Thursday)
 

Taguig City – “Even with the difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA will continue in attracting investors to the country and promoting the creation of special economic zones especially in the countryside that will become economic drivers in every region,” said Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.
 

The statement comes after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reiterated the importance of Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 during his fifth State of the Nation Address in July 27, 2020.

“Last year, I said that distributing economic and business activities is imperative to our country’s sustained and equitable growth. Today I reiterate that statement. I issued AO No. 18, directing concerned agencies to strengthen the development of Special Economic Zones in areas outside Metro Manila,” said the President.

PEZA 10-point program

In response the President’s call to create more special ecozones nationwide, PEZA has come up with its 10-point program which seeks to address the efficiency factors towards attracting and assisting investors, to create a globally competitive, sustainable, and environment-friendly business environment in our economic zones, and to train and transform Filipino workers into multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, rich human capital and world-class workers.

To put this vision into works, the PEZA Chief is coordinating with various agencies for faster implementation of the plans. These agencies include the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to improve the IT infrastructure, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to create more transportation and logistics hubs and public works infrastructure in every region, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to make more skills training programs to address the manpower needs of the industries, and of course, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

"We need to work together in promoting investments and ensuring positive investment climate, infrastructures, and supply chain in the country and make the Philippines an investment haven in Asia,” said Plaza.

Creation of more economic zones

With numerous infrastructure projects being developed by the national government under its Build, Build, Build program, Plaza said “we need to complement it with creation of more ecozones across to achieve the goal of spreading development and fully industrializing the country.”

According to Plaza, “ecozones will be drivers for economic recovery and growth in every region, which will help create jobs for the locals and complete the supply needs in the area. This will in turn boost socio-economic progress as well as reduce crime and poverty incidence in our regions as experienced by LGU hosts.”

In the period of January to June 2020, President Duterte signed a total of 12 proclamations for new PEZA-registered ecozones. There are still 63 pending applications for proclamation of new economic zones in the Office of the President.

DOLLAR Program

Aside from AO No. 18, President Duterte also mentioned Executive Order (EO) No. 114 which seeks to institutionalize the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program. The said program “consolidates and refocuses existing economic and social welfare programs, activities and projects toward the countryside.”

In support of the move, PEZA recently launched its online job expo and online skills training, two of the programs under its Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources (DOLLAR) program.

The Director General expressed that “Through the DOLLAR program, PEZA seeks to be a symbol of hope for our country and fellowmen to somewhat cushion the severe impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic to our economy and livelihood.”

PEZA Board chairman and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez showed support on the program saying, “This is really thinking out of the box on how we can really promote the creation of jobs amidst the pandemic.”

Likewise, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III commended PEZA for prioritizing the repatriated OFWs as “they are the most stable, industrious, and trust-worthy workers in the whole world.”

“The role of service providers and investment promoters of our economic zones cannot be over-emphasized… the active engagement of these key pillars, is the fuel to rev up our workforce,” said Bello.

Any interested job applicants may access the online job portal anytime, anywhere using their computers and smartphones using this link: www.workbank.com/dc/peza-online-job-fair.

The DOLLAR Job Expo will also kick off in Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) on August 17, Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) on August 25, and in Davao on August 19. The schedule in Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ) is yet to be confirmed due to the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) imposed in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, until August 18.

PEZA with DTI, DOLE launches DOLLAR program to open 69,081 jobs and counting, online skills training for OFWs, unemployed Filipinos 

PEZA with DTI, DOLE launches DOLLAR program to open 69,081 jobs and counting, online skills training for OFWs, unemployed Filipinos 
July 31, 2020
PEZA with DTI, DOLE launches DOLLAR program to open 69,081 jobs and counting, online skills training for OFWs, unemployed Filipinos 

31 July 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City – Becoming a symbol of hope for many Filipinos amidst the pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Office of Senator Bong Go, among other partners has finally launched the much-awaited DOLLAR online job expo and online skills training on Wednesday, July 29. 
 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza expressed that, “Through DOLLAR program, PEZA seeks to be a symbol of hope for our country and fellowmen to somewhat cushion the severe impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic to our economy and livelihood.”

“Even during these trying times, PEZA works on its goal to continually transform Filipinos into being multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers in every region of the country,” underlined Plaza.

PEZA has now opened the online portal of the job expo for all unemployed Filipinos and repatriated OFWs, with jobs for newly graduates and under work-from-home arrangements being offered. The portal can be accessed through www.workbank.com/dc/peza-online-job-fair. Any interested job applicants may access the website anytime, anywhere using their computers and smartphones.

In this online platform which can be found in PEZA website, the public, any interested Filipino working age, can search the available jobs which is a total of 69,081 and counting which are located in PEZA registered companies and ecozones.

Encouraging OFWs and commending industries

Present during the launching as among the keynote speakers and special guests, PEZA Board chairman and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez congratulated PEZA for its initiative to help the unemployed especially this time of pandemic.

“I am here to congratulate and support this noble project of PEZA. Now is the time to create these initiatives. This is really thinking out of the box on how we can really promote the creation of jobs amidst the pandemic," said Lopez.

The DTI Secretary pointed out that PEZA’s online job fair and skills trainings are very much aligned with the efforts being done by DTI and other agencies to aid our repatriated OFWs and the locally unemployed Filipinos.

“[Programs like this] will really empower our OFWs… In an economy that’s really offering a lot of good potential and bright opportunities just like the Philippines, it’s okay to go back because we have a lot of opportunities now than before,” said Lopez.

Saying that “basta may negosyo, may trabaho” so the continued operation of ecozones and its help to generating jobs cannot be overemphasized, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III likewise commended PEZA for prioritizing the repatriated OFWs as “they are the most stable, industrious, and trust-worthy workers in the whole world.”

“The role of service providers and investment promoters of our economic zones cannot be over-emphasized… the active engagement of these key pillars, is the fuel to rev up our workforce,” said Bello.

Lopez also commended the efforts of export companies like EMS Components and Assembly Inc. for “repurposing some of their manufacturing activities so that we can develop our capacity to develop domestically.” Notably, the Philippines’ export sector growing positively as of Jan-Feb 2020 right before the lockdown.

Like PEZA, DTI and DOLE remain positive that the Philippines and its people will be able to bounce back from the devastation brough about by this crisis.

Support to the BalikProbinsya Program

According to Plaza, “This move is in support of the Administrative Order (AO) no. 18 and Executive Order (EO) no. 114 otherwise known as “The BalikProbinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa Program”, which was originally proposed by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.”

Though he cannot join physically for the launching, Senator Go expressed his support to the DOLLAR program as it complements the Balik-Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa program. He described the DOLLAR program as PEZA’s initiative to generate or open employments for displaced workers in the time of pandemic is a form of “malasakit” to the Filipino people.

“This will surely help in attracting and encouraging investors to locate in the rural areas and in creating jobs for Filipinos, bringing in new technology, and lower poverty and crime incidence among others,” said Senator Go.

According to the PEZA Chief, “COVID cannot stop PEZA to perform its mandate to the Philippines and the Filipino people. With the present conditions, PEZA is more aggressive to implement its 10-point programs and special projects, which aims to fully industrializing the country, promote investments, and create employment.”

The DOLLAR Job Expo will also kick off in the three public economic zones and in Davao: August 6 in Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ), August 17 in Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ), August 19 in Davao SEZs, and August 25 in Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ).

The DOLLAR program’s Job Expo online job search platform is powered by WorkBankPhilippines Inc.while the Online Skills Training is powered in partnership with CREOTEC Philippines, Inc.

Attendees in the launching include the signatories of MOUs with PEZA for its Ka-PIPPs program that build partnerships with organizations and heads and officers of the Federation of Economic Zones Services Providers (FEZSP) who took their oath before Secretary Lopez.

PEZA to launch DOLLAR job expo, online skills training post-SONA to help employ jobless OFWs and job seekers

PEZA to launch DOLLAR job expo, online skills training post-SONA to help employ jobless OFWs and job seekers
July 25, 2020
PEZA to launch DOLLAR job expo, online skills training post-SONA to help employ jobless OFWs and job seekers

25 July 2020 (Saturday)
 

Taguig City – Maintaining its goal for the Philippines to be fully industrialized and become an investment hub for ecozones and export-production despite the COVID-19 crisis, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) initiates and spearheads the launching the Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources program, also known as the DOLLAR program on July 29, 2020.
 

As a post-SONA venture, PEZA will begin with the launching of the job expo and online skills training, two components of the five-part program. The said launching on Wednesday will be conducted at the PEZA Head Office in Taguig and will also be livestreamed via Zoom and on Facebook.

“PEZA is strongly committed and unrelenting to its efforts to promote investment and employment that will benefit the Filipino people amidst the pandemic. With the support of our 4,584 registered companies, PEZA initiates this job expo, which informs Filipinos that there are thousands of jobs awaiting in our different types of ecozones,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Saturday.

Helping OFWs and Balik-Probinsya program

The PEZA Chief underlined that “The DOLLAR Program is PEZA’s support to Administrative Order No. 18 and Executive Order (EO) No. 114, or the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program.”

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, the original proponent of EO No. 114 of the Duterte administration, has been invited to grace the event, which will be done both physically and virtually. The physical engagement for the event will be limited in compliance with the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) guidelines in effect to date.

Saying that COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard our countrymen and our nation since March, the PEZA Chief explained that “The DOLLAR Job Expo and Online Skills Training programs are PEZA’s initiatives to help thousands of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as well as the locally laid-off workers rendered jobless by the pandemic.”

“Unemployed Filipinos of any working age are also encouraged to apply,” added Plaza. She also urged non-discrimination on age and gender in the hiring of workers

in the ecozones. PEZA’s registered ecozones and companies include IT-BPOs, manufacturing and assembly lines including for electronics, garments, and agro-industrial, among others.

The theme of the DOLLAR program launching is “Jobs, Online Skills Training, and Livelihood Fair for OFWs, Job Seekers, Farmers, and Entrepreneurs in support of the Balik-Probinsya Program.

Job vacancies in PEZA’s DOLLAR program

As of July 16, 2020, there are a total of 69,081 projected job openings across the Philippines. According to the report from Locator Enterprises located in Public and Private Economic Zones in Cluster I, which includes CALABARZON, Pampanga, and NCR, there are about 23,644 job openings.

Meanwhile in Cluster II, there are 14,126 openings according to the 294 Visayas and Mindanao locator respondents of its online survey. There are also 2,500 job vacancies reported in Baguio and other locators in the north under Cluster III.

Moreover, investment projects that were approved during the May 21 and July 10 PEZA Board meetings are also expected to create a total of 28,811 jobs that will be located in various areas in the Philippines.

Interested job applicants may check the vacancies through an online portal powered by Workbank Philippines Inc. The link for said website will officially be released on July 29, in line with the DOLLAR Ceremonial Launching.

After the July 29 launching, the DOLLAR Job Expo will also kick off in the three public economic zones: Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ), Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ), and Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ), and in Davao in various dates in August.

PEZA-BatStateU launches the first KIST Park in PH

PEZA-BatStateU launches the first KIST Park in PH
July 21, 2020
PEZA-BatStateU launches the first KIST Park in PH

21 July 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has welcomed Batangas State University (BatStateU) as the Philippines’ first-ever Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology (KIST) Park, which was officially launched online yesterday, July 20, 2020, in observance of the COVID-19 measures.
 

The KIST Park was initiated by PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza as one of the new types of special economic zones, which will finally put to use the millions of hectares of idle lands of the State Universities and Colleges’ (SUCs) landholdings.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte officially designated BatStateU as a PEZA-registered special economic zone through Proclamation No. 947, signed on May 22, 2020. PEZA granted BatStateU its registration under Certificate of Registration No. EZ-20-07.

According to the PEZA Chief, “Being a KIST Park will now enable BatStateU to partner with foreign schools to bring their programs so we can create a more skilled Filipinos as we embark on transforming our workforce to become multi-skilled, multi-knowledge, and world class.”

PEZA Board chairman and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez added, “Ang KIST Park ay siguradong makakatulong sa pagbunsod ng kapasidad at kakayahan ng BatStateU na magsagawa ng mga pananaliksik para matugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng industriya pati na rin ang pag-incubate ng mga start-up enterprises upang matugunan ang demand ng mga merkado.”

Likewise, BatStateU President Tirso Ronquillo expressed that, “with this development, SUCs in the Philippines can expand their programs for industry, academe, market synergy, technopreneurship, business incubation acceleration based on innovation and knowledge procreation in science and technology.”

SEZ Institute partnership

On July 13, PEZA, BatStateU, and the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) have also signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to partner with the university in establishing a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute in the area.

Plaza noted that “The SEZ Institute aims to provide skills training, research, etc. based on the type of industry identified in the region and be partner with SUCs with competence to transform every Filipino worker into multi-skilled, world class, and rich human capital, addressing one of the efficiency factors investor are looking for.”

PEZA economic zones

According to Plaza, “PEZA is spreading the creation of different types of ecozones like the KIST Park nationwide, especially to the countryside. This is by the virtue of the Administrative Order no. 18 and in support of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program (Executive Order no. 114).”

“Through the KIST and skills training programs, we can spread not just investments but also employment, technology, and skills. to attain the total development of the Philippines,” noted the PEZA Chief.

President Rodrigo has signed a total of 12 proclamations for new PEZA-registered ecozones, including the BatStateU KIST Park, since January 2020.

Since 2016, when Duterte became President and appointed Director General Plaza in PEZA, there are now a total of 73 proclaimed new ecozones comprising of one (1) Agro-Industrial Economic Zone, fifty-two (52) Information Technology Centers, nine (9) Information Technology Parks, ten (10) Manufacturing Economic Zones, and one (1) Medical Tourism Center. A total of ₱ 88.3 Billion investments have been brought about by the 73 ecozones, which were proclaimed from October 2016 – June 2020.

To date, there are still 63 pending applications for proclamation of new economic zones in the Office of the President. “Once signed, these will bring in export companies to the Philippines. PEZA’s different type of economic zones are built or proclaimed in accordance to the land available and efficiency and environmental factors in the location. It is assessed if the type of industry is viable or suitable in the area,” said Plaza.

PEZA’s Investment Promotion Global links widens 

PEZA’s Investment Promotion Global links widens 
July 21, 2020
PEZA’s Investment Promotion Global links widens 

21 July 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – Committed to its balancing acts to keep the Philippine economy competitive amidst best efforts by government for effective management of health situations in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza assures that “PEZA continues in its efforts to attract international investments to country and widen global linkages even during this time of pandemic.” 
 

Ahe statement comes as PEZA signed on July 16 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with 86Links, an industrial internet platform that connects enterprises and industrial parks globally.

According to the MOU signed, the parties agreed to jointly work together in the construction of the technologies, products, services and total solutions in all links of the online promotion of the economic zones and industrial parks on 86links platform and other projects in the scope of cooperation or projects.

The Director General expressed, “We feel honored that a highly distinguished online platform that provides a directory of the top economic zones worldwide recognized PEZA and graciously offered to include PEZA’s economic zones in its online roster of world-class economic zones.”

According to Plaza, “PEZA’s partnership with 86Links will now allow us to promote the Philippine economic zones around the globe, especially in the new normal brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As of May 2020, PEZA has 408 economic zones nationwide with 4,584 locator companies directly employing 1.6 million Filipino workers.

Plaza noted that, “Having PEZA ecozones posted in 86Links’ portal will greatly contribute to our investment promotion efforts, especially as we try to reach more Chinese companies and introduce to them the abounding investment opportunities that await them in the Philippines.

The partnership is likewise a development in PEZA’s efforts to attract more investment promotion partners or Ka-PIPPs.

PEZA KAPIPPs

Part of PEZA’s new 10-point program, PEZA aims to build partnership with Ka-PIPPs including international and domestic business chambers and industries associations, POs, NGOs and Socio-Civic groups to help market and promote PEZA ecozones and investment promotion programs worldwide.

Plaza shared, “PEZA is also Ka-PIPPs will also create a business-and-pleasure package, an inbound tour package for potential foreign investors to ecozones in the Philippines as well as tourism destinations.”

According to the Director General, “PEZA is now working on various MOUs with our Ka-PIPPs. This will be signed by industry associations, foreign chambers, the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) as well as OFW organizations who are helping to market and promote PEZA’s Ecozones to world investors.”

Virtual Investment Forums

PEZA is now conducting a series of online investment forums to attract investors to come and invest in the Philippines and help develop the potential the country has to offer even with the COVID-19 crisis.

PEZA continues to perform its mandate to register, manage, and operate public and private economic zones in the country as well as attract both foreign and local investors to the country.

“We hope to tap every possible resource and platform which can help us promote the Philippines as the next ideal destination for Chinese and other foreign investments,” noted the PEZA Chief.


COVID-19 cannot stop PEZA: Board okays 50 new projects to bring in PhP 22.5 Billion investments

COVID-19 cannot stop PEZA: Board okays 50 new projects to bring in PhP 22.5 Billion investments
July 15, 2020
COVID-19 cannot stop PEZA: Board okays 50 new projects to bring in PhP 22.5 Billion investments

15 July 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – Committed to its balancing acts to address the impact of the COVID-19 to the Philippine economy and health situations in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Board has approved on July 10 a total of new 50 projects, which will bring about PhP 22.5 Billion investments and generate 8,917 employment.
 

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “The approval of new projects and investments is the agency’s positive action to continuously support the Philippine economy in our endeavor to maintain our competitiveness for investments despite the impact of COVID-19.”

A total of 33 new projects have been approved by the Board for ecozone enterprises. The projects are newly approved investment activities in existing or operating locator companies. These will now generate a total of PhP 13.8 Billion investments and create 7,116 employment.

Moreover, 17 new projects have likewise been approved for ecozone development. The new projects are comprised of 10 new ecozone proposals and seven ecozone facilities enterprise projects. Of these projects, a total of PhP 8.7 Billion of investments will be brought in and 1,801 workers are expected to be employed.

“COVID-19 cannot stop PEZA in performing its mandate to register, manage, and operate public and private economic zones in the country. PEZA continues to attract investors to come and invest to the Philippines despite the crisis,” noted Plaza.

As of May 2020, PEZA has created a total of PhP29.54 Billion investments and approved a total of 113 projects. The agency also directly employed a total of 1.6 million workers and generated $4.362 Billion exports as of January 2020.

PEZA to launch DOLLAR program’s job fair for repatriated OFWs, those laid off workers due to pandemic

PEZA to launch DOLLAR program’s job fair for repatriated OFWs, those laid off workers due to pandemic
July 8, 2020
PEZA to launch DOLLAR program’s job fair for repatriated OFWs, those laid off workers due to pandemic

08 July 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – Showing positive action for Bayanihan during a global crisis, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will now be launching a Job Fair to cater to the arriving 62,000 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as well as the locally laid-off workers rendered jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

The said move is a project under PEZA’s Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources (Human Resource, Technical Resource, Natural Resource, and Financial Resource) program, or also known as the PEZA DOLLAR program.

“We will now be launching the first-ever job fair in preparation for the arrival of repatriated OFWs. Our jobless OFWs will be the priority in the said activity but the job fair will likewise be open to unemployed Filipinos,” noted PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

Plaza added, “We have gathered data on the job opportunities within PEZA’s 4,542 locator companies and 408 economic zones to help our fellowmen get jobs and be able to cope with the effect of the pandemic.”

As of July 6, the total number of projected jobs reached 60,164. This include data from PEZA clusters reports and the projected employment of the 26 new projects approved by the PEZA Board.

According to the report from Locator Enterprises located in Public and Private Economic Zones in Cluster I, which include CALABARZON, Pampanga, and NCR, there are about 23,644 job openings. In Cluster II, there are 14,126 openings according to the 294 respondents of its survey while there are 2,500 job vacancies reported in Cluster III.

Meanwhile, the PEZA Board-approved 26 new projects in the month of April and May 2020, which will be located in various areas nationwide, are projected to open 19,894 positions available to Filipino workers. This will increase as there are more projects to be approved by the PEZA Board in its coming meeting this July 10.

PEZA DOLLAR sub-projects
Aside from the Job Fair, there are four other sub-projects under the DOLLAR program. These are the following:

1. Innovation & Livelihood Expo – Locators and other PEZA-registered enterprises need project-based suppliers which can be outsourced from our entrepreneurs and small and single proprietor business owners.

2. Online SEZ Training – Online SEZ Institute skills training for all ages and other potential skills training.

3. Import and Export Expo – This provides matching of our local produce and raw materials with that of the need of our exporters.

4. Logistics, Transportation, Utilities and Supply Chain Expo – Through Joint Ventures and PPP, this aims to accelerate rural progress and build eco-towns, eco-cities, and new metropolitan areas in every region.

According to Plaza, “The DOLLAR program aims to promote and accelerate industrial, economic, and social development of the country so that jobs can be provided for the Filipino people especially among those living in rural areas.”

The PEZA Chief noted that, “The Philippines is rich in both human capital and natural resources. The Filipino workforce is sought-after by foreign investors because they are young, dynamic, intelligent, equipped with global-knowledge and skills, and can speak English well.”

“Aside from its mandate to register, manage, and operate public and private economic zones in the country, it is PEZA’s goal to transform Filipinos into being multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers in every region of the country,” said Plaza.

The DOLLAR program will be fully implemented in coordination with its ecozones, LGUs, locators, and industry associations in the coming months. Their inputs and expertise will help map out jobs, livelihood, and develop other resource opportunities.

“Once we are able to finalize the procedure for the program and DOLLAR Job Fair online job search platform in our website, we will implement the job fair using both physical and virtual avenues with strict observance of the quarantine measures. This is just one of the many ways we can help our country and fellowmen cope with the effect of the pandemic. We can make through it with our Bayanihan spirit,” noted Plaza.

PEZA aims to have a soft launching of the DOLLAR job fair on Monday, July 13. The agency is now coordinating with the Office of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go for a partnership on the event.

“The DOLLAR program and its sub-projects will be an avenue to respond in the President’s call to spread the development of economic zones in the countryside (Administrative Order No. 18). This is also in support to the “Balik-Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa” program of the administration, attracting and encouraging investors to locate in the rural areas and fully utilize the country by creating jobs for Filipinos, bringing in new technology, and lower poverty and crime incidence among others,” noted Plaza.

PEZA continues ‘balancing acts’ to protect the health and retain 1.6 million jobs and 78% export companies operational, supports DOF’s call to revive the economy

PEZA continues ‘balancing acts’ to protect the health and retain 1.6 million jobs and 78% export companies operational, supports DOF’s call to revive the economy
July 2, 2020
PEZA continues ‘balancing acts’ to protect the health and retain 1.6 million jobs and 78% export companies operational, supports DOF’s call to revive the economy

02 July 2020 (Thursday)
 

Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has reported that “PEZA has highly maintained the economy with majority of its companies operational and its employees working amidst the COVID-19 crisis.”
 

According to reports collected by PEZA from its ecozones about status of operations for the period of June 11-15, 2020, a total of 2,517 companies or 78%, are operating nationwide. Continued operations have allowed 1,180,557 workers or 75% to continue working even under skeletal work force or work-from-home arrangements.

Out of 2,688 companies in Luzon, 2,139 companies or 80% are operating. In Visayas and Mindanao, companies operating are 355 companies or 70% and 43 companies or 90% respectively.

For industries, 78% of IT/BPO companies and 88% of manufacturing companies are operating.

Meanwhile, only about 700 companies, or 22%, have stopped its operations, affecting about 386,587 employees.

Plaza explained that, “There are various ways in which we can help our country cope with this new reality. Such includes implementing ‘balancing acts’ to protect the Filipinos’ health and welfare, jobs, and the economy.”

PEZA’s balancing acts

“Since the start of this crisis, PEZA has done its best to implement effective balancing acts to protect the health and welfare of its workers and in assisting the continuous operations of its ecozones and export companies,” noted Plaza.

The Director General added that, “PEZA has implemented stringent procedures in compliance to the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).” Such the implementation of strict social distancing measures, the usage of thermal scanning equipment, alcohol, sanitizers, PPEs, and face masks, and regular disinfection of workplace / production areas among others.

PEZA also required its registered enterprises to provide accommodation for their employees inside and/or within the immediate vicinity of the zone and provide shuttle services to help employees get to work.

Several memos are also being released to guide and issue directives to our registered enterprises that continue to operate in this ‘new normal’. These are being issued to ecozones directly through the Zone Managers and these are posted and available at the PEZA website.

“It is our top priority that our ecozones are COVID-free after following these measures,” noted Plaza.

The Director General added that “PEZA is thankful for its locator companies and ecozone operators for their cooperation and compliance to PEZA's health and quarantine measures and protocols, maintaining its 4,542 locator companies and 408 economic zones as COVID-free, and majority of its companies operational for the benefit of 1.6 million workers.”

Further, PEZA launched initiatives to jumpstart with its support to its registered companies, industries and locators including the agency’s support to immediate economic recovery post COVID-19.

“PEZA implemented economic stimulus and adjustments to its existing policies to assist and support the rehabilitation and business continuity plans of the export enterprises as well as enhance the efficiency factors to put back a more vibrant economy,” said the PEZA Chief.

Plaza backs DOF’s call to put NCR and CALABARZON under MGCQ

Plaza has likewise backed the call of Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to place Metro Manila and Calabarzon the more lenient modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) “as quickly as possible” to boost the country’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The statement comes after Secretary Dominguez reported the status of the Philippines’ finances during the report of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the COVID crisis.

According to Plaza, “I agree with Secretary Dominguez that Metro Manila and Calabarzon must already be placed under MGCQ as it is where majority of the economy is based.”

“We cannot anymore afford to place these areas under GCQ because it will further impact the economy and in effect, grievously affect our countrymen,” said the PEZA Chief.

Senator Franklin Drilon also backed the call, saying that “any further delay in the easing of quarantine restrictions in these two economic centers will cause further damage to our economy and our people who have lost their livelihood."

In June 30, President Duterte announced that the whole of NCR and other parts of Luzon including Calabarzon will remain under the general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 15.

Plaza: Let’s keep existing investors and 6.5 million direct & indirect ecozone jobs, add economic stimulus to restore vibrant economy

Plaza: Let’s keep existing investors and 6.5 million direct & indirect ecozone jobs, add economic stimulus to restore vibrant economy
June 24, 2020
Plaza: Let’s keep existing investors and 6.5 million direct & indirect ecozone jobs, add economic stimulus to restore vibrant economy

24 June 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – While uncertainties remain on how soon the country can end the pandemic and flatten the curve from the 31,825 cases reached as of June 23, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Chief has called for the Government to help keep existing investors by maintaining status quo on its incentives as well as the retention of its authority and powers as provided under Republic Act no. 7916 or the Special Economic Zone Act.
 

“It’s a double whammy that many Filipinos, both OFWs abroad and Filipinos here in the country are losing jobs, at the same time the Philippines is becoming less competitive to ASEAN neighbors in attracting the transferring investors and instead be susceptible to investors leaving the country during this pandemic. In this context, PEZA remains firm in its position to call for a status quo for its tried, tested, proven, and globally competitive incentives package, hence an exemption from the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) bill, formerly known as the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act (CITIRA) bill,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

“With the world recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, export companies are expected to consolidate their resources in branches from other countries and close those located in countries without investor-friendly incentives and unstable economic and investment conditions,” Plaza says.

According to Plaza, “The status quo shall also afford stability and confidence among registered enterprises and sustain the reputation of the government that it honors and respects existing contracts and/or agreements.”

The Director General noted that, “PEZA's registered companies should have a status quo of the current gross income tax (GIT) regime. The GIT, in lieu of all national and

local taxes, is one of PEZA’s significant attractions in generating investments. It facilitates the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) in PEZA Ecozones.”

“Likewise, there is a need to provide a minimum 5-year rehabilitation period for the ecozone export-oriented locators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because they are businesses vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic that impacted global trade, exports, and imports,” noted Plaza.

“Keeping the trust and confidence of our existing investors FDIs and Filipino exporters and domestic enterprises must be our priority in restoring back the economy and investment interests in the country,” quips the PEZA Chief.

She added, “Tax reforms must happen where they are needed and this is for domestic markets, not for export-oriented tax incentives. We should instead enhance it given the global competition for investments. Government leaders and lawmakers need to recognize the fact that the Philippines’ edge for FDIs is our existing tax incentives.”

Addressing efficiency factors

Plaza reiterates the importance of “implementing an enhanced economic stimulus package for our exporters and ecozone operators that will address the country’s lacking efficiency factors for investments like digital and physical infrastructures and lower power rates.”

According to the Director General, “Instead of tinkering with current provisions of the tax incentives, we must help our investors who must be given assistance and reprieves to be able to rehabilitate from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

PEZA’s inputs to the PESA bill

PEZA has submitted its inputs in the Philippine Economic Stimulus Act (PESA) bill to the Congress. The recommendations include the creation of more economic zones to spread development in the countryside as well as providing more public works infrastructures, cheaper and quality power and utilities, construction of logistics and transportation hubs and food terminals in every region.

“We must develop our millions of hectares of idle lands by creating more economic zones based on what is the natural resource in the area to complete the supply chain and remove our import-dependence. This way, we can attract investors to invest in the countryside and fully industrialize the area by bringing in new jobs and new technology among others,” explained Plaza.

The Director General added, “With 40,000 returning jobless OFWs, they must be facilitated with jobs and livelihood support to encourage them to go back home to their provinces.”

Plaza noted, “Retaining the current fiscal incentives of PEZA will be valuable towards achieving the directives of President Duterte under Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 entitled “Accelerating Rural Progress through Robust Development of Special Economic Zones in the Countryside” and Executive Order (EO) No. 114 known as “Institutionalizing the Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Program as a Pillar of Balanced Regional Development, Creating a Council Therefore, and for Other Purposes”.

“We will leave the decision to the wisdom of our respected senators but we'll continue to call for a much careful study of the CITIRA/CREATE bill in order to keep our 4,542 export companies and its 6.5 million directly and indirectly employed workers,” concluded Plaza.

“We call on our LGUs, the private sector, the farmers, and the MSMEs to take on this opportunity and promote investments in the countryside,” said the Director General.

Since 2016, when Duterte became President and appointed Director General Plaza in PEZA, there are now a total of 73 proclaimed new ecozones in the period of 2016 to current date in 2020 which are comprised of one (1) Agro-Industrial Economic Zone, fifty-two (52) Information Technology Centers, nine (9) Information Technology Parks, ten (10) Manufacturing Economic Zones, and one (1) Medical Tourism Center. ₱ 88.3 Billion is the total amount of investments brought about by the 73 ecozones proclaimed from October 2016 – June 2020.

Now in its 25th year since it was when it was established by Republic Act 7916 on February 21, 1995, a revolutionized PEZA aims to add its present 408 economic zones nationwide, 4,542 locator companies directly and indirectly employing 6.5 million Filipino workers as of May 2020.

Plaza: President Duterte’s newly proclaimed PEZA ecozones to yield ₱ 6.4 Billion investment and more in 2020

Plaza: President Duterte’s newly proclaimed PEZA ecozones to yield ₱ 6.4 Billion investment and more in 2020
June 10, 2020
Plaza: President Duterte’s newly proclaimed PEZA ecozones to yield ₱ 6.4 Billion investment and more in 2020

10 June 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza announces on Wednesday the approval of twelve (12) new economic zones as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the proclamations in the period of January to June 2020.
 

Plaza said that “PEZA is grateful to the President for his wise approval for the proclamation of new ecozones in the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Once export companies invest in these newly proclaimed ecozones, these will surely multiply investment and economic activities and opportunities in the Philippines.”

“The newly proclaimed ecozones are comprised of nine (9) IT Centers, (2) manufacturing ecozones, and one (1) IT Park. It is estimated that these will bring about a total of ₱ 6.4 Billion of investment to the country,” said the PEZA Chief.

“Majority of the new ecozones composing 67% of the total will be located in Luzon whereas the other 33.33% will be positioned in Visayas and Mindanao,” said Plaza.

Signed in January 2020 by President Duterte, the new SEZs were proclaimed under Proclamation Nos. 885, 889, and 895-897 respectively which include the following:

1. Abiathar Commercial Complex – IT Center

2. TDG Innovation and Global Business Solutions Center – IT Center

3. Millennium Industrial Economic Zone – Manufacturing

4. Ayala Bacolod Capitol Corporate Center – IT Center

5. Silver City 4 – IT Center

Meanwhile, the seven (7) other new ecozones were proclaimed under Proclamation Nos. 940, 946-950, and 953, which were signed by President Duterte on May 5, May 22, and June 2, 2020 respectively. These include the following:

6. Davao del Sur Industrial Economic Zone – Manufacturing

7. BatStateU Knowledge, Innovation and Science Technology Park – IT Park

8. GLAS Office Development – IT Center

9. Bench City Center – IT Center

10. Ortigas Technopoint Tower 1 & 2 – IT Center

11. NEX Tower – IT Center

12. Robinsons Luisita 2 – IT Center

Retention of PEZA powers and incentives

Referring to how Philippines continue to attract investments in ecozones, the PEZA Chief said that “Despite the lacking efficiency factors, we’re able to continue to attract investors in the country because of our incentives which are tried, tested, and proven to be globally competitive.”

She added further that “It is PEZA’s best practices, one-stop-shop, ease of doing business, and tax incentives that are the strong factors attracting foreign investors in the Philippines and export-oriented industries, aside from our rich natural and human resources.”

“This is the reason why we are appealing for the status quo of PEZA’s incentives and powers. Moreover, PEZA urges the Congress to legislate an enhanced economic stimulus that will support our export-oriented companies to bring in huge capital investments, millions of jobs, transfer of new technology, and trigger the growth and development of domestic enterprises,” explained Plaza.

The Director General stated, “The Philippine government must improve its fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and budget support for the public works and IT infrastructure and the building of new logistics and transportation hubs. Also, Philippines need to lower power rates and complete the supply chain. We also need to provide skills training programs that match the manpower needs of our investors to transform the Filipino workers to become multi-skilled, multi-knowledge, and world-class workers.”

“Once these efficiency factors are addressed, it will lower the cost of doing business and will make the country an investment haven in Asia. This will likewise attract more export-oriented industries to locate to the Philippines that would triple the economic gains and inject more investments to the country,” assured Plaza.

“The COVID pandemic indeed taught us a lesson to become self-reliant, self-sustaining, and revenue-generating to take care of our environment and be responsible in utilizing our natural resources. Thus, PEZA’s programs aim for environment-friendly industrialization and the creation of green, healthy, sustainable, and smart ecozones,” said Plaza.

Since 2016, when Duterte became President and appointed Director General Plaza in PEZA, there are now a total of 73 proclaimed new ecozones comprising of one (1) Agro-Industrial Economic Zone, fifty-two (52) Information Technology Centers, nine (9) Information Technology Parks, ten (10) Manufacturing Economic Zones, and one (1) Medical Tourism Center. ₱ 88.3 Billion is the total amount of investments brought about by the 73 ecozones proclaimed from October 2016 – June 2020.

To date, PEZA registered and manages a total of 408 economic zones nationwide. The number may increase as public, private lands or even ancestral domain lands can be registered to PEZA as ecozone by the LGU concerned and through private sector initiative.

Also, PEZA has a total of 4,542 locator companies directly and indirectly employing 6.5 million Filipino workers as of May 2020.

PEZA’s different types of economic zones to become economic drivers in PH regional and countryside growth

PEZA’s different types of economic zones to become economic drivers in PH regional and countryside growth
June 10, 2020
PEZA’s different types of economic zones to become economic drivers in PH regional and countryside growth

PEZA’s different types of economic zones to become economic drivers in PH regional and countryside growth

10 June 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has assured that PEZA’s newly proclaimed and more economic zones will become economic drivers in the countryside and the country’s regions. This comes after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed twelve (12) new economic zones proclamations in the period of January to June 2020.
 

According to Plaza, “Despite the current uncertainties brought about by the pandemic, PEZA remains true to its mandate to bring about investment to the country and create special economic zones, both vertical and horizontal, that will become economic drivers in creating smart towns, cities and new metropolitan areas in every region.”

The newly proclaimed ecozones are comprised of nine (9) IT Centers, (2) Manufacturing ecozones, and one (1) IT Park. These will bring about a total of ₱ 6.4 Billion of investment to the country.

“Ecozones are sources or platforms of new technological transfer and innovations. It is important to note that Local government unit (LGU) hosts of ecozones benefit from the presence of ecozones which improve their income and classification to a higher level compared to the absence of ecozones in some areas,” said Plaza.

The Director General stated, “Ecozones contribute to social progress by lowering poverty, crime incidence, and insurgency because of the infusion of huge capital investments, new technology, and the creation of millions of jobs for the Filipinos."

Plaza explained that “Through whole-of-government approach, let us aim for the Philippines to become self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and revenue-generating. PEZA aims to continually help the economy to be export and production driven and eradicate our importation and consumption dependence.”

“We must harness and properly utilize our own rich natural resources and complete the supply chain and make every Filipino contribute to a vibrant economy and the country’s total development,” stated the PEZA Chief.

Spread development in the countryside

Meanwhile, one of PEZA's 10-point programs and special projects is to establish more public economic zones outside Metro Manila in order to attract more investors to the countryside. This is in line with President Duterte’s Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program also known as Executive Order No. 114 signed on May 6, 2020, and Administrative Order No. 18. signed on June 17, 2019.

The PEZA Chief added, “With the support of other government agencies, we can further improve the efficiency factors of the countryside in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and achieve the vision to make Philippines as investment hub in Asia.”

“PEZA fully supports the President’s vision of spreading development to the countryside including investment, jobs, and develop our millions of hectares idle lands and make the country self-reliant, self-sustaining, and revenue generating,” said Plaza.

“We call on our LGUs, the private sector, the farmers, and the MSMEs to take on this opportunity and promote investments in the countryside,” said the Director General.

Since 2016, when Duterte became President and appointed Director General Plaza in PEZA, there are now a total of 73 proclaimed new ecozones in the period of 2016 to current date in 2020 which are comprised of one (1) Agro-Industrial Economic Zone, fifty-two (52) Information Technology Centers, nine (9) Information Technology Parks, ten (10) Manufacturing Economic Zones, and one (1) Medical Tourism Center. ₱ 88.3 Billion is the total amount of investments brought about by the 73 ecozones proclaimed from October 2016 – June 2020.

Now in its 25th year since it was when it was established by Republic Act 7916 on February 21, 1995, a revolutionized PEZA aims to add its present 408 economic zones nationwide, 4,542 locator companies directly and indirectly employing 6.5 million Filipino workers as of May 2020.

PEZA to launch DOLLAR, a livelihood & job fair, export & import trade fair

PEZA to launch DOLLAR, a livelihood & job fair, export & import trade fair
June 8, 2020
PEZA to launch DOLLAR, a livelihood & job fair, export & import trade fair

08 June 2020 (Monday)
 

Taguig City – Under the leadership of Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will soon launch its Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources (Human Resource, Technical Resource, Natural Resource, and Financial Resource) program, or also known as the PEZA DOLLAR program.
 

The program is part of PEZA’s new 10 programs and special projects. Moreover, the DOLLAR program is also in line with President Duterte's Balik Probinsya program also known as Executive Order No. 114 which was signed on May 6, 2020, and Administrative Order No. 18 which was signed on June 17, 2019.

AO No. 18 seeks to accelerate rural progress in the countryside through the development of special economic zones and thus ensure the continuous improvement of the economy through various investments in infrastructures, agriculture, business, transportation, and building resilient communities.

PEZA aims to spread development of the countryside by promoting rural development, and to encourage nationwide economic activity and generate more income outside of Metro Manila. This will also lead to the economic growth of local government units (LGUs) which will be hosting the viable and environment-friendly ecozones,” said Director General Plaza.

PEZA’s 10-point program

The goal of PEZA’s ten-point program is to fully industrialize, and enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia.

First among its three objectives is to attract and assist investors to participate in the improvement of the infrastructure, utilities, logistics, transportation, communication, facilities and information technology through partnership with both international, national, and local agencies and associations as well as the private sector. Secondly,

the program seeks to create a globally competitive, sustainable, and environment-friendly business environment in the economic zones that will fully utilize idle lands, maximize production, manufacturing and export capability of the country, eradicate import dependence and enhance local value added of export producers. Lastly, its third objective is to train and transform workers in to being multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, rich human capital and world-class works.

Programs under the 10-point program includes the creation of eco-towns, metropolitan areas, sustainable and smart ecozones, food terminals, transportation, logistics hubs, communication, information and support infrastructures, and special economic zone institutes in every region. Additionally, there will also be ecozone tourism investment forum and roadshows for potential foreign investors to different ecozones in the Philippines.

In order to promote ecozones worldwide, PEZA also partners with international and domestic business chambers, industries associations, nonprofit organization (NGOs), and Socio-Civic groups.

Lastly, a number of PEZA employees, ecozone developers, and industry workers are also part of military reservist units and the Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management (DREAM) response teams.

DOLLAR program objectives

Director General Plaza explains that “The objective of the DOLLAR program is to promote and accelerate industrial, economic, and social development of the country so that jobs can be provided for the Filipino people especially among those living in rural areas. This can be done by identifying job opportunities within PEZA’s 4,542 locator companies or its 408 economic zones some of which are located outside the congested Metro Manila.”

With the DOLLAR program, PEZA also seeks to help provide jobs for the 27,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been recently repatriated due to the COVID 19 pandemic affecting different countries. It is reported that there are 42,000 more OFWs who are expected to arrive this June.

Further, under the DOLLAR program, skills advancement for Filipinos will also be facilitated through PEZA’s partnership with state universities and industries (SUCs).

Director General Plaza stated that, “The Philippines is rich in both capital and natural resources. The Filipino workforce is sought after by foreign investors because they are young, dynamic, intelligent, equipped with global-knowledge and skills, and can speak English well. However, we need to train them further so that their skills will match the needs of the industries. PEZA’s goal is to transform Filipinos into being multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers in every region of the country.”

Coordination with LGUs, industry associations

PEZA’s DOLLAR program will be implemented in coordination with various LGUs, public ecozones, locators, and industry associations. Their inputs and expertise will help map out jobs, livelihood, and develop other resource opportunities.

PEZA will launch the DOLLAR program simultaneously with PEZA DOLLAR Ecozone’s Fair which will help generate jobs, livelihood, and resource advancement opportunities in the countryside and other identified areas. This will be done in compliance to health and safety measures.

“Since every region has different needs and resources, this program will encourage the growth of domestic enterprises that will produce the importation needs of export enterprises so that the supply chain is completed and jobs are provided as well. In other words, domestic markets will align their production to the products usually imported by export-producing companies in the Philippines. Through this, exporters will increase local purchases and spur local economy,” pointed out Plaza.

The PEZA Chief emphasized that “The Philippines in 2020 and beyond should be self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and revenue-generating. It is PEZA’s aim that we continually help the economy to be export and production-driven and not merely importation and consumption dependent.”

 

PEZA, ECONOMISTS urgently appeal for status quo on incentives for exporters amidst fears on closures due to world recession

PEZA, ECONOMISTS urgently appeal for status quo on incentives for exporters amidst fears on closures due to world recession
June 3, 2020
PEZA, ECONOMISTS urgently appeal for status quo on incentives for exporters amidst fears on closures due to world recession

03 June 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza and 24 economists from the country’s top universities are unanimous in their appeal to Congress to maintain the status quo on PEZA’s tax incentives for export companies, and even enhance them through the Philippine Economic Stimulus Act to keep and benefit the 4,542 export-oriented companies in its 408 ecozones nationwide and the 6.5 million direct and indirectly employed Filipinos in the ecozones.
 

The PEZA Chief quips, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and world recession, export companies are now infusing and consolidating their operations and investments, transferring their production quota to more investor-friendly countries that offer lower cost of doing business and a generous incentive package.Definitely, the Philippines has been branded as a country with high cost of doing business and unstable economic and trade policies.That has always been the complaint of our investors who despite these uncertainties still brought their investments to the Philippines because the efficiency of PEZA and its globally-competitive incentive package compensated for the high cost of doing business in the country.”

“This is why we are appealing for the status quo on the tried and tested incentives of PEZA, instead of entering into a new incentive regime under CREATE, as well asprovide economic stimulus toimprove the efficiency factors such as public works infrastructure, IT infrastructure, logistics and transportation hubs, low cost of utilities, a highly-skilled workforce, a vibrant and complete supply chain,and stable investment and trade policies,” Plaza further added.

The 24 economists from the country’s top universities, namely the University of the Philippines, the Ateneo de Manila University, the De La Salle University, and the National Academy of Science and Technology sent their petition to Congress supporting PEZA’s appeal for status quo. Said economists expressed their opposition to the CREATE Bill in its current form on the grounds that “enterprises in export zones under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority will suffer from CREATE since their privilege to pay the gross income tax of 5% will expire after 4 to 9 years.In addition, CREATE proposes a flexible special incentive scheme that replaces rules by discretion. PEZA enterprises and foreign investors do not welcome this change from rules to discretion which is fraught with risk and uncertainty. And we simply cannot afford to add more uncertainty during this fragile recovery period from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The economists further claim that CREATE “sends a message of uncertainty to existing locators in PEZA, aggravating their already tenuous financial situation due to COVID-19 and generating a real risk of reducing the country’s export capacity and growth prospects in the years to come.”

They therefore recommend in their petition the unbundling of the important segments of CREATE and deliberating each segment in separate bills: one for corporate tax reforms and another for special fiscal and investment incentives, and another for PEZA. Hence, reiterating that the status quo on PEZA incentives be maintained, pending the enactment of a consolidated incentive act.

According to the PEZA Chief, “Instead of tinkering with current provisions of the tax incentives which are effective and working, PEZA calls for its enhancement so that present investors already here will stay.”

“Our government instead must give at least 5 years or more for our exporters to rehabilitate and recover from the effects of the COVID pandemic, and the status quo on PEZA’s globally-competitive incentive package, and supported by the economic stimulus package, must address the improvement of the efficiency factors to lower the cost of doing business in the country,” said Plaza.

In addition, as Director General Plaza puts it, “CREATE is perfect for the domestic enterprises and MSMEs, who deserve to be provided with lower CIT and rationalized incentives for them to complete the supply chain, to maximize the Filipino entrepreneurs’ production, manufacturing and export capability, and to make the country export and production-driven, rather than being an import and consumption-dependent economy, therefore making the country self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating.”

“We have to take care of the foreign direct investors and export companies because they infuse huge capital, create millions of jobs, bring in new technology, and develop our millions of hectares of idle lands. Likewise, exporters trigger and provide the economic stimulus, growth and development of MSMEs, our farmers and every Filipino, contributing to the overall development of the country,” Plaza adds.

 

 

PEZA and locator companies’ Bayanihan Act to repatriate OFWs and LSIs to CARAGA

PEZA and locator companies’ Bayanihan Act to repatriate OFWs and LSIs to CARAGA
June 2, 2020
PEZA and locator companies’ Bayanihan Act to repatriate OFWs and LSIs to CARAGA

02 June 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – With the leadership of Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has spearheaded the move to help repatriated OFWs and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) to go back home after being held in Metro Manila, other parts of Luzon, and Cebu due to the lockdown brought about by the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
 

Around 4,000 people have been stranded in Luzon and Visayas for ten weeks since the President approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to place Luzon under quarantine. Other parts of the country followed and imposed their own lockdowns in hopes to combat the spread of COVID.

“This initiative is a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of PEZA to help our fellowmen go back to their hometown and be with their family,” noted Plaza.

The PEZA Chief added that, “this would not be possible without the help of the volunteers, LGUs. and other agencies. Indeed, we heal as one if we unite and act as one.”

“We thank the office of Senator Bong Go, the IATF, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for helping PEZA in this movement and the City Health Offices of the LGUs in Cebu and Metro Manila for providing free medical checkup,” said Plaza.

Likewise, Plaza thanked “the Philippine Air Force (PAF) for accommodating 73 LSIs in the Villamor Clubhouse Hotel and the Philippine Army for housing 50 LSIs, mostly seniors, PWDs and children, in their sleeping facilities. Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vivencio Dizon and Clark Development Corporation (CDC) President Noel Manankil for providing shuttle bus services.”

Moreover, Plaza expressed gratitude to PEZA's locator companies like JTI and Panhua, Teradyne (Philippines) Ltd., NKC Manufacturing Inc., Island Central Mall, Sports City (Philippines) Inc., Del Monte Philippines Inc., On Semiconductor Philippines, Timex Phils. Inc., and Qualfon Inc., for providing transportation, donating PPEs and food for these LSIs.”

“We are still tapping more companies for help and assistance in this cause,” noted Plaza.

Plaza as well thanked the head organizers, Fred Changuanco and Erwin Irelands for Cebu and Ann Mayuga and Mona Buque for Metro Manila, and other volunteers for helping PEZA make this possible.

“Truly, cooperation is the key for government agencies and our countrymen to facilitate and balance our focus on public health and the continued production especially of essential products during this crisis,” noted Plaza.

For the duration of May 26-30, about 801 LSIs from Manila and 175 from Cebu have now arrived home thru this initiative.

Plaza explained that, “Observing the Department of Health’s (DOH) protocols, the stranded Caraganons underwent medical checkup prior to their flight and were given travel authority by the Philippine National Police (PNP) after they’ve been issued medical clearance.”

“Upon arrival in Region XIII, the respective LGUs will meet their constituents and bring them for COVID testing. The OFWs can go to their home residence and communities if when they are found negative of COVID,” added Plaza.

In coordination with Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and other passenger ferry companies like 2GO, more are being organized for sweeper flights until all the LSIs go back home. “PEZA is ready to help and assist those who wished to return home,” said Plaza.

PEZA appeals anew for status quo, enhancement of the economic stimulus package amid the COVID crisis

PEZA appeals anew for status quo, enhancement of the economic stimulus package amid the COVID crisis
June 2, 2020
PEZA appeals anew for status quo, enhancement of the economic stimulus package amid the COVID crisis

02 June 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – As Metro Manila transitioned to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza expressed again her appeal to Congress to maintain status quo for PEZA’s tax incentives as well as its power and authority on export-oriented investments in its 408 ecozones nationwide.
 

The PEZA Chief said that, “What we want to avoid is the closing down of companies in the country, or the reduction of their work forces which will lead to job loss for our people. We want to enhance our local manufacturing capabilities so that we will be able to complete our local supply chain amidst the pandemic and recovery from global crisis.”

Plaza reiterated that, “PEZA’s position and appeal to Congress is to maintain the status quo of its tax incentives granted under Republic Act 7916 as well as the retention of the power of PEZA. As the economy struggles during this pandemic, retention of incentives is the best guarantee we can give to our existing and new potential investors. Our incentives have already been tried, tested and proven over the years to attract investors and compete globally as attested to by industry associations and international institutions.”

Status quo of tax incentives will also preserve the jobs of over 6.5 million employed directly and indirectly by PEZA. In addition, PEZA also has 4,542 export companies in its 408 economic zones. PEZA’s current incentives are already tried and tested to be globally competitive.

Under the CREATE Bill, the transition period to new tax regime is maximum of 4 to 9 years. It means that the status quo will be kept for a maximum of 4 to 9 years for registered business activities to enjoy up to 5% of the gross income earned (GIE) incentive.

Meanwhile, according to Director General Plaza, “PEZA's proposal for a 5-year rehabilitation period is not referring to a transition or a shift to the CREATE Bill tax incentives package, but a rehabilitation period for our exporters.” According to PEZA' position on CREATE, PEZA's registered companies should have a status quo of 5 years of the current tax regime. There is a need to provide a minimum 5 years rehabilitation period for the ecozone export-oriented locators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because they are businesses vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic that impacted global trade, exports, and imports.

Enhancement of Economic Stimulus

According to the PEZA Chief, “Instead of tinkering with current provisions of the tax incentives, PEZA calls for its enhancement so that present investors already here will stay.”

“Our economic stimulus package of our exporters and ecozone operators must be given at least 5 years reprieve to be able to rehabilitate or recover from the effects of the COVID pandemic,” said Plaza.

In addition, as Director Plaza puts it, “CREATE must be for the domestic enterprises, who must be provided for the first time a carefully studied, well-calculated, manageable and a sustainable rationalized incentives package and a lowered CIT, let us stick with that.”

Economists back PEZA’s position on CREATE

Well-known Filipino economists have also backed PEZA’s view that CREATE as is, is still wanting.

Dr. Ramon L. Clarete, a professor from UP School of Economics, believes that “CITIRA, if passed by the Senate in the middle of the crisis, may just compel locators to re-assess their location decisions. Some important businesses, like electronics which take up about half of the country’s merchandise exports, are portable. If the tax perks under this new reform are not those that would give the best return, they may just move somewhere else. Rather than help stimulate economic recovery, which is unlikely while COVID-19 is still around, the proposed law could cut down our export capacity in years to come and dampens economic growth.”

Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza, a Dean from the Ateneo De Manila University, also gave a statement saying that “The only strong and steady recovery will be an inclusive one. To the administration that passed the Universal Health Care Law and the 4Ps Law, please double down on these two reforms as your singular legacy. Settle the uncertainty faced by investors, workers, and the nation’s poor and low-income population by strengthening the safety nets and health system needed to weather this crisis. It is wiser course of action compared to introducing new complicated reforms (and new uncertainties) like TRAIN2/CITIRA/CREATE.”

Lastly, Professor Raul V. Fatella (Ret.) from the University of the Philippines said that “Since by the DOF’s own calculation, the CIT equivalence of the 5% GIT is about 17 % CIT, potential new foreign investors in PEZA in the next two years stand to pay a higher tax liability (25% GIT) than incumbents paying 5% GIT (17% CIT). Telling foreign investors how much you want them at the same time that you slap them with a higher tax liability does not make for “more fun in the Philippines.” COVID-19 has weakened our bargaining position; our vaunted fiscal health is leaking out fast.”

PEZA Board approves 26 new investments in PH worth P13.1 Billion amid COVID crisis

PEZA Board approves 26 new investments in PH worth P13.1 Billion amid COVID crisis
May 29, 2020
PEZA Board approves 26 new investments in PH worth P13.1 Billion amid COVID crisis

29 May 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City – Showing a silver lining amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Board has approved a total of 26 projects in the month of April and May 2020 last Thursday, May 21. It was the first and only Board meeting conducted since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.
 

The said 26 new projects in various PEZA-registered ecozones nationwide will bring about investments that total to P13.1 Billion and that is projected to employ 19,894 Filipino workers.

Among the 26 newly approved investors, 31.50% are Filipino while 68.50% are of other descent such as American, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese among others.

“Being the top investment promotion agency in the country that contributes to export income, employment and investment for the Filipino nation, PEZA is glad to share positive news amidst the pandemic. The approval of new investments or projects is the agency’s positive action to support the Philippine economy in our endeavor to maintain our competitiveness for investments despite the impact of COVID,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

Plaza noted that, “Since PEZA’s creation in 1995, the ecozone locators of PEZA has invested a total of P3.894 Trillion in the country and has generated a total of $815.105 Billion of exports. Likewise, PEZA contributes to 64% of the Philippines’ exports of commodities and goods and 80% export services.”

“PEZA continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of its investors for its ease of doing business, efficiency and effectiveness, which is being recognized by both local and international institutions such as the IFC World Bank,” added the PEZA Chief.

To date, PEZA now has a total of 408 economic zones nationwide with 4,542 locator companies employing 1.6 million workers.

Amid the crisis, Plaza shared that “PEZA continues to implement balancing acts in addressing both the health and quarantine requirements and the continuous operations of some of its 4,542 companies nationwide.”

Based on the survey conducted for the period of May 1-25, 2020, there are around 1,701 PEZA-registered companies or 64.58% nationwide that are operating either in full operations, skeletal, or work-from-home arrangements. Meanwhile, there are 933 companies or 35.42% nationwide have suspended their operations.

“Indeed, the Philippines continue to maintain and attract trust and confidence of investors and business groups whether in terms of new or expansion projects. We must continue to do our best to attract investors. This can be done by enhancing PEZA’s internationally renowned one-stop-shop, tried and tested tax incentives, ease of doing business, quality human resource and natural resources, despite the underdeveloped factors the country have in terms of infrastructure, logistics facilities, and supply chain” explained the PEZA Chief.

PEZA Chief: Philippines’ investment advantage in economic recovery from pandemic is having rich human and natural resources

PEZA Chief: Philippines’ investment advantage in economic recovery from pandemic is having rich human and natural resources
May 22, 2020
PEZA Chief: Philippines’ investment advantage in economic recovery from pandemic is having rich human and natural resources

22 May 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City – “The Philippines will be an investment haven in Asia once its two biggest wealth, its human and natural resources, are tapped and responsibly utilized,” said Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza in her speech during the May 20 virtual forum “Free Zone 4.0: The Way Forward, Road to Recovery,” organized by the World Free Zones Organization that tackled the global economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
 

With 350 international participants from around the globe during the webinar, Plaza discussed how the current COVID crisis affected the Philippines and the measures being taken by the government and particularly by PEZA to cope with the ‘new normal.’

The PEZA Chief has likewise promoted the country's advantages relatively to other countries in the world and why it is best to invest in the Philippines.

“The Philippines is blessed with the two most important resources. Other countries have either, but not both the gift that can propel the economy of any nation like ours. The two most important resources are rich human and natural resources which are both endowed and present in the Philippines. It makes us unique amongst others," Plaza pointed out during the webinar.

PH rich human capital, natural resources

According to Plaza, “The Filipino work force is the most sought-after by foreign investors for being young, dynamic, intelligent, equipped with global-knowledge and skills, and English speaking which altogether make them easy to be trained in various industries. Likewise, Filipinos are known to be friendly, hospitable, and helpful.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data states that in 2019, there is “44.7 million economically active population comprising of either employed or unemployed persons.” Likewise, about a million Filipinos reach the working age of 18 annually.

Plaza stated that “Half of this population are college graduates but, their skills or professional degrees do not match the needs of the industries.” To help better train our workers, PEZA devised a program for the Filipino workforce to cope with the demands of the advancing world.

Under the leadership of Director General Plaza, PEZA's Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute project, in partnership with the state and private universities and colleges, hopes to make our workforce as our nation's asset. “SEZ institute program seeks to transform our young talented workforce as rich human capital, multi-knowledge, and multi-skilled world-class workers which will surely attract more investors to the country,” Plaza stated.

Plaza added that “The Philippines is likewise endowed with fertile soil and rich natural resources, which can become different finished products for export. This will allow the completion of the country's supply chain and sustain the food and other basic needs of the people.”

“It is time for our country to benefit on our own rich resources and to establish ourselves and eradicate our import-dependence,” noted the PEZA Chief.

Other factors that needs to be addressed

Despite the said two advantages, Plaza lamented that there are other lacking factors that need to be addressed in the country that requires the whole of government approach or support or crucial government agencies. Such includes public works and IT infrastructure, logistics and transportation hubs, and lower power and utilities rates, among others.

"Notwithstanding, PEZA’s incentives have been tried, tested, and proven over the years to attract investors in the country despite our lacking factors. Precisely, it is this context that incentives need to be enhanced to enhance our competitiveness and cope with global crisis, instead lessening it."

“An investor-friendly incentives and economic policies that will entice huge capital investments, create huge number of jobs, bring in the transfer of technology, develop our millions of hectares idle lands, and create smart towns and cities and new metropolitan areas in the countryside are needed to fill in the lacking factors and help fully industrialize the Philippines,” explained the PEZA Chief.

“Once these efficiency factors are addressed, the skills of our human resources are enhanced, and our natural resources are utilized responsibly, the Philippines will rise as Asia's investment haven,” said Plaza.

PEZA's COVID-Free, Green, Sustainable and Smart Ecozones Now Ready to Welcome More Investors to the Countryside

PEZA's COVID-Free, Green, Sustainable and Smart Ecozones Now Ready to Welcome More Investors to the Countryside
May 21, 2020
PEZA's COVID-Free, Green, Sustainable and Smart Ecozones Now Ready to Welcome More Investors to the Countryside

21 May 2020 (Thursday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) feat of COVID-free ecozones continually protects the health of its 1.6 million industry workers and employees. 
 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza explained that “The regular disinfection and hygiene practices of its 405 Economic zones and 4,506 locator companies amidst the threat of the COVID crisis assure existing and new investors of safe and secured workplaces.”

PEZA is the biggest contributor to export income to the country. 84% of its export service income is provided by its registered IT/BPOs, Tourism and Medical Tourism companies. On the other hand, 64% of its export income comes from manufacturing, conductors, semiconductors, processing, refining, and assembly companies registered in PEZA ecozones.

PEZA's registered industries and enterprises employ over seven million Filipinos, both directly and indirectly.

Additionally, ecozones are sources or platforms of new technological transfer and innovations. Local government units (LGUs) hosts of ecozones benefit from the presence of ecozones which improve their income classification to a higher level compared to the absence of ecozones in some areas. Ecozones contribute to social progress by lowering poverty and crime incidence.

Even under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implemented in Luzon and other parts of the country, PEZA--in coordination with the support of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Philippine National Police (PNP) – was able to provide services through its 60% operational companies nationwide.

According to Plaza, “There were several issues faced during operations under quarantines including: lowered production volume due to lack of imported raw materials; costly provision of housing and shuttle services; and limited skeletal workforce which forced other companies to stop operations. However, PEZA continually extends assistance in responding to the needs of our companies through our reprieves and economic stimulus to enable the industries to restore, rehabilitate, and bounce back from its losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in its import and export activities.”

PEZA supports the Government’s “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa” program

The PEZA Chief showed support for the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa” program of the Government as this is in line with PEZA’s program of spreading the creation of more economic zones in the countryside to attract more investors there.

In an interview in ANC on Wednesday, Plaza emphasized that “PEZA proposed to the government that in the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa” program, the economic zone program should be the umbrella program that will serve as the economic driver to complete the supply chain, utilize idle lands, and provide jobs for Filipinos.”

"As we resume operations still under the threat of the COVID pandemic, we require ecozone operators and locator-companies to continue its implementation of strict health protocols such as regular disinfection of its workplaces and the wearing of masks within the workplace," said Plaza in explaining how ecozones cope and operate during the pandemic.

Under the PEZA’s program on “COVID-Free, Green, Healthy, Sustainable & Smart Ecozones”, the agency will construct housing facilities, dormitories, and continue to provide shuttle services in its ecozones, both public and private. Additionally, COVID-19 testing facilities inside its four public ecozones and in the clusters of the private economic zones will also be created to provide fast and easy testing for its workers.

The Director General adds that “Alongside this program, PEZA is confident with its tried and tested globally competitive package of incentives, and the ease of doing business it is providing to its investors. The country is now more than ready to welcome more investors in the countryside.”

PEZA's feat: 408 ecozones, 4,542 companies and 1.6M workers are COVID-free, a perfect balancing act

PEZA's feat: 408 ecozones, 4,542 companies and 1.6M workers are COVID-free, a perfect balancing act
May 21, 2020
PEZA's feat: 408 ecozones, 4,542 companies and 1.6M workers are COVID-free, a perfect balancing act

21 May 2020 (Thursday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), one of the top investment promotion agencies in the country that contributes the biggest export income to the national government, continues to implement a perfect balancing act in addressing the health and quarantine requirements, and support the continuous operations of 60% of its 4,542 companies nationwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “Since the start of this crisis, PEZA has done its best to implement effective balancing acts to protect the health and welfare of its workers and in assisting the continuous operations of its ecozones and export companies.”

"PEZA is now very much ready for a full blast operation of its ecozones and companies. We also invite American, Japanese, and European companies transferring from China, encouraging and assisting its existing investors to expand and build branches in the countryside in support of the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa” program of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Senator Bong Go,” said Plaza.

The Director General has recently finished conducting her ‘listening tour’ to ecozones in CALABARZON, Region 3, Region 1, Metro Manila, Region 7 and in selected areas of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to dialogue with the ecozone operators and locator companies on the effects of the quarantine imposed starting March 15.

Status of Operations

For the duration of April 13 - 30, 2020, a total of 40 companies are fully operating while 1,382 are utilizing either skeletal force or work-from-home scheme. Around 1,018 companies are not operational or have no production. This is according to the survey done by PEZA nationwide with about 2,440 respondents (some respondents represent multiple branches/sites).

According to Plaza, “We have allowed companies to operate on the condition that they comply with the directives by PEZA and the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).” Such includes the implementation of strict social distancing measures, disinfection of premises, thermal scanning, and distribution of sanitents, alcohols, masks, and hand sanitizers among others.

But despite the continuous operations of some companies, they have encountered operational difficulties such as the checkpoints, access of goods/raw materials/ supplies and workers, access to government institutions for permits, clarification on issuance, emergency assistance, port clearing, online facilitation, and import and export of shipment.

“This is why a unified and synchronized plan, rules, policies, and enforcements is important among government agencies and LGUs. Cooperation is key for government agencies to facilitate and balance our focus on public health and the continued production especially of essential products during this pandemic,” noted Plaza.

Measures in place to support ecozone companies and workers

To further provide assistance, Plaza said that “PEZA had launched initiatives to jumpstart with its support to its registered companies, industries and locators including the agency’s support to immediate economic recovery post COVID-19.”

The measures include allowing companies to implement work-from-home arrangements for up to 70%, easing of the passing of requirements for, extension of validity of certificates, deferment of payments, and giving grace period for old unpaid accounts among others.

“PEZA implemented economic stimulus and adjustments to its existing policies to assist and support the rehabilitation and business continuity plans of the export enterprises as well as enhance the efficiency factors to put back a more vibrant economy,” said the PEZA Chief.

To continue the strict enforcement of the health and quarantine requirements, PEZA also launched its COVID-free, green, healthy, sustainable, and smart economic zones.

“Under the COVID-free, green, healthy, sustainable, and smart economic zones program, PEZA’s goal is to maintain its ecozones as COVID-free, with its strict enforcement of the health guidelines and directives to ensure the protection of both the workers, investors, and host communities of ecozones,” said Plaza.

Furthermore, the agency plans to establish its own COVID-19 testing facilities in its four public economic zones namely: Baguio City Economic Zone, Pampanga Economic Zone, Cavite Economic Zone, and Mactan Economic Zone. The same facilities will also be strategically located in private economic zones to cater to its workers.

“We are currently coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) for this program. We plan to provide both the rapid test kits and the PCR test on the said facilities so that the companies will have a choice on either of the methods,” noted the PEZA Chief.

PEZA will likewise construct dormitories/housing facilities in its four public ecozones and have its own shuttle services for use by the locators.

“This will not only be used for emergencies but, in coping with the locators’ losses during the crisis. We are encouraging the private ecozone operators to do the same to ensure the investors of a safe and secured Philippine ecozones,” said the Director General.

Plaza added that “PEZA aims to fully industrialize the country by spreading economic zones, industries, jobs, technology all around the Philippines, and develop our millions of hectares idle lands, making the MSMEs, farmers, and every Filipino contribute in the attainment in the total development of the country. This is for us to become self-reliant, self-sustaining and resource generating, making the Philippines an investment haven in Asia.”

Outpouring of donations from PEZA enterprises continue for frontliners, needy

Outpouring of donations from PEZA enterprises continue for frontliners, needy
April 28, 2020
Outpouring of donations from PEZA enterprises continue for frontliners, needy

28 April 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has lauded the efforts of PEZA registered enterprises as they continue to extend help and support to Filipinos. This comes as Luzon enter the eighth week of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
 

“As we continue to fight the effects of COVID-19 in our country, we sincerely thank our registered companies for their outpouring help and support to those in need,” said Plaza.

As of April 27, a total of 137 companies from 45 PEZA-registered economic zones nationwide, with majority coming from 20 zones in Region IV-A (CALABARZON), have donated various personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical supplies and equipment, food, cash amounting to ₱56,429,926.17, and other items like technological equipment and education campaign materials.

While some have not included the total worth of their donation (except those who donated cash), the overall worth of the donations reached ₱110, 639, 879.69. Below is the breakdown:

 

(as of April 27, 2020)

Total Donations with Declared Monetary Value

Total Donation (Food)

 ₱           39, 275, 696.43

Total Donation (PPEs)

 ₱           12, 545, 756.34

Total Donation (Monetary)

 ₱           56, 429, 926.17

Total Donation (Medical Supplies)

 ₱             2, 084, 420.75

Total Donation (Medical Equipment)

 ₱                 304, 080.00

TOTAL

 ₱        110, 639, 879.69

The donations have been distributed to various hospitals and agencies including the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the Philippine Red Cross Laguna, LGUs and areas with families from poorest of the poor, senior citizens, solo parents, and PWDs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and volunteer-frontline checkpoints, and non-for-profit organizations like the Project Pearls, SOS Children Village Alabang, and VP Leni Robredo’s Angat Buhay.

Some donations were also given to various beneficiaries with the help of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI), the North Luzon Tollways Corp., the Philippines Science High School - Batch 76, and the Philippine Navy.

According to Plaza, “Truly, bayanihan shines especially in times like this. PEZA is also doing its best to perform its mandate to the country and our fellowmen. Let us help carry the burden of others especially the frontliners and those in need.”

In April 24, President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to extend the ECQ in Luzon and various areas with many COVID-19 positive cases in hopes to combat the effects of the said pandemic

PEZA prepares post-COVID business continuity plans to assist affected registered enterprises in PH

PEZA prepares post-COVID business continuity plans to assist affected registered enterprises in PH
April 23, 2020
PEZA prepares post-COVID business continuity plans to assist affected registered enterprises in PH

23 April 2020 (Thursday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is now making its post-COVID pandemic business continuity plans to better assist its registered locator companies affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.

 

“We’ve already suffered so much during this time, but this should not stop us from performing our mandate to our country and our fellowmen,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

Plaza added that “This challenge should not be a reason for us to stop doing what we are called to do. Therefore, we must do our best to be proactive and look forward and prepare for what comes next.”

PEZA Memorandum Circular 2020-023

PEZA’s Assistance and Reprieves Planning Group (ARPG) is now preparing for the Authority’s business continuity plans after the ECQ period in April 30.

In line with this, PEZA has released Memorandum Circular 2020-023 to provide assistance to ecozone registered enterprises pursuant to the Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”. The measures to be implemented under this directive aims to cushion the impact of the ECQ to ecozone registered enterprises due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes:

1. Deferment of rental payment in the public ecozones

Rental payments for the months of April and May 2020 in the public ecozones [i.e. Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ), Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ), Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) and Pampanga Economic Zone (PEZ)] are deferred for ninety (90) days from due date. No interest or penalty for delayed payment shall be imposed during the 90-day grace period.

2. Deferment of payment of utilities in the public ecozones

Payment for the utilities (i.e. electricity, water, wastewater treatment) in the public ecozones is likewise deferred for thirty (30) days. No interest or penalty for delayed payment shall be imposed during the 30-day grace period.

3. Grace period for old unpaid accounts

For old unpaid accounts covering the months of January to March 2020 prior to the implementation of the ECQ, PEZA hereby grants a grace period for payment of ninety (90) days.

4. Deferment of payment of processing fees
Payment of fees for PEZA services and permits particularly for Letter of Authority (LOA), building permits, visa processing, etc. may be paid within fifteen (15) days from the lifting of the ECQ. The LOA and visa processing permit fee deferment is limited to transactions with the PEZA Head Office in BGC, Taguig City since applicants in the private ecozones are able to pay these transactions in the zones.

The Director General noted that “there are various ways in which we can start anew after the ECQ period. My PEZA team and I are already looking into various plans for PEZA to take once the ECQ is lifted.”

“For now, we are doing our best to attend to the needs of our registered enterprises and to help the government and our people as we find a solution to this problem,” said Plaza.

PEZA reports investment performance amidst the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)

PEZA reports investment performance amidst the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)
April 22, 2020
PEZA reports investment performance amidst the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)

22 April 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Tuesday shared the top investment promotion agency’s performance for the first quarter of 2020 amidst the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
 

“PEZA’s investments continued to be challenged for the First Quarter of 2020. On top of this issue is still the continuing uncertainty posed by the rationalization of incentives under the pending legislative measures that have created uncertainties. Added to this is the current pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, which has caused a tremendous and immediate impact on PEZA’s export manufacturers and exporters of IT-enabled services (BPOs),” stated Plaza.

“Before the declaration of the ECQ on March 16, 2020, PEZA’s total approved investments from January to February 2020 were already down by 5.85% compared to the same period last year,” said Plaza.

The Director General explained that “Due to the ECQ, the PEZA Board was unable to meet last March, therefore, no new investment projects were approved and thereby resulting in no additional investments for PEZA for the said month.”

She pointed out that “This resulted in the carry-over of the total PEZA investment figures as of February 2020 for March 2020 resulting in a bigger negative growth of -27.98% in the total PEZA investments for the entire first quarter compared to the same period last year.”

The effect of the ECQ on PEZA’s first-quarter employment and exports figures are still being completed as the deadlines set for these submissions coincided within the ECQ period.

Plaza stated that the effects of this global pandemic took a toll on PEZA’s performance as everybody is at a halt.

“Currently, PEZA has a lot of projects planned, pending applications that need to be reviewed, expansion plans, construction of new plants and new investors to partner with. However, because of the pandemic, ECQ measures are to be strictly followed to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases so that the lockdown can also be lifted and we can safely go back to work,” said Plaza.

Plaza calls on a “unified and synchronized ECQ plan, rules, policies, and enforcements by IATF, national agencies & LGUs that will address pandemic’s three main challenges that need to be addressed specifically health, economy, and public order.”

Silver lining for manufacturers of in-demand PPEs, medical supplies

Last April 1, 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Finance (DOF) have issued a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 20-02, series of 2020 that allows export companies 80% of the domestic sale of their products of in-demand PPEs, medical supplies, etc. during this period. Also, export incentives are going to be continuously honored or applied for exporting companies who will comply with the said joint memorandum.

Plaza emphasized that “Cooperation is key for government agencies to facilitate and balance our focus on public health and the continued production especially of essential products during this pandemic. We are grateful for the support and leadership of IATF during this time in making sure that the needs of our PEZA-registered enterprises are being met as they in turn aid our country’s frontliners during this crisis.”

Opportunities ahead for PH economy

“The Philippines has forthcoming opportunities after the pandemic to make the country attractive to more investments that may be transferring from China. The pandemic shows how important it is to make our economy self-reliant, self-sustaining and resource-generating,” said Plaza.

“There is a silver lining as export companies are looking to expand to other ASEAN nations, and not just simply invest in one country, to ensure business continuity in the event of another global crisis. We are hopeful that this will mean more business opportunities for the country and more job opportunities for the Filipino people” said Plaza.

“The Philippines has a great advantage of having a strategic location in the globe, the endowment of fertile soil, and only two types of weather which means that we can plant the whole year. Additionally, our workforce is young and fluent in the English language. With more investors showing interest in our country, we must rebuild our economy after the crisis,” she said.

PEZA appeals for unified and synchronized ECQ plan, rules, policies, and enforcements by IATF, national agencies & LGUs

PEZA appeals for unified and synchronized ECQ plan, rules, policies, and enforcements by IATF, national agencies & LGUs
April 21, 2020
PEZA appeals for unified and synchronized ECQ plan, rules, policies, and enforcements by IATF, national agencies & LGUs

21 April 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Monday has appealed for a unified and synchronized plan, rules, policies, and enforcements by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), national agencies, and LGUs during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). This comes after reports suggest martial law-type implementation of ECQ guidelines as Luzon enters week seven of the said quarantine.

“There is no need for martial law, but the utilization of the right tactics, strategies, and a unified enforcement of quarantine measures, emergency rules and policies in order to establish public order,” said the PEZA Chief.

According to Plaza, “The COVID-19 pandemic’s three main challenges that need to be addressed are health, economy, and public order. Thus, types of tactics and strategies are needed to address these three major issues. It must be planned and calculated wisely.”

Plaza calls for all agencies to put their heads together and come up with one that will further be implemented in the whole nation. “Everything must be strategized and harmonized together, not ‘kanya-kanya’.”

“LGUs should not separately address the pandemic and create invisible walls. Lockdown policies per island or per region greatly affect or hamper the flow of goods and mobility of workers because of the different EOs imposed by the LGUs,” underscored Plaza.

Plaza likewise emphasized that “Cooperation is key for government agencies to facilitate and balance our focus on public health and the continued production especially of essential products during this pandemic.”

Balancing act is a must among all agencies

According to Plaza, “the exportation of commodities and services must continue as our country’s major source of income, technology transfer, the massive jobs and in attaining the total development of the country.

With this in mind, the PEZA Chief and her team are doing their best to assist export-oriented companies for their business continuity during this time.

In cooperation with the IATF-EID and other government agencies, PEZA continues its balancing act of facilitating the operations of companies in ecozones during the ECQ without compromising the health and safety of its workers.

“As we know that this is a unique time that we are all doing our best to cope with, PEZA is doing its best to coordinate continually with various agencies and LGUs nationwide to ensure unhampered movement of goods, strict implementation of national directives, and address other concerns as well so that the supply the chain continues to run smoothly,” said Plaza.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Finance (DOF) have pushed for greater support in the manufacture and importation of essential products during the ECQ by granting incentives through the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 20-02, series of 2020 issued on 1 April 2020. The JMC allows manufacturing companies to sell 80 percent of in demand PPEs, medical supplies, etc. to the domestic market during this period.

Aside from this, PEZA also released numerous directives through Memorandum Circulars and Advisories to better assist its registered companies, particularly those producing, manufacturing, and importing PPEs, medicines, and other medical materials. This includes adjusting the requirements in availing its incentives during this time and extending the validity of permits including the export and import permit.

“Our success and survival from this COVID crisis, requires a well-calculated and a unified balancing act, addressing the health and food needs with the right courses of actions. The challenge now is employing the right tactics and strategies to preserve peace and order, protect our people’s lives and properties. We must stand together as one and help each other from top to bottom. Let us all be part of the solution,” emphasized Plaza.

PEZA continues with balancing act as ecozones remain operational and adhering to quarantine measures

PEZA continues with balancing act as ecozones remain operational and adhering to quarantine measures
April 21, 2020
PEZA continues with balancing act as ecozones remain operational and adhering to quarantine measures

21 April 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City – Performing balancing acts amidst the quarantines or lockdowns, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director-General Charito “Ching” Plaza on Monday shared updates on the status of PEZA-registered ecozones, which are continuing operations while maintaining strict compliance to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) measures.

 

“During the ECQ period, PEZA has adapted various work schemes to ensure business continuity. The PEZA Head Office (HO) is on a Work from Home Arrangement. Transactions are electronically addressed. On the other hand, Administration offices in the ecozones continue to be in operation,” said Plaza.

PEZA frontliners in the ecozones continue to serve registered enterprises and clients with zone administration offices in full operation.

Status of PEZA-registered companies in ECQ as of April

As of April 20, 2020, from the current number of companies surveyed by PEZA nationwide, the percentage of operational companies in Luzon is 66% (835 companies), from Visayas 40% (176 companies), and from Mindanao 94% (31 companies).

However, as companies are continually adjusting to the ECQ situation, we have seen an increase of production from companies who are going back to operations, provided that they comply with the critera under the ECQ guidelines.

The PEZA Chief said that “PEZA’s Incident Command System (ICS) in response to the COVID-19 crisis established requirements for companies in ecozones to continue operations this period of ECQ.

“It is the choice of companies to continue operations during the ECQ. But those who want to do so must comply with the protocols issued by the Department of Health (DOH) to avoid COVID-19 infections in the workplace,” she said.

COVID-free ecozones

Thermal scanning equipment, alcohol, sanitizers, PPEs, and face masks were given to enterprises nationwide as well. Also, regular disinfection of workplace / production areas is being adhered to by companies in the ecozones. In line with the IATF’s condition for continued operations, PEZA-registered enterprises provided accommodation for their employees inside and/or within the immediate vicinity of the zone. Lastly, the provision of shuttle services was also put in place to help employees get to work.

Several memos have also been released to guide and issue directives to our registered enterprises that continue to operate during the ECQ. These were issued to ecozones directly through the Zone Managers and these are posted and available at the PEZA website. “It is our top priority that our ecozones are COVID-19 free after following these measures,” said Plaza.

Concerns and Issues amidst ECQ

Based on the survey conducted by PEZA, the issues and concerns of companies during this period have dramatically decreased since the first two weeks of the ECQ.

The availability of workers is the most pressing concern that companies face during this time as the lockdown took a toll on the workforce because of the suspension of public transportation. Other companies nationwide also expressed that they had problems with government checkpoints, access to goods, raw materials, supplies, and workers.

Regarding checkpoints, some LGUs may not be aware of exemptions given by the IATF and DTI for the continued transport of basic goods and other products to ensure that the supply chain is not disturbed. In response to this, DTI and the IATF issued several memos to guide the implementing offices, strictly emphasizing that vehicles carrying basic necessities should be allowed unhampered passage.

The third issue expressed by companies nationwide includes port clearing, online facilitation, import and export of shipments due to the long processing time of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), unreliable banking services, and hindered entry of personnel at checkpoints during this time. In a global sense, there were also problems with paperwork on shipment from other countries who are also on lockdown, not to mention the travel bans imposed by other countries.

Lastly, several companies also had problems with access to government institutions for permits, clarification on issuances, and emergency assistance. Due to the heavy demand for answers and assistance, the waiting time can be long and tedious. In response to this, the government assured the public that they are doing their best to assist and kindly asks for everyone’s patience.

“As we know that this is a unique time that we are all doing our best to cope with, PEZA continues to do its best to coordinate continually with various agencies and LGUs nationwide to ensure unhampered movement of goods, strict implementation of national directives, and address other concerns as well so that the supply the chain continues to run smoothly and our economy will not be severely crippled,” PEZA Director General Plaza said.

More PEZA-registered companies donate PPEs, medical equipment, goods as ECQ nears week seven

More PEZA-registered companies donate PPEs, medical equipment, goods as ECQ nears week seven
April 16, 2020
More PEZA-registered companies donate PPEs, medical equipment, goods as ECQ nears week seven

16 April 2020 (Thursday)
 

Taguig City – More and more registered companies under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) that are producing and manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical supplies, and equipment have donated their products and other necessities to help the COVID-19 frontline workers and the Filipino people. This comes as the extended Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) nears week seven.

The Luzon-wide ECQ had been extended until the end of April in hopes to halt the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Earlier, President Duterte had already called on the private sector to extend help to Filipinos by making donations and even be considerate on the salaries of workers in private sectors.

In this view, PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said “We are grateful that PEZA-registered companies generously heeded PEZA and the President’s call to support our government’s efforts against COVID-19 and extend help to our frontline workers and those in need. With this, we sincerely express our appreciation on your efforts to be part of the solution in these crucial times of ‘bayanihan’.”

“Part of our Internal Command System (ICS) in PEZA in response to COVID-19 crisis is this initiative of mobilizing and facilitating donations from PEZA-registered companies. From their own voluntary and kind acts, we are altogether helping the government and the Filipino people cope and survive. We all share the goal to heal as one.”

To date, about 54 companies located in various PEZA zones and 16 member companies of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) have extended help and support to the COVID-19 frontliners and the Filipinos in need.

Accenture Inc. donated equipment including desktops, smart TV, mobile phones, and headsets to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for its emergency communication hub to systematically coordinate with the Department of Health (DOH) central / regional offices, surveillance units, and civic organizations related to the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines. Further, the company donated P1.5 Million to the Philippine Business For Social Progress (PBSP) to provide food packs to 6,000 underserved families in Metro Manila and 2,600 PPEs to frontline health workers and will make another P1.5 Million worth donation in the coming week.

KPGroup Phils., Inc. also donated 200 pieces of N95 masks to the RITM.

In the Gateway Business Park (GBP), AAC Optics Phils. Inc. and Taiyo Plastic Corp. of the Phils., donated bunny suits and relief goods.

Meanwhile, GBP-locator company Maxim Phils. Operating Corp. also donated P3 Million-worth of family food packs on top of the PPEs and other items it donated.

On the other hand, St. Lukes Medical Center in BGC, Taguig donated 48 hospital beds and 30 infusion pumps to the Philippine General Hospital.

Carmelray Industrial Park II-SEZ (CIPII-SEZ) locator Dyson Electronics Pte. Ltd. - Philippine Branch gave 11,000 pcs N95 masks and 3,000 pcs cotton gloves to RITM and Calamba City Hall (LGU).

MacroAsia-SEZ locator Lufthansa Technik Philippines, Inc. (LTPI) also gave 15 disposable coverall suits to the Taguig Pateros District Hospital.

Further, in the First Philippine Industrial Park-SEZ (FPIP-SEZ), Philippine Manufacturing Co. of Murata, Inc., B/E Aerospace - Phil. Branch, Eaton Industries Philippines, LLC-Philippine Branch, Brother Industries (Philippines) Inc., Zama Precision Industry Manufacturing Philippines, Inc., Daikoku Electronics (Phils.), Inc., JMS Healthcare PHL, Inc., First Philec Inc., Shimano (Philippines) Inc., Zama Precision Industry Manufacturing Philippines, Inc., and Changhong Technology PHL Corporation donated various items to St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center and Cancer Institute, Sto. Tomas City Government, Marian Hospital of Sta. Rosa, Los Banos Doctors Hospital, Healthserve Medical Hospital, Saint Jude Hospital, and Infirmary Hospital.

TECO Industrial Park-SEZ locator Goto Denshi Mfg. Phils., Inc. also donated PPEs to various hospitals in Mabalacat and Angeles, Pampanga area and sacks of rice to LGU ( barangay) near the ecozone.

In the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ), Bojie Mfg. Corp. / Bojie Dev’t Corp., Cyber Power Systems Mfg. Inc., and Mr. Erny Yu of Gamzon Industries Inc. donated PPEs and medical equipment.

Moreover, Luisita Industrial Park-SEZ locator ON Semiconductor SSMP Corp., have contributed 30 bunny suits to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

Other companies who have already donated to various hospitals and to frontline workers continuously extend help and support to the National Government and the Local Government Units (LGUs). Such include Texas Instrument (Philippines) Inc. (TIPI) and Sunpower Philippines Manufacturing Ltd. (SPML).

Since the start of the Luzon-wide ECQ in March, PEZA companies located at Laguna Technopark Inc. (LTI), First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE), Angeles Industrial Park, Alviera Industrial Park, GBP, FPIP Special Economic Zones, and Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) have already donated various PPEs and other items (i.e. bunny suits, N95 and surgical masks, testing kits, etc.) for the health frontline workers and/or aid among the community. The companies include:

Toshiba Information Equipment Philippines Inc. (TIEPI) LTI-SEZ
Amkor Technology Philippines, Inc. (ATPI-P3/P4) LTI-SEZ
Nidec Philippines Corporation (NPC) LTI-SEZ
Cleanfit Technologies International, Inc. (CTII) LTI-SEZ
MkFF Laserteknique International, Inc. (MLII) LTI-SEZ
Terumo Philippines Corporation (TPC) LTI-SEZ
Astec Power Philippines, Inc. (APPI) LTI-SEZ
NEP Logistics, Inc. (NLI) LTI-SEZ
EMS Components Assembly, Inc. (ECAI) LTI-SEZ
Inventory Management Services, Inc. (IMSI) LTI-SEZ
Nikkoshi Philippines Corporation (NPC) LTI-SEZ
Katolec Philippines Corporation (KPC) LTI-SEZ
Tsukiden Electronics Philippines Inc. (TEPI) LTI-SEZ
Kuroda Electric Philippines, Inc. (KEPI) LTI-SEZ
F.Tech Philippines Mfg., Inc. (FTPMI) LTI-SEZ
Shin-Etsu Magnetics Phils. Inc. (SEMPI) LTI-SEZ
Ushio Philippines Inc. (UPI) FCIE-SEZ
Analog Devices Gen. Trias Inc. (ADGTI) GBP-SEZ
Yumex Philippines Corp. (YPC) FCIE-SEZ
CSE Power
Mass Power
FCC (Philippines) Corporation (FCP) LTI-SEZ
Philkostat Inc. (PI) LTI-SEZ
Superl Phils. Inc. Angeles Industrial Park-SEZ
IBIDEN Phils. Inc. FPIP-SEZ
MOOG BCEZ
Tara Designs (Phils.) Inc. BCEZ
Badan Building Materials Corporation Alviera Industrial Park-SEZ
Japan Tobacco International (JTI)
TDK Phils. Inc. LTI-SEZ

In addition to this, SEIPI member companies, also PEZA-registered, are among the companies producing, manufacturing, and donating for this COVID crisis. The following produce components for COVID equipment in the country:

Analog Devices
Artesyn
Cypress Manufacturing
Excelitas Technology
i3 Technologies
IMI
Ionics EMS
Maxim Integrated
Microchip Phils.
Nexperia
ON Semiconductor
PCA
ROHM Phils.
STI Electronics
Team Pacific
Texas Instruments (TI) Phils.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Finance (DOF) have pushed for greater support in the manufacture and importation of essential products during the ECQ by granting incentives through the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 20-02, series of 2020 issued on 1 April 2020. The JMC allows manufacturing companies to sell 80 percent of in demand PPEs, medical supplies, etc. to the domestic market during this period.

Aside from this, PEZA also released numerous directives through Memorandum Circulars and Advisories to better assist its registered companies, particularly those producing and manufacturing PPEs and other medical materials. This includes adjusting the requirements in availing its incentives during this time and extending the validity of permits including the export and import permits.

As of April 13, a total of 16 companies in Luzon are fully operating while 819 are utilizing either skeletal force or work-from-home scheme and 431 are not operational or have no production. In Visayas, 18 companies are fully operational, 158 are on skeletal work force or using work-from-home arrangements while 274 have no production or not operating. In Mindanao, only four (4) are fully operational, 27 are on skeletal workforce or work-from-home arrangements while two (2) are not operating or have no production. This is according to the survey done by PEZA nationwide with about 1,749 respondents (some respondents represent multiple branches/sites).

PEZA pledges help and support to the National Government as ECQ extend until April 30

PEZA pledges help and support to the National Government as ECQ extend until April 30
April 8, 2020
PEZA pledges help and support to the National Government as ECQ extend until April 30

08 April 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Taguig City – In view of the extension of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to combat the worsening spread of COVID-19, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has vowed to help support and assist the National Government to cater to the needs of the export-oriented companies and the Filipino people.

 

“With the extension of the ECQ until April 30, we continue to help and support the Government in its efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. So as not to cripple the economy, PEZA remains true to its mandate and attain PEZA’s overall goal of business continuity during this period,” said Plaza.

The Director General added that “PEZA will continue to work with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and other government agencies to address the issue and be part of the solution.”

“PEZA’s first memo providing assistance and emergency relief in the processing of permits instead of LOAs has been acknowledged by the Congress and the oversight report and made basis in the final “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” (RA 11469) to be enforced by the GOCCs and export oriented companies,” said Plaza.

Further, the PEZA Chief explained, “We will continue to assist our companies and monitor the status of operations and their compliance to quarantine measures as we gather their requests and suggestions on PEZA assistance and reprieves. We pledge to do our best to support everyone in any way we can.”

Plaza assured its companies that all the guidelines and directives released by PEZA in the form of Memorandum Circulars will remain for the period of the extension. This backs Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles’ citation of one of the resolutions passed by the IATF on Monday. “Provided, that all exemptions granted by the Office of the President or the IATF shall continue to be in effect for the duration of the extended ECQ.”

“Any changes or developments on PEZA’s directives will be released officially through the Zone Administrators/Managers and will be posted on our website respectively,” noted the Director General. PEZA has earlier warned against faked or falsified advisories allegedly issued by the agency, saying its legitimate issuances are posted in the agency’s website.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte has adapted the recommendation of the IATF-EID to extend the Luzon-wide ECQ until April 30 in hopes to contain the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

PEZA thanks ecozone locator companies as more extend help to COVID-19 frontline workers

PEZA thanks ecozone locator companies as more extend help to COVID-19 frontline workers
December 8, 2021
PEZA thanks ecozone locator companies as more extend help to COVID-19 frontline workers

07 April 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City –  Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has expressed on Tuesday her gratitude to all its registered ecozone locator companies for producing, manufacturing, and donating personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical supplies and equipment to help the COVID-19 frontline workers.

“In this global and nation crisis, it is a must for us to become a part of the solution in our own ways. Hence, I thank all our ecozone locator companies who do their best to extend help and support to the country and to frontline workers,” said Plaza.

In line with President Duterte’s call to private sector’s support to Filipino people, Plaza appealed for urgent response from the private sector to support government efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that “Indeed, everyone is now doing their best to be part of the solution.”

Among the companies producing, manufacturing, and donating for this COVID crisis include Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) member companies. The following produce components for COVID equipment in the country:

1.  Analog Devices
2.  Artesyn
3.  Cypress Manufacturing
4.  Excelitas Technology
5.  i3 Technologies
6.  IMI
7.  Ionics EMS
8.  Maxim Integrated
9.  Microchip Phils.
10. Nexperia
11. ON Semiconductor
12. PCA
13. ROHM Phils.
14. STI Electronics
15. Team Pacific
16. Texas Instruments (TI) Phils.

In the Alviera Industrial Park Special Economic Zone, Badan Building Materials Corporation donated last week a total of 6,600 pieces of face masks to various beneficiaries within the vicinity of the zone in Porac, Pampanga.

According to Badan President Mr. Zefeng Xu, this is the company’s humble response to the urgent appeals of both President Duterte and the PEZA Director General for the private sector to support government efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, Xu informed PEZA that Badan plans to import very soon common medicines and vitamins for its workers in order to boost their immune system and over-all health. "Badan is a good corporate citizen and aligns itself with the Filipino Bayanihan spirit especially in this time of crisis," explained Xu.

Aside from Badan, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) President John Freda also donated 20,000 face masks for hospitals in Batangas. A number of donations were likewise done by SEIPI, TDK Phils., and Sunpower in LTI-SEZ.

Within March, total of 29 PEZA-registered companies from the Laguna Technopark Inc. (LTI), First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE), Gateway Business Park (GBP), First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP), Angeles Industrial Park (AIP) Special Economic Zones, and Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) have come together to donate various PPEs and other items (i.e. bunny suits, N95 and surgical masks, testing kits, etc.)for the health frontline workers and/or aid among the community. The companies include:

1.  Toshiba Information Equipment Philippines Inc. (TIEPI) LTI-SEZ
2.  Amkor Technology Philippines, Inc. (ATPI-P3/P4) LTI-SEZ
3.  Sunpower Philippines Manufacturing Ltd. (SPML) LTI-SEZ
4.  Nidec Philippines Corporation (NPC) LTI-SEZ
5.  Cleanfit Technologies International, Inc. (CTII) LTI-SEZ
6.  MkFF Laserteknique International, Inc. (MLII) LTI-SEZ
7.  Terumo Philippines Corporation (TPC) LTI-SEZ
8.  Astec Power Philippines, Inc. (APPI) LTI-SEZ
9.  NEP Logistics, Inc. (NLI) LTI-SEZ
10. EMS Components Assembly, Inc. (ECAI) LTI-SEZ
11. Inventory Management Services, Inc. (IMSI) LTI-SEZ
12. Nikkoshi Philippines Corporation (NPC) LTI-SEZ
13. Katolec Philippines Corporation (KPC) LTI-SEZ
14. Tsukiden Electronics Philippines Inc. (TEPI) LTI-SEZ
15. Kuroda Electric Philippines, Inc. (KEPI) LTI-SEZ
16. F.Tech Philippines Mfg., Inc. (FTPMI) LTI-SEZ
17. Shin-Etsu Magnetics Phils. Inc. (SEMPI) LTI-SEZ
18. Ushio Philippines Inc. (UPI) FCIE-SEZ
19. Analog Devices Gen. Trias Inc. (ADGTI) GBP-SEZ
20. Yumex Philippines Corp. (YPC) FCIE-SEZ
21. CSE Power
22. Mass Power
23. FCC (Philippines) Corporation (FCP) LTI-SEZ
24. Philkostat Inc. (PI) LTI-SEZ
25. Superl Phils. Inc. AIP-SEZ
26. IBIDEN Phils. Inc. FPIP-SEZ
27. MOOG BCEZ
28. Texas Instruments (TI) Phils. BCEZ
29. Tara Designs (Phils.) Inc. BCEZ

The PEZA Chief said, “The value of helping one another particularly in this time of crisis has ignited among our kababayan the spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation in support of government’s measures to contain the virus and its ill effects.”

Plaza encourages its registered companies to likewise extend help and support during this difficult period of the country. “PPEs, milk, food, or anything that might assist our frontliners and the Filipino people are all welcome as donations,” said Plaza.

PEZA has released numerous directives through Memorandum Circulars and Advisories to better assist its registered companies, particularly those producing and manufacturing PPEs and other medical materials. PEZA also adjusted the requirements in availing its incentives during this time.

“We are hopeful we will be able to get through this crisis as one. No crisis can defeat a nation undivided so let us continue our ways on how we can help each other and act as one nation for the benefit of all,” said Plaza.

[Note: This is a developing story.]

 

PEZA Chief seeks assistance from National Gov’t agencies, LGUs to help in ecozone locator companies’ compliance on quarantine guidelines

PEZA Chief seeks assistance from National Gov’t agencies, LGUs to help in ecozone locator companies’ compliance on quarantine guidelines
March 28, 2020
PEZA Chief seeks assistance from National Gov’t agencies, LGUs to help in ecozone locator companies’ compliance on quarantine guidelines

28 March 2020 (Saturday)
 

Taguig City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has sought the assistance of various National Government agencies and LGU hosts to help in its ecozone locator companies’ compliance on the enhanced quarantine guidelines.

 

In a letter addressed to the President dated March 27, the PEZA Chief said that, “In PEZA’s two-week experience in combating COVID-19, we realized that government measures must essentially focus on health, economy & public order.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic as a global crisis will certainly end sooner or later. But the inflicted toll on the affected countries with the resulting socio-economic impacts will be felt for several years even after regaining normalcy. Thus, it becomes imperative for the country under your able leadership to strike a balance between protecting public health and safety, and keeping the economy afloat and the critical institutions running to ensure our victory in this fight against COVID-19 crisis,” said Plaza.

Like other agencies, PEZA has released numerous advisories and directives, through Memorandum Circulars, to assist and assure the unhampered delivery of services to its export-oriented companies who wish to continue its operations during this time. Meanwhile, PEZA warned against faked or falsified advisories allegedly issued by the agency. It says that its legitimate issuances are posted in the agency’s website.

But according to Plaza, even PEZA’s efforts met enormous problems and concerns because of the huge population of workers in every ecozones especially in Luzon. “PEZA's courses of actions for its ecozone operators and companies comply with the President’s pronouncements and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) quarantine requirements. These include providing temporary housing and shuttle buses/vehicles services for workers to assure the safety and welfare of everyone in this period, although it is not enough to provide for all but only for skeletal workforce,” said Plaza.

PEZA support gov’t efforts to survive COVID-19

The PEZA Chief explained that “PEZA's economic zones are likened to municipalities and cities in a way that it has a sizeable population, linkages and community. The 406 ecozones nationwide has a total of 1,601,492 directly employed workers and there are also PEZA-registered service providers, which are all doing business in ecozones and companies, employ about 6.5 million.”

Plaza believed that “With the collective effort of both the National Government, its agencies, the LGUs, and other stakeholders, we are hopeful we will be able to get through this crisis as one.”

That being said, Plaza suggested that, “in combating the spread of the virus, public schools and other buildings should be utilized and be retrofitted for use as temporary isolation/medical facilities considering that our hospitals are now over-capacity and have started to turned down PUMs and PUIs.”

She added that, “For economic purposes, some of them may be utilized to temporarily housed ecozone workers who are challenged by the IATF restriction on movement of ecozone personnel. The idle buildings and warehouses, whether public or private, may also serve as logistics facilities particularly for food products to ensure food security.”

Further, the Director General requested “to enjoin the IATF and the LGUs to assist the covered companies’ needs for housing and shuttle facilities and personal protective equipment/gears, and safe passage in the checkpoints for ecozone cargoes and shuttle buses ferrying the workers.”

On his part, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, since March 20, 2020, urged LGUs to follow IATF-EID guidelines and this includes all cargoes should always be allowed to pass through checkpoints.

Año said “There must be coordination, dialogue, and agreement (…) For example, the checkpoint and passing of cargo, kasama diyan dapat lahat ng cargo, especially food and medicines, should be unhampered (…) Malinaw ang guidelines kaya kailangang sundin.”

“The value of helping one another particularly in this time of crisis has ignited among our kababayan the spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation in support of government’s measures to contain the virus and its ill effects. With this, let us come together to stand and act as one nation for the betterment of everyone,” said Plaza.

PEZA ecozone locator companies extend support to COVID-19 frontline workers

PEZA ecozone locator companies extend support to COVID-19 frontline workers
March 27, 2020
PEZA ecozone locator companies extend support to COVID-19 frontline workers

27 March 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City – Numerous ecozone locator companies that are registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) have extended support to frontline workers battling the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while Luzon is under the enhanced community quarantine.

 

“We are sympathetic to all the difficulties everyone is going through with the COVID-19 crisis now. We ourselves are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the situation. However, PEZA and its registered companies share the hope for the recovery from this human crisis affecting lives, our survival as one humanity, and the world economy,” said PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza.

Plaza stated that “as much as we are trying to balance things with the present conditions, we appreciate the efforts of our locators to also extend help to our frontline workers who are risking their lives battling COVID-19.”

A total of 24 companies from the Laguna Technopark Inc. (LTI), First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE), and Gateway Business Park (GBP) Special Economic Zones have come together to donate personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the health frontline workers. The companies include:

Toshiba Information Equipment Philippines Inc. (TIEPI) LTI-SEZ
Amkor Technology Philippines, Inc. (ATPI-P3/P4) LTI-SEZ
Sunpower Philippines Manufacturing Ltd. (SPML) LTI-SEZ
Nidec Philippines Corporation (NPC) LTI-SEZ
Cleanfit Technologies International, Inc. (CTII) LTI-SEZ
MkFF Laserteknique International, Inc. (MLII) LTI-SEZ
Terumo Philippines Corporation (TPC) LTI-SEZ
Astec Power Philippines, Inc. (APPI) LTI-SEZ
NEP Logistics, Inc. (NLI) LTI-SEZ
EMS Components Assembly, Inc. (ECAI) LTI-SEZ
Inventory Management Services, Inc. (IMSI) LTI-SEZ
Nikkoshi Philippines Corporation (NPC) LTI-SEZ
Katolec Philippines Corporation (KPC) LTI-SEZ
Tsukiden Electronics Philippines Inc. (TEPI) LTI-SEZ
Kuroda Electric Philippines, Inc. (KEPI) LTI-SEZ
F.Tech Philippines Mfg., Inc. (FTPMI) LTI-SEZ
Shin-Etsu Magnetics Phils. Inc. (SEMPI) LTI-SEZ
Ushio Philippines Inc. (UPI) FCIE-SEZ
Analog Devices Gen. Trias Inc. (ADGTI) GBP-SEZ
Yumex Elec Philippines Corp. (YEPC) FCIE-SEZ
CSE Power
Mass Power
FCC (Philippines) Corporation (FCP) LTI-SEZ
Philkostat Inc. (PI) LTI-SEZ

According to LTI Zone Manager Engr. Jesus Cabel, “We are able to distribute and donate to various government and private hospitals, LGUs, and NGOs. The distribution is done with the help of the Philippines Science High School - Batch 76, the North Luzon Tollways Corp., and the Philippine Navy.”

Likewise, the Superl Philippines Inc., located at Angeles Industrial Park (AIP) Special Economic Zone, donated 1000 pieces of COVID-19 testing kits and other items for the frontliners’ use. According to AIP Zone Manager Dindy Velasco, “the donation was given to the Office of Governor Dennis "Delta" Pineda last Saturday March 21, 2020. It was immediately delivered to Pampanga Capitol upon arrival of the goods from the port.” He added that “Superl likewise donated 10 boxes of face masks to the Ricardo Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Bacolor, Pampanga.”

Velasco said that “I have also appealed to our locators herein at Angeles Industrial Park to make donations of any available PPEs such as face masks etc. to public hospitals in the vicinity of the ecozone.”

In addition, the Public Information Office of Baguio revealed that Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ) locator company MOOG “donated 400 sacks of rice to the city government for emergency response to COVID-19 health crisis.”

Baguio Congressman Mark Go also shared in a Facebook post that “PEZA-registered company IBIDEN Philippines Inc., located in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, responded to the call and donated PPEs (100 bunny suits and 100 N95 masks) for the frontline workers. “The donation was distributed to the Department of Radiology, SLU Hospital, SLU Hospital of the Sacred Heart, Baguio General Hospital, and Baguio City Health Services Office,” he said.

In an earlier post, Go also said that he “presented 50 sets of PPEs to Dr. Ricardo Runez Jr. of Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center donated by [PEZA-registered company] Texas Instruments (TI) Philippines.”

According to BCEZ Deputy Zone Administrator Allan Datahan, “Tara Designs in Baguio also donated improvised face masks made of their fabric materials to various government agencies in Baguio, including the Baguio City Hall.”

The Director General stated that, “Indeed, everyone is doing their best to lend a hand to our frontline workers who are combatting COVID-19.”

“The value of helping one another particularly in this time of crisis has ignited among our kababayan the spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation in support of government’s measures to contain the virus and its ill effects. We are hopeful we will be able to get through this crisis as one. Let us do our part to become a solution to this problem. Let us come together to stand and act as one nation for the betterment of everyone,” said Plaza
 

Reference Links:

https://www.facebook.com/markgobaguio/posts/10156985791534149
https://www.facebook.com/markgobaguio/posts/10156999918314149
https://www.facebook.com/pio.baguio/posts/528880957764031

PEZA Issues Pre-emptive Quarantine Compliance by Ecozones and Companies Nationwide

PEZA Issues Pre-emptive Quarantine Compliance by Ecozones and Companies Nationwide
March 27, 2020
PEZA Issues Pre-emptive Quarantine Compliance by Ecozones and Companies Nationwide

27 March 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City – After continuous consultation with the concerned stakeholders and authorities, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has decided to reopen or resume operations in the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ), amending CEZ Memorandum Circular 2020-013 released on March 19, 2020 which halted all operations in the area due to the reported coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases or PUIs/PUMs in neighboring communities of the zones.

 

Plaza emphasized on Tuesday that PEZA is one with the government in the fight to contain COVID-19 and that the agency has already implemented safety measures in its premises and directed all ecozones and ecozone locators in Visayas and Mindanao to do the same.

“PEZA implemented preventive measures to help avoid or contain the virus to our offices and ecozones nationwide. We prioritize the need to protect the people, in order to be able to protect their source of livelihood and the economy as well. The spread of the virus in any of our ecozones will prove to be detrimental to everyone,” said Plaza.

Thermal scanners were provided for all the guards to check the employees’ temperature upon entrance. Additionally, alcohols were put in place to help remind the employees to properly sanitize.

Plaza lamented that "Total shut down of all companies will cripple the ecozones. We are both concerned about avoiding death from the virus and death from hunger. Moreover, not all workers are called to physically report to their companies per se. Work from home arrangement, maintaining a skeletal workforce on-site, provision of housing for the workers either inside or near the zone, social distancing, and use of shuttle services to ferry the employees shall be strictly complied with.”

President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared a State of Public Health Emergency and the State of Calamity all over the Philippines under the Presidential Proclamation Nos. 922 and 929. Under this proclamation, government agencies are directed to help stop the spread of this highly infectious disease by using the necessary resources to make urgent an appropriate disaster response for their respective areas of responsibility.

In support of the proclamation of the President, PEZA put in place additional COVID-19 preventive measures to guide all of its employees, developers, operators, registered enterprises and all zone administrators, zone managers, and OICs nationwide.

Memorandum Circular no. 2020-0016 states the following:

1. Ecozone developers shall regularly disinfect the economic zone’s premises such as the common areas and open spaces, roads, bridges, sidewalks, ancillary facilities, including utility infrastructures such as waste treatment facilities, substations, power and water generation facilities including distribution systems, plants, greens, and buffer zones.

2. Registered enterprises shall also regularly disinfect their premises especially the production area where the majority of the workers are located. Strict social distancing shall be implemented in the workplace. Registered enterprises are enjoined to implement this to prevent and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Zone Administrators and Zone Managers shall ensure compliance with the above-mentioned measures.

3. Work from home arrangement, maintaining a skeletal workforce on-site, provision of housing for the workers either inside or near the zone, social distancing, and use of shuttle services to ferry the employees shall be strictly complied with. For this purpose, all are kindly reminded to please observe the directives on physical distancing, thermal scanning, provision of face masks and other protective equipment for employees and provision of alcohol, sanitizers and frequent sanitizing of the workplace. If possible, doctors and nurses should be available in the ecozones.

4. Implement measures for quarantine of registered enterprises’ skeletal workforce in anticipation of local government units (LGUs) declaration of shutdowns/lockdowns to avoid contamination of ecozone premises and assure the continued operation of registered enterprises.

5. Registered enterprises are encouraged to develop an Infectious Disease and Response Plan or Business Continuity Plan that will guide the management and the workers against COVID-19. This will also ensure the continuous operation of companies during this difficult period.

6. An Ecozone-Wide Emergency Response Plan should also be implemented which would include basic orientation about COVID-19, how it spreads and affects the workplace, its symptoms, who are considered as high risks, steps to reduce exposure and development of policies and procedures for prompt identification and isolation of infected workers.

7. Registered enterprises are also enjoined to constantly monitor the website of PEZA and other relevant government agencies for new advisories and information. Please refer to the following links:
http://www.peza.gov.ph/index.php/covid19
https://www.dole.gov.ph/covid-19-mitigating-measures
https://www.dti.gov.ph/advisories/mc2004-iatf/

Plaza clarified that “Ecozone developers/operators and registered enterprises nationwide are not precluded from implementing their own additional measures to put in place as they see fit to their situation in order to ensure that their facilities and ecozones are COVID-19 free.”

PEZA to require ecozones nationwide to acquire disinfectant drones and cubicles to insulate zones & workers from COVID-19

Director Plaza continues to take things to the next level to ensure the well-being of both workers and companies alike.

In addition to the guidelines in Memorandum Circular 2020-016, which includes housing facilities for the skeletal workforce who will come in to work and shuttle buses to accommodate their transportation, PEZA is also to require Ecozone operators and Locators-Companies to provide drones for their areas whose sole purpose will be to disinfect their facilities and streets. Further, acquiring of cubicles to insulate buildings and workers is to be done as well.

These are all part of PEZA’s continual pro-active and pre-emptive response to all forms of crisis.

“These past two weeks since the March 15 start of quarantine has truly been challenging for the country, the government, our frontliners, and many industries as we face the trials that COVID-19 continues to throw on us. The current situation that we are in has affected the business operations of 406 Economic zones which directly employs 1.6 M Filipinos. Currently, in Luzon, 847 companies are operating with a skeletal workforce or a work-from-home arrangement. 751 companies are non-operating or have no production as of the moment” Director Plaza explains.

She further continued to say that “only ecozones and companies that are compliant to COVID-19 quarantine requirements are to operate while imposing strict compliance of measures on health, economy, and public order.”

PEZA leadership is continually doing strategies and balancing acts to prevent the spread of this disease to protect the health of its workers, preserve their jobs, and the income of its Ecozones as well. At the same time, minimize the effects that this situation has currently put us in on the business operations of export companies’ so that it will not cripple the economy of the country.

You may check PEZA Memorandum Circular 2020-0016 through this link: http://www.peza.gov.ph/documents/mc2020016.pdf

PEZA resumes operations in Cavite Economic Zone amid Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine

PEZA resumes operations in Cavite Economic Zone amid Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine
March 23, 2020
PEZA resumes operations in Cavite Economic Zone amid Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine

23 March 2020 (Monday)
 

Taguig City – After continuous consultation with the concerned stakeholders and authorities, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has decided to reopen or resume operations in the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ), amending CEZ Memorandum Circular 2020-013 released on March 19, 2020 which halted all operations in the area due to the reported coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases or PUIs/PUMs in neighboring communities of the zones.

 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said that “the resumption order aims to attain PEZA’s overall goal of business continuity so as not to cripple the economy during this period. We are thinking of the employment of more than 60, 000 Filipino workers and maintaining our economy amidst surviving crisis caused by COVID-19.”

According to Plaza, “PEZA’s exporters as global market-driven are most vulnerable to world trade and military wars, local and global disasters or calamity like the global pandemic COVID-19 amongst others. However, we will do our best to not totally shut down our economy and the livelihood of our thousands of workers.”

The PEZA Chief allayed concerns saying that, “Nevertheless, PEZA will strictly enforce and comply with the health and quarantine measures and requirements as mandated by the National Government. The Authority assures that it values the health and safety of its locators, workers, and surrounding communities and supports the government’s effort in trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

CEZ Memorandum Circular 2020-017

On March 22, PEZA released CEZ Memorandum Circular 2020-017 which advises companies’ resumption of operations in CEZ on the condition that they can comply with the guidelines set by the government.

The Office of the President, through the Memorandum of Executive Secretary Medialdea dated 16 March 2020, and the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI), through MC # 20-06 & 20-08, have set the guidelines for the continuous operations of BPOs and export oriented establishments, as follows:

1. Memorandum of ES Medialdea dated 16 Mach 2020 (Community Quarantine over the Entire Luzon), effective 17 March 2020:

1.1 Par. 5 thereof provides that BPO and export oriented industries shall remain operational, subject to the condition that strict social distancing measures are observed, their respective personnel are provided appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements by 18 March 2020, extended up to 22 March 2020 at 11:59 PM per IATF Resolution No. 14, announced by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, today at 2:20 PM and that a skeletal work force shall be implemented;

1.2 Par. 6 thereof provides that mass public transport facilities shall be suspended. Thus, private shuttle services shall be provided to ferry the workers from the approved place of accommodation to the worksite. PEZA will issue shuttle vehicle stickers upon application by companies through email with a list of plate numbers of the shuttle service which may then be obtained from CEZ administration;

1.3 Par. 7 thereof provides that movements of cargoes within, to and from the entire Luzon shall be unhampered, reiterated in the 22 March 2020 announcement of CABSEC Nograles.

2. DTI Memorandum Circular No. 20-06 dated 19 March 2020 and Memo Circular No. 20-08 dated 20 March 2020:

2.1 Export and BPO Companies shall be allowed to continue operations with a skeletal workforce, subject to strict observance of social distancing measures and provisions of appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements or shuttle service within the immediate vicinity of the workplace. Where applicable, a work-from-home (WFH) arrangement will also be encouraged;

2.2 Personnel of BPOs and export-oriented establishments, setting up the foregoing arrangements shall be allowed to travel subject to presentation of proof of employment, address of employer and residence;

2.3 Movement of all types of cargoes within, to and from the entire Luzon SHALL BE UNHAMPERED. If subjected to random inspection (with cargo before delivery or empties after delivery), the movement of cargoes SHALL NOT BE DELAYED, upon presentation of the cargo manifest or delivery receipt indicating the destination, nature and quantity of the loaded goods/cargoes.

3. IATF Resolution No. 14 dated 22 March 2020 announced by CABSEC Nograles at 2:20pm:

The deadline given to BPOs and export oriented establishments (including those inside economic zones), to prepare for their respective alternative work arrangements, such as the SETTING UP OF THE TEMPORARY ACCOMODATIONS for their workers, the NEED TO SHUTTLE EMPLOYEES, the transfer of necessary equipment to facilitate work from home arrangements, shall be extended until 11:59 PM of 22 March 2020.

For CEZ companies which can comply with the guidelines set by the government, their business operations in CEZ may resume. As the decision to resume operations lies on the company’s management, they are advised to strictly follow the rules.

Further, there shall be no commute or pick up of employees from place of residence or pick up point to zone.

PEZA Chief orders advance implementation of COVID quarantine measures

In line with this, the Director General also directed all ecozone operators and companies nationwide to implement COVID-19 quarantine measures in its area of jurisdiction. Such includes disinfecting its facilities, strict implementation of social distancing, and health monitoring.

Implementation of various work schemes like skeletal force and work-from-home arrangements will also be up for consideration of the companies. Should they be opting for the skeletal force, provision of temporary housing and shuttle bus services shall be provided.

Plaza said that “As much as we remain true to our mandate for the country, we also need to do our part to become a cure at this point in time. We should be pro-active in dealing with the matter at hand.” She added that “this is our way to assist our exporters and locators in this critical period. We assure that social or physical distancing measures, as pronounced, will be strictly implemented and monitored in all of PEZA’s ecozones to ensure the welfare and safety of Filipino workers and locators alike.”

PEZA appeals for consistency of National Gov’t, LGUs’ directives on the unhampered passage of manufacturing, IT/BPOs, and export cargoes and workers in checkpoints

PEZA appeals for consistency of National Gov’t, LGUs’ directives on the unhampered passage of manufacturing, IT/BPOs, and export cargoes and workers in checkpoints
March 22, 2020
PEZA appeals for consistency of National Gov’t, LGUs’ directives on the unhampered passage of manufacturing, IT/BPOs, and export cargoes and workers in checkpoints

22 March 2020 (Sunday)
 

Taguig City – Almost one week since the quarantine began in the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), led by Directory General Charito “Ching” Plaza, has called for consistency in the implementation of “unhampered passage of manufacturing, IT/BPOs, and export cargoes and workers in checkpoints,” which had been approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

 

As the enhanced community quarantine pronouncement of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last March 17 seeks to limit the movement of people, the IATF clarified that certain considerations will be made to ensure the unhampered passage of crucial commodities and the people delivering them. “This came about as well through our unrelenting efforts to coordinate with authorities,” said Plaza.

In response to concerns brought by PEZA for its thousands of locator companies, Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) signed the DTI Memorandum Circular No. 20-08 which stresses the importance of “ensuring the unhampered movement of cargo and transit of personnel of the business establishments that are allowed to operate during the enhanced community quarantine of Luzon”. Dated March 20, 2020, Memorandum Circular No. 20-08 amends in effect the previous Memorandum Circular No. 20-06 series of 2020.

In the said Memorandum, Trade Secretary Lopez said that “Pursuant to the Memorandum from the Executive Secretary dated 18 March 2020 providing for additional guidelines for the Community Quarantine over the entire Luzon…”, the following guidelines are issued for the “smooth implementation” thereof.

Covered enterprises of the memorandum are the following:

•Manufacturing and Processing Plants of Basic Food Products, Essential Products, Medicine and Medical Supplies

• Retail Establishments

• Logistic Service Providers (Cargo Handling, Warehousing, Trucking, Freight Forwarding, and Shipping Line)

• Hospitals and Medical Clinics

• Food Preparations and Water Refilling Stations

• Delivery Services

• Banks and Capital Markets

• Power, Energy, Water, IT and Telecommunications Supplies and Facilities, Waste Disposal Services

• Export and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Companies

Though subject to random inspection, Lopez pointed out that they will not be delayed upon presentation of cargo manifest or delivery receipt which includes the destination, nature, and quantity of loaded goods or cargo. This is applicable to both cargoes which contain food and non-food.

As for the facilitation of transit of personnel covered by these enterprises which will be allowed to operate, DTI will issue an official IATF ID which will be available starting March 22, 2020. Export and BPO companies that will be operating will be on a skeletal workforce with strict social distancing implementation. In addition, they should be provided temporary housing facility or shuttle service arrangement and if applicable given a work-from-home arrangement.

In a public briefing last March 21, 2020, PNP spokesperson Brig. General Bernard Banac said that there has been an improvement in checkpoints as congestion is lessened. PNP ensures that the delivery of essential and basic commodities is given priority for fast passage given that they have IDs and certificates, or a tarpaulin on their vehicles that says essential and basic commodities.

In line with these new developments, the PEZA Director General issued on March 20, 2020 an advisory to its ecozones nationwide regarding the new guidelines in relation to the movement of ecozone workers and goods.

“PEZA continues to provide assistance to all its ecozones and export-oriented companies while adhering to the government’s health safety and quarantine requirements for its locators and workers” said Plaza.

Amidst addressing specific guidelines needed for ecozones and harmonizing them to Luzon-wide or nationwide directives from the President, the PEZA Chief stated that “With the collective effort of both the National Government and LGUs, we are hopeful we will be able to get through this crisis as one.”

The specific provision of Memorandum Circular No. 20-08 for ecozones:

According to the said memo, “the movement of ALL types of cargoes (Food & Non-Food within, to and from the entire Luzon SHALL BE UNHAMPERED. If subjected to random inspection (with cargo before delivery or empties after delivery), the movement of cargoes SHALL NOT BE DELAYED, upon presentation of the cargo manifest or delivery receipt indicating the destination, nature, and quantity of the loaded goods/cargoes.”

PEZA clarifies rules on shutdowns by companies or ecozones amidst COVID-19 pandemic

PEZA clarifies rules on shutdowns by companies or ecozones amidst COVID-19 pandemic
March 21, 2020
PEZA clarifies rules on shutdowns by companies or ecozones amidst COVID-19 pandemic

21 March 2020 (Saturday)
 

Taguig City – Amidst the Luzon-wide ‘enhanced community quarantine’, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), which has 406 registered ecozones nationwide and more than 4,501 locator companies, clarified on Saturday the rules when said companies in PEZA decide to shut down or the whole privately-developed ecozone will be shut down temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza explained the rules set by PEZA Management regarding either the temporary closure of companies located in ecozones registered in PEZA or the temporary closure of privately-developed ecozones in the country.

“The First Rule is when it is the prerogative or decision of a single company to shut down and this prerogative may depend on different grounds, reasons, or problems they encounter,” said the PEZA Chief.

Plaza enumerated the following reasons for a company or ecozone to temporarily close:

A. The lack of raw materials and importations due to closure or difficulty of receiving packages and logistics from foreign suppliers. It means that production of manufacturing or assembly-line companies in the Philippines cannot continue its operations due to the delay or stoppage of importation.

B. Shortage of workers who cannot report to work in the company located in ecozones and cannot travel due to absence of mass transportation and/or banning of public utilities by authorities.

C. Costly or not feasible for companies to provide housing facility and there is scarcity of spaces near the zones to house their workers.

D. Some LGUs hosting ecozones or LGUs adjacent to or surrounding ecozones are inconsistent by issuing their own directive whereas the IATF has approved the “unhampered movement of ecozone cargoes and ecozone company shuttle buses/vehicles ferrying the workers within the immediate vicinity of the ecozone”.

“The Second Rule is when it is the whole ecozone concerned which aims to temporarily shutdown. It shall be done with the consent or concurrence of the locators of the ecozone in the area,” said Plaza

For the second rule, Plaza said the decision shall be based on the following reason:

1. There is COVID-19 victim/s so there is a need to undergo the ecozone into quarantine and disinfecting.

However, Plaza said that “Specific ecozones that aim to shutdown must be consulted first to locators, company-associations and to PEZA.”

The PEZA Chief assured that “PEZA is fully assisting the concerns of our ecozone locators and operators and the Filipino workers alike. We also laud the pronouncement of the President encouraging private companies to be considerate to their employees about their compensations amidst the COVID-19 crisis.”

Moreover, Plaza encouraged that “Logistic hubs that are part of ecozones’ operations be unhampered or are still fully operational in order to continue shipments to and from global market, while observing health safety measure. If our support for ecozones and our economy is not consistent, this will greatly affect many Filipinos.”

As the said rules above are set, Plaza said that PEZA is mulling over to lift the shutting down of Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ). Since March 19, 2020, PEZA suspended operations of all the business establishments in CEZ until further notice under CEZ Memorandum Circular no.2020-013.

PEZA releases new guidelines regarding the movement of ecozone workers and goods

PEZA releases new guidelines regarding the movement of ecozone workers and goods
March 21, 2020
PEZA releases new guidelines regarding the movement of ecozone workers and goods

21 March 2020 (Saturday)
 

Taguig City – Since March 20, 2020, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has released an advisory regarding the movement of ecozone workers and goods during the period of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine. The advisory is effective to all ecozones operated, managed, or registered with PEZA nationwide.

According to PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, “PEZA is in the frontline of this COVID crisis so our investors will continue to operate but we’ll strictly enforce the health safety requirements as pronounced for our Filipino workforce and investors alike.”

“There have been many questions, suggested solutions, interpretations of directives and memos from various agencies at the moment. With our three Deputy Director Generals, Zone Administrators, Zone Managers and few others, we are corresponding 24/7 just to keep everything in order. We are also making urgent solutions so our investors and employed Filipino workers will be assisted,” said Plaza.

With aims to clear confusion, the recent advisory is in relation to the Memoranda of the Office of the President dated March 16 and 18, 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Circulars dated March 18, 19 & 20, 2020, and the PNP guidelines updated as of March 20, 2020 at 3:00 PM.

The new guidelines for qualified PEZA-registered BPO and export-oriented companies as among those covered enterprises that may continue operations under the quarantine period are as follows:

· Unhampered movement of ecozone cargoes and ecozone company shuttle buses/vehicles ferrying the workers within the immediate vicinity of the ecozone shall be allowed even after the March 20 deadline, unless revoked by the IATF;

· Quarantine measures such as work from home arrangement, maintaining a skeletal workforce on site, provision of housing for the workers either inside or near the zone, social distancing, and use of shuttle services shall be strictly complied with. For this purpose, all are kindly reminded to please observe the

directives on physical distancing, provision of face masks and other protective equipment for employees and provision of alcohol, sanitizers and frequent sanitizing of the workplace;

· Ecozone workers on board company shuttle buses/vehicles must be ready to present at PNP-LGU checkpoints the following: a) Valid Company Identification Card; b) Proof of Residence; and c) Proof of Employment;

· Ecozone workers need not present separate IATF IDs, company-issued IDs will suffice; and

· PEZA certifications/vehicles stickers/placards indicating ecozone destination shall be distributed to qualified locators after due vetting by respective Zone Administrator/Manager/Officer-in-Charge of their strict compliance with the aforesaid quarantine measures.

In addition to these, PEZA’s NAIA, Port of Manila (POM), and Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) Joint PEZA-Customs Offices (JPCOs) will have no skeletal workforce during Saturdays and Sundays. Schedule of services is from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., which is synchronized with that of BOC’s schedule. Also, the JPCOs are accepting advance payments for the electronic import permit system (eIPS) and automated export declaration system (AEDS).

“As we know that this COVID-19 crisis is a bitter pill to swallow, we are sympathetic to the difficulties you are all going through, together with your employees. We are ourselves overwhelmed by the magnitude of the situation. However, as all countries that are affected realize that lives are at stake and hard decisions must be made,” said the Director General.

Finally, the PEZA Chief appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Local Government Units (LGUs) to be consistent about the “unhampered movement of ecozone cargoes and ecozone company shuttle buses/vehicles ferrying the workers within the immediate vicinity of the ecozone” which have been allowed, unless revoked by the IATF.

PEZA collaborates with Cebu LGU to implement measures against COVID-19 in MEZ and ecozones outside Luzon

PEZA collaborates with Cebu LGU to implement measures against COVID-19 in MEZ and ecozones outside Luzon
March 21, 2020
PEZA collaborates with Cebu LGU to implement measures against COVID-19 in MEZ and ecozones outside Luzon

21 March 2020 (Saturday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has continuously collaborated with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Cebu to ensure the unhampered service to its clients and locators, while assuring the safety and welfare of its employees and clients alike, despite the current situation brought about by the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

 

According to PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza, “Rest assured that PEZA is coordinating non-stop with various government agencies and LGUs to address the concerns of its employees, clients and locators during this critical period.”

In March 19, a joint press conference of top Cebu officials, led by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino and Governor Garcia, together with Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, and Talisay City Mayor Samsam Gullas has been held to announce that “there will be no lock down in the province of Cebu.” Garcia assured the public that Cebu is one in fighting the pandemic and there is no need to place barriers between the respective local government units (LGUs).

Gov. Garcia emphasized that “supplies, cargos, and other commodities are still allowed to enter Cebu, adding that only the entry of passengers from outside provinces is prohibited.”

Likewise, they discussed the uniform policies on “movement control” to be implemented in the whole island of Cebu and its surrounding islets in the fight against COVID-19. Garcia pleaded for “all Cebuanos to do their part because the measures put in place need everyone’s collaboration.”

With this, the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ) has released on the same day a Memorandum directing all Cluster II locator companies to strictly observe the local and national government’s directives to stop the spread of the virus while, at the same time, ensuring the unhampered service to its clients. The Memorandum includes the following:

1. Strict observe social distancing;

2. Implementation of thermal scanning and providence of 70% solution alcohol, sanitizers, and face masks for employees;

3. Immediate reporting of person under investigation or monitoring, if there is one;

4. Immediate suspension of operations and conduct of disinfection in facilities if there’s been a reported case; and

5. Continuous reporting/updating should there be COVID-related concerns.

In March 15, Plaza wrote to Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to request for consideration for exemption of PEZA-registered IT/BPO enterprises employees, who are working in the night shift from the directive imposing a curfew.

Plaza noted that “there will be around 170,000 employees of about 400 PEZA-registered IT/BPO enterprises in Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-lapu City to be affected by the curfew. In case the IT/BPO enterprises are not able to deliver their work for their clients abroad, their clients may just transfer their job accounts to their other facilities abroad since these IT/BPO enterprises have similar operations / facilities in other countries and may result to job losses.”

In line with the request, the PEZA Chief assured that the welfare and safety of the workers will not be sacrificed. “These IT/BPO enterprises are already implementing extraordinary preventive measures in response to the COVID-19 situation, all in pursuance of the directive from Malacanang,” said the Director General.

Plaza explained that “we are doing our best to assist our exporters and locators in this critical period.” She assured that “stringent social distancing measures, as pronounced, will be strictly implemented and monitored in all of PEZA’s ecozones. As much as we remain true to our mandate for the country, we also need to do our part to become a cure at this point in time.”

PEZA has yesterday released an advisory on the movement of ecozone workers and goods in relation to the Memoranda of the Office of the President dated March 16 and 18, 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Circulars dated March 18, 19 & 20, 2020, and the PNP guidelines updated as of March 20, 2020 @ 3:00 PM.

PEZA clarifies rules on shutdowns by company and ecozones

PEZA clarifies rules on shutdowns by company and ecozones
March 20, 2020
PEZA clarifies rules on shutdowns by company and ecozones

20 March 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City – The PEZA Chief has clarified that rules regarding companies that are PEZA-registered when it is their own initiative to stop operation. 

 

Rule 1: Prerogative of Companies to shutdown depending on issues like lack of raw materials and importations due to closure of foreign suppliers.

Rule 2. Shortage of workers who cannot report to work and can’t travel due to absence of mass transport and banning of public utilities.

Rule 3. Costly housing facility provisions and scarcity of spaces near the zones to house their workers.

Rule 4. Decision to transfer production quota, machine rise & equipment to other foreign branches so, as not to delay production and delivery to their global buyers/ clients.

Rule 5. Full transfer of investment to other countries. However, this is a big investment and job loss for the Filipino people.

Meanwhile, specific ecozones that aim to shutdown must be consulted first to locators, company-associations and to PEZA.

PEZA releases memorandum to CEZ locators

PEZA releases memorandum to CEZ locators
March 20, 2020
PEZA releases memorandum to CEZ locators

20 March 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City – PEZA authorized work-from-home arrangement for all of its IT/BPO enterprises, processing of applications, and other permits via online, and virtual inspection of goods.

However, specifically for the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ), which is one of the biggest public economic zone operated by PEZA, the PEZA Head Office upon the recommendation of its Zone Administrator, suspended operations since March 19, 2020, on all the business establishments in the CEZ until further notice under CEZ Memorandum Circular no. 2020-013. This is due to the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and PUIs/PUMs in the area.

CEZ has a total of 439 companies or locators registered there which employ a total of 68,058 employees.

In a statement, Plaza declares that “PEZA values the health and safety of its locators and workers as well as its surrounding communities and supports the government’s effort in trying to stop the spread of this virus. Thus, companies may opt to keep a skeletal workforce for basic admin, maintenance and security. Employees who will come in will need approval from their Zone Administrator and will be required to wear a face mask and undergo thermal scanning.”

For other ecozones that are not suspending its operations, “PEZA workers are given unhindered passage through the provision of PEZA stickers on industry cargoes and shuttle buses for workers. Social distancing and thermal scanning are being implemented on all vehicles. Facial masks are also required for their employees when going to work. Big companies have also adapted the work-from-home scheme and provided housing for their skeletal workforce who will need to come in,” said the PEZA Chief.

With these latest developments, Plaza called on the united efforts of its Zone Administrators, Zone Managers, and employees to ensure the safety and welfare of both its workers and clients. “As much as we remain true to our mandate for the country, we also need to do our part to become a cure at this point in time.”

Plaza noted that “PEZA’s exporters as global market driven are most vulnerable to world trade and military wards, local and global disasters or calamity like the coronavirus (COVID-19) that spread worldwide, amongst others.”

PEZA assures full support and assistance to keep industry operations in ecozones and health safety compliance for workers

PEZA assures full support and assistance to keep industry operations in ecozones and health safety compliance for workers
March 20, 2020
PEZA assures full support and assistance to keep industry operations in ecozones and health safety compliance for workers

20 March 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City –Working in accordance with the Luzon-wide lockdown that President Rodrigo Duterte promulgated since March 16, the majority of Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) ecozones and registered-companies continue to adapt and operate under various work schemes to ensure business continuity while at the same time observing health measures and guidelines. 
 

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza said that “Since the earlier quarantine took effect, PEZA has been cooperating and liaising with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to bring forth the concerns of workers and locators alike amidst the ‘enhanced community quarantine’.”

Plaza pointed out that “PEZA is the biggest contributor to export income on commodities (68%), to export services income (84%), and it has an estimated eight million of combined direct and indirect jobs created. We are mindful that 80% of PEZA investments are from foreign investors while 20% are Filipino-owned export-oriented companies.”

Currently, PEZA has a total of 3,529 locators in Luzon with 1,226,750 employees in Regions 1 to 5, in CAR and in NCR.

So with the aim toensure both safety of workers and business continuity, Plaza said that PEZA is closely coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and various LGUs.

IATF’s response to PEZA
In response to PEZA’s request, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, during the March 17 press briefing of the IATF-EID in Malacañang, directed the PNP to allow unimpeded movement of all types of cargoes, with proper inspection.

On his part, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello also encouraged BPO establishments and export-oriented businesses to facilitate work-from-home arrangements or temporary housing provision for their employees who will be coming in to maintain a skeletal work-force.

Plaza explained that “this is our way to assist our exporters and locators in this critical period. We assure that social distancing measures, as pronounced, will be strictly implemented and monitored in all of PEZA’s ecozones.”

PEZA’s ecozones ‘business as usual,’ extends emergency incentives assistance to ecozones and industries; flexi-time and health safety measures for workers

PEZA’s ecozones ‘business as usual,’ extends emergency incentives assistance to ecozones and industries; flexi-time and health safety measures for workers
March 13, 2020
PEZA’s ecozones ‘business as usual,’ extends emergency incentives assistance to ecozones and industries; flexi-time and health safety measures for workers

13 March 2020 (Friday)
 

Taguig City – In view of the worsening spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has directed all ecozones and offices nationwide to continue ‘business as usual’ with skeletal workforces to assure the unhampered service to its clients and locators. The said orders are in line with the President’s announcement last night regarding the Philippines’ measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has last night announced the adaptation of Resolution No. II, as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), to combat the worsening spread of COVID-19. Along with the recommendations are the raising of the COVID-19 Code Red Level to 2, the extension of the suspension of classes in NCR until April 12, suspension of government work in the Executive branch for 30 days, and the placing of the capital to ‘community quarantine.’

With this, PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has instructed all workers, visitors, and clients of all PEZA offices and ecozones to implement alternative work scheme to render all its services for the usual working days during the entire period of the community quarantine.

According to Plaza, “PEZA caters to both foreign and local clients who brings investments to the country. With this, employees interact with various clients in the day-to-day basis. We, in PEZA, make sure the safety and welfare of our workers and clients alike.”

For PEZA’s Head Office and Zone Offices in NCR, their respective Deputy Director Generals and NCR Zone Managers will determine what will be the alternative work scheme of their employees.

For those in the Public Zones and Special Zones outside NCR, a four-day work week will be implemented. This will consist of two work schedules from Monday to Thursday; and Tuesday to Friday. During these days, employees can come in between 7:00 am to 6:00 pm or 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.

PEZA also wrote to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to assist in unhampered land travel in and out of Metro Manila for employees and cargoes of industries. “Passes/stickers shall include PEZA-accredited trucks transporting goods that are either for import or export of PEZA-registered companies,” said Plaza.

Meanwhile, PEZA also tapped the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to ensure the continuous production operations of the locator enterprises operating in the various PEZA ecozones. “We informed the BOC that the Authority has resolved to be ‘business as usual’ to ensure unhampered service to our clients,” explained the PEZA Chief.

Aside from these, PEZA has issued Memorandum Circular which authorized PEZA-registered IT and export enterprises to implement the following “without the need for a Letter of Authority (LOA) from PEZA” in view of prevention and response mechanisms to COVID-19:

1. Work-from-home by certain employees delivering services identified by the IT enterprise as critical;
2. Work-from-home by certain employees exhibiting symptoms akin to a person infected with COVID-19 but physically able to work;
3. Work-from-home by a group/s of employees suspected of exposure to persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection;
4. Re-assignment / re-distribution of employees to other PEZA-registered facilities of the IT Enterprise in other PEZA IT Parks/Centers;
5. Assignment of certain employees to work in facilities / buildings that are not PEZA-registered IT Parks/Centers;
6. Increase in the number of employees covered in the Letter of Authority for Business Continuity Plan previously issued by PEZA to the IT Enterprise;
7. Other justifiable and reasonable courses of action, including pre-emptive action, to respond to COVID-19.
8. All PEZA unites in Joint PEZA-Customs Offices (JPCO) in all ports will be open and manned by PEZA personnel in accordance to the work schedules of the BOC counterpart in the JPCO in the respective ports.

All IT and export enterprises availing the authorization are also required to submit a report to the PEZA Chief, which will include the particulars of the course/s of action implementation and the justification/objective of the measure.

The PEZA Chief assured that “PEZA is taking necessary measures to guarantee the safety of its employees in all its jurisdiction against COVID-19, which already has reported local cases in the Philippines.”

“We are doing our best not to cripple the economy but also to protect each other in times like this because, as Filipinos, it is our inherent duty to our flag and our country. At the same time, we want to give the best quality of service to our clients despite the threat of COVID-19,” said Plaza.

Read here for more information about:
• MC 2020-011
 MC 2020-012

Export and IT industries laud PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to COVID-19

Export and IT industries laud PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to COVID-19
March 10, 2020
Export and IT industries laud PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to COVID-19

10 March 2020 (Tuesday)
 

Taguig City –The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) lauded on Tuesday PEZA’s immediate action to alleviate the concerns of industry workers, ecozones, and export enterprises in responding to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In view of providing assistance to ecozone IT enterprises responding to the spread of COVID-19, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), since Friday, issued a Memorandum Circular addressed to all ecozone IT enterprises which allowed them to immediately implement courses of action in relation to COVID-19 including work-from-home by certain employees exhibiting symptoms or suspected of exposure to COVID-19 virus.

PEZA Director General Charito “Ching” B. Plaza explained that the issuance of the Memorandum was done as “assistance to PEZA-registered industries for their ability to be flexible and more agile in implementing courses of action that may be immediately needed to respond or prevent the spread of the virus.”

She said the goal is to assist industries and workers to cope with the threats and dangers of COVID-19. The Memorandum aims “to protect the health and welfare of their employees and ensure continued service delivery in the event of a large-scale emergency situation.”

IBPAP consultant, Mr.Mike Montero, said in a statement that “PEZA’s issuance of the said Memorandum is a testament to how PEZA has been incomparably excellent in terms of being responsive to the needs of not only registered companies, but also to our people.”

Coronavirus’ impact to exports

Plaza has been expressing concerns that “PEZA’s locators and industries are badly affected, directly and indirectly, by the COVID-19 threat as they are competing, operating, or interlinked within the global market.”

“PEZA’s export-oriented companies are highly affected by world and local disasters, military and trade wars because PEZA’s total locators or investors are composed by almost 80% foreign export companies,” she added.

“The COVID-19 matter have numerous economic implications to the country and the companies in terms of investments, exports, imports, and employment. Its spread created uncertainty in the local and international market; endangering the status of our globally competitive investors in the Philippines,” explained Plaza.

Top industries in PEZA include manufacturing industries, which import variety of raw materials from abroad including from China, as well as IT industries. Both industries hold majority of the totality of the operating ecozones around the Philippines.

PEZA allows work-from-home option for ecozone IT enterprises

Memorandum Circular No. 2020-011 of PEZA authorized PEZA-registered I.T. enterprises to implement the following “without the need for a Letter of Authority (LOA) from PEZA” in view of prevention and response mechanisms to COVID-19:

1. Work-from-home by certain employees delivering services identified by the IT enterprise as critical;
2. Work-from-home by certain employees exhibiting symptoms akin to a person infected with COVID-19 but physically able to work;
3. Work-from-home by a group/s of employees suspected of exposure to persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 infection;
4. Re-assignment / re-distribution of employees to other PEZA-registered facilities of the IT Enterprise in other PEZA IT Parks/Centers;
5. Assignment of certain employees to work in facilities / buildings that are not PEZA-registered IT Parks/Centers;
6. Increase in the number of employees covered in the Letter of Authority for Business Continuity Plan previously issued by PEZA to the IT Enterprise;
7. Other justifiable and reasonable courses of action, including preemptive action, to respond to COVID-19.

All IT enterprises availing the authorization are also required to submit a report to the PEZA Chief, which will include the particulars of the course/s of action implementation and the justification/objective of the measure.

The PEZA Chief assured that “PEZA is taking necessary measures to guarantee the safety of its employees in all its jurisdiction against COVID-19, which already has reported local cases in the Philippines.”

During the crisis in January of the Taal Volcano eruption, PEZA has similarly provided assistance to PEZA-registered industries in coping with the natural calamity. These includes prioritization of imports needed by PEZA industries for their continued business operations and their production and import of face masks.

PEZA, UP create pool of experts on integrating ecozone development and management with urban planning and regional development

PEZA, UP create pool of experts on integrating ecozone development and management with urban planning and regional development
March 4, 2020
PEZA, UP create pool of experts on integrating ecozone development and management with urban planning and regional development

4 March 2020 (Wednesday)
 

Quezon City – Taking the next step in plans to revolutionize the country, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) officials and employees have started to undergo ecozones planning and management trainings under the University of the Philippines’ School of Urban and Regional Planning (UP-SURP).
 

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza stated that “the trainings aim to have a common knowledge understanding in creating different economic zones and building townships in the country.”

As agreed upon by both parties last 7 October 2019, the trainings, which shall run for 10 days starting from March 2 to 6 then on March 16 to 20, seek to enable PEZA officers to address the need for more efficient and effective management of its resources and operations supportive of the development pursuit at the local, regional and national levels. The purpose of the academic and technical training is to provide an overview of urban and regional planning by laying down the theoretical foundations as well as legal and policy context of planning. It likewise introduces the participants to the Philippine planning system.

In addition, it provides discussion of the key areas of urban planning vis-à-vis the current state and challenges in local context necessary in building an understanding of the planning environment with emphasis on land use concerns. Ultimately, the program presents approaches, tools and key procedures on urban and regional planning in the local context.

Redesigning and re-master planning ecozones

In line with PEZA’s partnership with UP-SURP, the Authority also seeks to re-master plan and re-design its ecozones particularly its four ecozones: Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ), Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ), Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ), and Pampanga Economic Zone (PEZ). According to Plaza, “the public zones will serve as the models of PEZA’s new concept in recreating the once purely factories/industry parks into building eco-towns and eco-cities, with industrial, commercial, and residential areas.”

With these programs, the PEZA Chief noted that “It will achieve one of the new 10-point program and special projects’ goal to train and transform the Filipino workers into multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, rich human capital and world-class workers as the partnership seeks to create a pool of experts and specialists on ecozone planning designing to assist the LGUs and private sector in putting up ecozones and make the country attractive to investors.”

DG Plaza herself is a management specialist in the fields of business, public administration and in national and international security administration other than serving Congress for 12 years.

The PEZA Chief, thus, gives priority to education and training of PEZA employees, industry workers, the LGUs and the private sector and stakeholders of the economic zone program so, every Filipino citizen will be driven to help in industrializing the country and attain total development of the country.

 

 

ECOZONES IN-DEPTH: PEZA and Ecozone Development Program—a resounding success story!

ECOZONES IN-DEPTH: PEZA and Ecozone Development Program—a resounding success story!
March 3, 2020
ECOZONES IN-DEPTH: PEZA and Ecozone Development Program—a resounding success story!

by DDG Tereso O. Panga

3 March 2020 (Tuesday)
 

One of the finest pieces of legislation passed by the Philippine Congress is Republic Act (RA) 7916 or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 where incumbent Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza (former Butuan City representative) was one of the bill's principal authors in the Lower House. Enacted into law on 21 February 1995, RA 7916 created the PEZA and provided for the legal framework and mechanism for the creation, operation, administration and coordination of special economic zones in the Philippines. Through this law, PEZA was empowered with a broader mandate to develop ecozones all over the country to generate incremental investments, jobs and exports, and to spur industrialization and countryside development.
 

Prior to PEZA, there were the predecessor laws/agencies: the Foreign Trade Zone Authority (FTZA) as mandated by RA 5490 of 1969 and the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) as created by Presidential Decree (PD) 66 of 1972. These pioneered the creation of ecozones as a government strategy to attract FDIs and export-oriented industries into the country. The Philippines was actually second to Taiwan in Asia that experimented with the freeports and export-processing zones (EPZs) in the 1960s when it was first introduced as a policy tool for development and export-oriented growth particularly for developing economies.
Over the last five decades, the ecozones have proliferated in the region and have become increasingly common in Latin America, Africa and more recently in China, Russia, South Korea and the Middle East. Even the advanced countries in the US, Canada and Europe have their own form of ecozone or zone policy for the supply of goods and services to the global market. The creation of ecozones is widely used across all economies because of the many benefits to the host country of designating a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which is treated as foreign territory for trade operations, duties and tariffs. According to Investopedia, "The SEZ regulations tend to be conducive to FDIs. Conducting business in an SEZ typically implies that the company will receive tax incentives and the opportunity to pay lower tariffs.”

In the Philippines, the ecozones continue to exist with great success. Apart from PEZA, other ecozone/freeport authorities that are doing well include the SBMA, CDC, BCDA, AFAB, CEZA, APECO, TIEZA, JHMC, PHIVIDEC and ZFA. Among them, PEZA happens to be the biggest ecozone authority and the largest contributor to the country's local and national development.

In fact, PEZA's growth over the last 25 years has been phenomenal. The original 16 ecozones it inherited from EPZA has today multiplied to 404 operating ecozones nationwide. Except for the 4 public ecozones, the rest are all owned, developed and managed by the private sector. From EPZA's original 331 companies operating in the zones, PEZA now has a total of 4,478 locator companies as of December 2019.

For its 2019 performance, under the helm of DG Plaza, PEZA has generated P117.541 Billion investments and $54.597 Billion exports, 540 number of projects, and employed 1,601,492 Filipino workers. In the same year, PEZA has also remitted P750 million in annual dividends to the National Government.
Undoubtedly, PEZA's brand of service and package of fiscal incentives have become a magnet for foreign investors to locate in the Philippines, allowing the ecozones to grow by leaps and bounds over the years. Thus, the ecozone program was adopted by the government as an important development strategy despite changes in the administration.

Moreover, ecozone exports constitute 70% of the country's total commodity exports and 16% of the GDP. The ecozone locators generate huge employment and quality jobs for the Filipinos, while the ecozone developers create pockets of development and industry clusters nationwide stimulating growth in the countryside.
Many LGUs hosting the ecozones have achieved a higher level of economic and social progress compared to those LGUs with fewer or no ecozones at all. Even the World Bank-IFC has cited PEZA as a success story in terms of regulatory reform, besting the other 67 ecozones surveyed worldwide. If these are not enough as proof of PEZA being relevant and critical to the country's economic growth, no less than President Rodrigo Duterte has issued Administrative Order (AO) 18 to accelerate rural progress through robust development of special economic zones in the countryside in support of PEZA!

As such, in light of ongoing talks to rationalize the fiscal incentives for ecozone investors which may erode the country's competitiveness, and to repeal some critical provisions in the PEZA Charter which will render the agency ineffective in performing its mandate, PEZA Director General Plaza has appealed for status quo so as to preserve the ecozone strengths and gains. This will also allow PEZA and other IPAs to be vibrant and competitive as they bring in the needed FDIs and exports and promote further integration of the ecozones with the domestic market through the retention of fiscal incentives and in pursuit of the ecozone development program. These measures will contribute to the government's efforts to reduce unemployment, address the development gaps in the regions and narrow the trade deficit--which are all essential towards our bid to sustain the Philippines' status as one of the fastest-growing economies in the region and in our transition to upper-middle-income economy. PEZA’s call for status quo is, therefore, justified given the Authority’s strategic role in nation-building and huge contributions to the economy for the past 25 years.

On the legal aspect, DG Plaza emphasized that "We cannot afford to lose our gains nor damage the country's reputation with the international community by allowing the changing of our rules in the middle of the game or introducing new laws that apparently negate basic legal doctrines such as grandfather rule, non-impairment of contracts, prospectivity in law application, and log-rolling legislation."

DG Plaza added, "As far as we are concerned, PEZA incentives are working and that we continue to generate investments, jobs, exports and other economic opportunities for the country. The ecozone program is tried and tested, and has proven to be an effective economic driver despite our inefficiencies and many inadequacies."

As the old saying goes—if it ain't broke, don't fix it! and more importantly, don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs!

PEZA turns 25: Still optimistic amidst all odds, threats and challenges

PEZA turns 25: Still optimistic amidst all odds, threats and challenges
February 24, 2020
PEZA turns 25: Still optimistic amidst all odds, threats and challenges

24 February 2020 (Monday)
 

Taguig City – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) today celebrates its 25th year anniversary despite odds, threats and challenges in the country and around the world, including the Novel Coronavirus disease (NCov or COVID-19) and the proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) bill for passage by Congress.
 

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said that “the Philippines’ global competitiveness should be enhanced and protected in the face of global competition and crisis happening due to trade and military wars, coronavirus, and other natural disasters. The PEZA’s one-stop-shop and working incentives should be carefully sustained because they kept hold of our investors and helped to contain the transfer of companies abroad, especially the footloose companies.”
 

“The COVID-19 illness and the proposed CITIRA bill both had economic implications and created uncertainty in the local and international market; endangering the status of our globally competitive investors in the Philippines. Such concern has been echoed by PEZA’s industries associations like the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI),” explained Plaza.
 

With the effects of COVID-19, SEIPI President Dan Lachica expressed in news reports this month their concern on their growth forecast. “We’re banking on the electronics sector for growth this year. They expect around five percent growth. However, our five percent growth forecast for 2020 is at risk because 40 percent of our supply comes from China and Taiwan,” he said.
 

As for CITIRA, Plaza has explained that “for two years in a row, export industries kept hold their expansion plans while new investors are having a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude, hoping for an enhancement instead of a decrease of incentives given by PEZA to its investors under the CITIRA bill.”
 

Plaza noted that “PEZA has passed its proposed enhancements to the CITIRA bill in the Senate.” The proposed enhancements include a longer transition period or the retainment of the grandfather rule.” She hopes that “a final CITIRA that is investor-friendly will be finalized to end the agony of the investors.”
 

“Let’s keep praying. We must not quit for miracles happen every day. So, never stop believing. God can change things very quickly in our life. Maybe to many of us, waiting is wasting. But, to God, waiting is working the best plan for our lives,” said Plaza.
 

“There must be no fear in love, for if we have true love, it drives out fear because fear has to do with being afraid of punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love,” she added.
 

PEZA Milestones (1995 to 2020)

Plaza noted that, “When PEZA took over the functions of the former Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) in 1995, the Authority worked on its mandate in promoting investments, generating exports, and creating jobs for the country.

The PEZA Chief lauds President Duterte’s signing of Administrative Order No. 18 last 2019 which ordered the spreading of development of ecozones to the countryside. “This paves the way for utilizing and making idle lands productive and for bringing about the transfer of technology.”
 

From EPZA’s 16 operating ecozones, PEZA now has a total of 404 operating ecozones nationwide with the IT sector having the majority at 286. Meanwhile, PEZA now has a total of 4, 478 locator companies as of September 2019. As of December 2019, PEZA has generated P117.541 Billion investments and $54.597 Billion exports, 540 number of projects, and employed 1,601,492 Filipino workers.

Meanwhile, one of the challenges PEZA identifies is the lack of a comprehensive or official Cost and Benefit Analysis by the NEDA. In addition to this, PEZA will be affected by removal, if not reduction, of its authority to administer ecozones by the creation of Fiscal Incentives Regulatory Board (FIRB) under the proposed CITIRA bill.
 

Notwithstanding, the largest investment promotion agency in the country is still doing its best efforts to perform its goals and attract more investors to the Philippines. PEZA has a 10-point programs and special projects that will be successively launched and implemented this year.
 

These are as follows:

1. Creation of the online Philippine ecozones map;

2. Creation of different types of green healthy, sustainable, and smart ecozones;

3. Establishing Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institutes;

4. Building eco-towns, eco-cities, and new metropolitan areas in every region;

5. Expanding PEZA’s investment promotion partnerships with its Ka-PIPPS (i.e. foreign and domestic industry associations and business chambers);

6. Creating the Ecozone Tourism Investment as inbound business-matching activity;

7. Enhancing PEZA’s structure towards decentralization and regionalization;

8. Affiliation of PEZA employees, ecozones developers and industries as Military Reservist Units and Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management (DREAM) response teams;

9. Creation of food terminals, transportation, logistics hubs, communication and information and support infrastructures in every region;

10. Development Outreach for Labor and Livelihood Advancement of Resources (DOLLAR) program; and

0. Special projects and programs.

 

PEZA is mandated by the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 7916 as amended by Republic Act No. 8748) which was enacted on February 21, 1995.

DG ON-CAM

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