Pasay City – As President Bongbong Marcos’ administration lays out a new Philippine Development Plan (PDP) in the next five years, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) management is grateful that the economic zone development program has been included in the PDP 2023-2028.
“This solidifies the strategic role of economic zones in the country’s economic progress as mentioned in the 1st State of the Nation Address (SONA) of PBBM,” said PEZA Officer-in-Charge Tereso O. Panga.
“As we welcome the new year, we in PEZA are preparing more initiatives and synergy with other government agencies to strengthen the country’s economic zones in line with the PDP of PBBM administration in the next five years. With the inclusion of the ecozone development program, we are positive that more ecozones will be approved and created especially in the countryside,” said Panga, who’s been at the forefront for the reinstatement of the ecozone program in the plan.
The PEZA interim chief noted, “We in PEZA have lobbied through NEDA to include economic zones in the PDP as for a time in the previous administration that it was forgotten or excluded. Strengthening our ecozone development initiatives is a must as this will serve as a catalyst for growth in the country.”
“Ecozones can be shields to soften the landing of the headwinds, the external constraints, and all these global disruptions happening especially during this time. The other side to this is that ecozones can be economic drivers to accelerate economic recovery and growth,” he explained.
Under the PDP 2023-2028, PEZA is tasked to expedite the implementation of the ecozone transformation roadmap which expands the different types of special economic zone registrable under PEZA. This includes the new frontiers for ecozone development which PEZA has been advocating as a catalyst for growth and development.
According to the plan, “the creation of ecozones will…maximize investments and promote industrial dispersion especially outside metropolitan areas. Further, the ecozones will be integrated into the local economy by relaxing the requirements, facilitating the free flow of parts, components, and other inputs, and increasing open trade between zone locators and firms outside the zones.”
Aside from the ecozone development, the amendment of the 27-year-old PEZA Law and the promotion of co-location of industry and services, including academic institutions through the development of KIST parks have also been included as initiatives to revitalize the industry by transforming production sectors to generate more quality jobs and competitive products.
Ecozone Approvals in 2022
In 2022, PEZA has approved a total of 29 ecozone development projects amounting to PhP 96.21 billion, 11 of which were registered during the first six months of the Marcos administration and amounting to PhP 90.65 billion or 94% of the total investments.
The largest investment among the said projects is a mixed-used special economic zone for manufacturing and tourism to be located in Pangasinan, with a project cost of about PhP 81.648 billion.
Of the total approved ecozone projects, 13 were information technology (IT) parks and centers, 12 were manufacturing ecozones, two in tourism, one (1) in agro-industrial and one (1) in mixed-use for manufacturing and tourism ecozone.
Most of the projects registered in 2022 will be located in CALABARZON with eight (8) ecozone development projects.
To date, there are a total of 421 PEZA ecozones nationwide hosting 4,346 locator companies and creating 1.8 million direct jobs.
Panga said, “With our enhanced investment laws and strengthened ecozone development programs, we remain bullish that we will be able to jumpstart the economy and keep up with the strong competition worldwide.”
For 2023, PEZA is targeting a 10% increase on investments higher from the PhP 140.7 billion investments recorded for January to December 2022—which was a 103.03% increase as compared to the PhP 69 billion total investments generated in 2021. #