Pasay City – While some officials seem to pit investment promotion agencies (IPAs) luring the transfer of locators from one to the other, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito ‘Ching’ B. Plaza underlined on Tuesday that PEZA has the same incentives with the Board of Investments (BOI) and all investment promotion agencies (IPAs) under the CREATE Law.
In a statement, PEZA Chief Plaza said, “The proposal to let IT-BPO companies transfer from PEZA to BOI is misleading because, under the CREATE Law, all IPAs now have the same incentives to offer to investors and locators both as exporters or domestic-market registered business enterprises (RBEs).”
“We must give the freedom to choose which IPA investors would want to register and be factual of the benefits or considerations of registering to a specific IPA,” added PEZA Director General Plaza.
The Director General mentioned that “PEZA, the top IPA in the country that operates nationwide offers many advantages for RBEs located inside the special economic zones.”
She said, “For one, PEZA’s ease of doing business (EODB) provides a one-stop-shop and a non-stop shop, exempting investors from LGU and other agencies’ permits. Being inside the economic zones, locators are assured of safety, security, and a smart, sustainable, and green ambiance.”
Economic zones as a separate customs territory
With economic zones treated as a separate customs territory, PEZA Chief Plaza said, “Operations and administrative requirements are faster, simpler, and easier. PEZA’s best practices of transparent regulatory practices and no red-tape policy provide a positive business atmosphere at all times even during the pandemic and other [economic] crises.”
The recent recognitions of the US Department of State, the IFC-World Bank, and the Capital Finance Co. are among the international institutions recognizing PEZA as the most attractive to locate and register, especially to export-oriented companies, supported with globally competitive incentives and best practices, making investors comfortable and ably assisted and supported.
WFH not a basis for transfer
On the work-from-home (WFH) concerns, the Director General stated, “The WFH must not be used as a basis for transfer. If it is the consideration, the truth is that PEZA had been avante-garde as it was the first IPA to allow WFH since 2017. This was enhanced the following year by the passage of the Telecommuting Law allowing WFH, other flexi-time, and hybrid work schemes [especially] in the time of the pandemic.”
She then stressed that “having [and allowing] WFH and hybrid work set-ups are already being observed in India and other digitally-advanced countries.”
Further, with the recent issuance of a Memorandum Circular by the Philippine Civil Service Commission (CSC) for government agencies to adopt their WFH or flexi-time work arrangement, Plaza lamented, “Why must our government be strict to our investors and locators seeking for a hybrid work scheme whereas we [in the government] are now allowed by CSC to apply as such? Why do our partner stakeholders and industries have to give up incentives we have been granting them for two (2) decades just so they can resume in their WFH or hybrid set-up?”
According to Plaza, “It is the IT-BPO sector that created 1.4 million jobs and increased in revenues despite the WFH during the pandemic. They are one of the major industry players that protected and kept the jobs and livelihood of our people and have kept the economy afloat while the domestic enterprises were locked down.”
The Director General continues to recognize and applaud PEZA’s exporters and suppliers, utility, facility, and service providers as industries and businesses in the economic zones remain up and running.