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.”