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.