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.
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.