Approved ecozone investments climb 84% to P6.4 billion last month

Catherine Talavera – The Philippine Star

February 2, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has approved P6.393 billion worth of investments in its first board meeting for the year, a double-digit increase from the same period last year.

“The PEZA board has approved a total of 19 new and expansion projects of ecozone locators and developer/operators expected to bring in P6.393 billion investments. This is 83.69 percent higher as compared to the P3.48 billion investments approved for (the) same period last year,” PEZA officer-in-charge Tereso Panga said in a statement yesterday.

Of the approved investments, P2.28 billion came from 18 new and expansion projects of registered locator companies. This consists of 11 projects for export manufacturing enterprises, four for facilities enterprise, two for IT enterprise and one for domestic market enterprise.

The PEZA board also approved P4.116 billion worth of ecozone development projects that includes the development of an IT center in Makati City by MJ Landtrade Development Corp.

The agency reported that the approved projects are located in Makati City, Pasay City, Calabarzon, Cebu City and South Cotabato.

“With the positive start of the year, we are bullish with our outlook this year, targeting a 10 percent investment growth based on the initial locator sector targets,” Panga said.

Meanwhile, the PEZA vowed to strengthen the implementation of the ecozone development program with the recent launch of the new Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.

“With the inclusion of the ecozone development program in the new Philippine Development Plan (PDP), we are positive that more ecozones will be approved and created especially in the countryside,” Panga said.

“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 said.

During a panel discussion for the PDP, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon highlighted the ease of doing business in PEZA, and how it correlates to the country’s ability to attract investments.

 He likewise emphasized the reason behind businesses wanting to invest in the country through PEZA, thus the need for local government units to adopt the DNA of PEZA.

“I think our solution is for the local government to have the DNA of PEZA. If you talk about growth (and) inclusivity for the country, the growth should be throughout the Philippines, and I think the local government plays a key role in making things easy for people to want to invest in the area of their jurisdiction,” Barcelon said.

“More than ever, we commit to strengthen our investment promotion and facilitation efforts by remaining true to our mandate and aggressively promote the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia,” Panga said.

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 zones that may be registered under PEZA.

These include the new frontiers for ecozone development that PEZA has been advocating as a catalyst for growth and development.

For 2023, PEZA is targeting a 10 percent increase in investments, higher than the P140.7 billion recorded last year.