Palace designates 12 new ecozones

Published June 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said Malacañang has proclaimed 12 new economic zones that will generate P6.4 billion in additional investments.

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza
PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza

PEZA Director-General Charito “Ching” Plaza said Wednesday that President Duterte signed the 12 new ecozone proclamations during the period of January to June 2020 period. Of the 12 proclaimed ecozones, 10 were IT and 2 for manufacturing projects.

“PEZA is grateful to the President for his approval for the proclamation of new ecozones in the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Once export companies invest in these newly proclaimed ecozones, these will surely multiply investment and economic activities and opportunities in the Philippines,” said Plaza.

The newly proclaimed ecozones are comprised of 9 IT Centers, 2 manufacturing ecozones, and 1 IT Park.
“Majority of the new ecozones composing 67 percent of the total will be located in Luzon whereas the other 33.33% will be positioned in Visayas and Mindanao,” said Plaza.

Signed in January by President Duterte, the new SEZs were proclaimed under Proclamation Nos. 885, 889, and 895-897 respectively include Abiathar Commercial Complex (IT Center), TDG Innovation and Global Business Solutions Center (IT Center), Millennium Industrial Economic Zone (manufacturing), Ayala Bacolod Capitol Corporate Center (IT Center), and Silver City 4 (IT Center)

Meanwhile, the 7 other new ecozones were proclaimed under Proclamation Nos. 940, 946-950, and 953, which were signed by President Duterte on May 5, May 22, and June 2, 2020 respectively. These include the following Davao del Sur Industrial Economic Zone (manufacturing), BatStateU Knowledge, Innovation and Science Technology Park (IT Park), GLAS Office Development (IT Center), Bench City Center (IT Center), Ortigas Technopoint Tower 1 & 2 (IT Center), NEX Tower – (IT Center), and Robinsons Luisita 2 (IT Center).

Plaza also took the opportunity to reiterate the agency’s stance to maintain a status quo on its incentive system.

“Despite the lacking efficiency factors, we’re able to continue to attract investors in the country because of our incentives which are tried, tested, and proven to be globally competitive. It is PEZA’s best practices, one-stop-shop, ease of doing business, and tax incentives that are the strong factors attracting foreign investors in the Philippines and export-oriented industries, aside from our rich natural and human resources,” said Plaza.

“This is the reason why we are appealing for the status quo of PEZA’s incentives and powers. Moreover, PEZA urges the Congress to legislate an enhanced economic stimulus that will support our export-oriented companies to bring in huge capital investments, millions of jobs, transfer of new technology, and trigger the growth and development of domestic enterprises.”

Instead of overhauling the current incentives regime, the Director General said, “The Philippine government must improve its fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and budget support for the public works and IT infrastructure and the building of new logistics and transportation hubs. Also, Philippines need to lower power rates and complete the supply chain. We also need to provide skills training programs that match the manpower needs of our investors to transform the Filipino workers to become multi-skilled, multi-knowledge, and world-class workers.”

“Once these efficiency factors are addressed, it will lower the cost of doing business and will make the country an investment haven in Asia. This will likewise attract more export-oriented industries to locate to the Philippines that would triple the economic gains and inject more investments to the country.”

“The COVID pandemic indeed taught us a lesson to become self-reliant, self-sustaining, and revenue-generating to take care of our environment and be responsible in utilizing our natural resources. Thus, PEZA’s programs aim for environment-friendly industrialization and the creation of green, healthy, sustainable, and smart ecozones.”

Since 2016, when Duterte became President and appointed Director General Plaza in PEZA, there are now a total of 73 proclaimed new ecozones comprising of one (1) Agro-Industrial Economic Zone, fifty-two (52) Information Technology Centers, nine (9) Information Technology Parks, ten (10) Manufacturing Economic Zones, and one (1) Medical Tourism Center. ₱ 88.3 billion is the total amount of investments brought about by the 73 ecozones proclaimed from October 2016 to June 2020.

To date, PEZA registered and manages a total of 408 economic zones nationwide. The number may increase as public, private lands or even ancestral domain lands can be registered to PEZA as ecozone by the LGU concerned and through private sector initiative.

Also, PEZA has a total of 4,542 locator companies directly and indirectly employing 6.5 million Filipino workers as of May 2020.

 
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