PEZA chief presses response to efficiency factors to sustain growth

Published November 27, 2021, 1:24 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito B. Plaza has called for a holistic approach to address efficiency factors to sustain growth in economic zones in the next decades, which had generated P4.018 trillion in investments and $916.53 billion worth of exports over the last 26 years.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza

“Much remains to be done,” said Plaza at the virtual 2021 PEZA Recognition & Investors’ Day where she highlighted the agency’s accomplishments since it started operation in 1995.

Plaza has called for holistic approach to address efficiency issues, such as improving the ease of doing business in the country, lowering the costs of production, completing the local supply chain, the establishment of more logistics and transportation hubs, and the improvement of public works infrastructure, as well as IT infrastructure.

She urged for fully industrializing the Philippines and enhancing the country’s efficiency and competitiveness as an ideal investment haven in Asia.

Plaza reported to investors that for the last 26 years, PEZA generated a total of P4.018 trillion in investments in 415 economic zones and exports of $916.53 billion by its 4,670 locator enterprises, which provide direct employment to 1,725,855 Filipinos or an estimated 8,629,275 total direct and indirect jobs

“It’s also very much worth mentioning that from 2007 to 2020, PEZA’s exports constituted an average of 64 percent of the total Philippine commodity exports. I can confidently say that no other government agency aside from PEZA can contribute these huge export receipts for the country,” Plaza said as she thanked locators for the PEZA performance.

“In so doing, we hope to graduate from an import and consumption-driven economy to one that is export-production, and manufacturing-driven, thus making the Philippines self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource-generating,” she said.

With that, Plaza said that PEZA has come up with the Transformation Roadmap to help sustain growth and mitigate efficiency factors.

“We do not only seek to promote investments in the economic zones, but more importantly to address, in collaboration with other government bodies, the efficiency factors that expanding multinational companies are considering in making their investment decisions,” she said at the annual investors’ recognition event.

Based on its Transformation Roadmap, PEZA will continue to promote the creation and development of more world-class economic zones in every province in the country.

Plaza said PEZA will continue to partner with different local government units in harnessing the potentials by utilizing the millions of hectares of idle lands and turning them into green, healthy, and sustainable economic zones.

According to the land’s potential, PEZA is introducing new types of economic zones, such as halal hubs and production zones, island cities, defense industrial complexes, agro-forestry ecozones, aquamarine ecozones, and knowledge, innovation, and science and technology parks. “We envision economic zones to be the drivers of development in every region, integrating the industrial, commercial, and residential components, towards creating townships and new metropolitan areas where locator companies and workers can work, live, learn, and play,” said Plaza.

The roadmap also calls for the redesigning and transformation of PEZA’s four public economic zones — Cavite Economic Zone, Mactan Economic Zone, Baguio City Economic Zone and Pampanga Economic Zone into model ecozones and townships that are digitalized, green, healthy, sustainable, and smart.

PEZA has also partnered with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for its Reservist Program. The Philippine Air Force and Philippine Air Force Affiliated Reserve Unit (PAFARU).

The roadmap also calls for improvement of the overall competitiveness of the country, in terms of ease of doing business, cost competitiveness, and maintaining a conducive business environment. In the Asian region wherein the competition for foreign direct investments is stiff, Plaza said PEZA relies on highly sought-after workforce, investor-friendly policies, and the low cost of the factors of production to give them comparative advantage over other neighboring countries.

PEZA also came up with innovative investment promotion efforts, particularly the PEZA Investment Promotions Partnerships program and Global Biz with PEZA programs to dialogue, forge partnerships, and network among the trade and investment promotion players in the local and international scene.

In terms of ease of doing business, Plaza said there is a need to continue to think of innovative ways through which to improve its services. Recently, it has rolled out the PEZA Electronic Payment and Collection System (EPCS), a more accessible, convenient, and efficient way to perform transactions and settle PEZA fees.

PEZA has inked a partnership with the Bureau of Immigration on the issuance of the PEZA Visa. The PEZA Visa will now replace the 47(a)(2) visa to foreign nationals employed by PEZA companies and their immediate family members. The turnaround time for the processing of visas will be shortened from 30 days to only 10 days.

It has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MERALCO to facilitate the issuance of the electronic Certificate of Final Electrical Inspection or e-CFEI for PEZA companies.

Aside from these, PEZA is embarking into the full automation of its services, geared towards regionalization. With that, PEZA is currently working on the new Compensation and Position Classification System of PEZA, which is pending for approval by the President.