The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is targeting 6-7 percent increase in employment this year as more economic zones are actively operating already.
PEZA Spokesperson Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal said that based on what they have submitted the agency has targeted between 6-7 percent increase in employment from the current around 1.7 million total workforce nationwide.
He noted that the Administrative Order 18 issued by then President Duterte that enforce a moratorium on the declaration of ecozones in Metro Manila will help encourage more investments to locate in the countryside.
The AO has already encouraged the developments of ecozones in 18 locations outside of the National Capital Region, mostly in Mindanao.
He said that PEZA held talks with the Mindanao Development Authority, Southern Philippines Development Authority, and National Commission on Muslim-Filipino Community to pursue ecozone projects in their areas in partnership with the foreign and local businesses.
Some of these LGUs have already submitted their application for registration of their ecozone projects with the PEZA and the agency is helping them invite investors into these locations. He cited the case of an ecozone in Cavite where LGUs are actively rallying support behind its creation and in attracting investments.
Ecozone development requires the feasibility of the place and feasibility of businesses to locate in these particular sites. In their talks, LGU officials were advised that ecozone locations need efficiency in terms of airports and seaports to make it easier for investors. “Peace and order also plays a critical role in ecozone developments,” he said.
He said that local government units have a big role in attracting foreign investments to empower their communities and not just rely on jobs that government may be able to provide as it won’t suffice without the help of private businesses.
The confidence brought about by the new administration has boosted the confidence of foreign and local businesses to invest in the country and that would in turn create more jobs, he said.
PEZA itself will push for more investment promotion. The agency, he said, is receiving Australian and Taiwanese business delegations for potential investments in the ecozones. PEZA will also participate in the China-ASEAN Expo to promote its ecozones.