PEZA investment pledges jump 103% to P140.7 B in 2022

Committed investments approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) jumped 103 percent to P140.7 billion as of December this year exceeding the agency’s 6-7 percent growth forecast for 2022 and surpassing the amount of investments registered before the pandemic.

PEZA OIC Deputy Director General Tereso O. Panga said Monday, Dec. 20 that the approved investments represent the combined investment from 198 projects registered from January to December 20 this year.

“This is a 103.03 percent increase compared to the same period last year,” said Panga.

In terms of actual employment and exports, PEZA was able to create 1,850,842 direct jobs and potential exports of $54.239 billion in exports as of October 2022.

“Despite the 29.85 percent decline in the first semester of the year 2022 compared to the first semester of 2021, we never lost hope that we will recover. With the big-ticket investments that were prequalified by the Board for endorsement to the Fiscal and Incentives Review Board, we were able to record a positive increase in investments in 2022,” stated Panga.

At the rate PEZA is performing, Panga said, the investments achieved this year already exceeds the approvals in 2018. “That means that the country’s ecozones and high-performance investments are back to the pre-pandemic, even surpassing the 2018 level,” said Panga.

The P140.7 billion investment approval of PEZA in 2022 exceeds its four-year annual performance with P140.2 billion last recorded in 2018 followed by a constant yearly decline in investments until 2021 due to the pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, and the ensuing global supply chain disruptions.

“Indeed, the economic and political climate are improving under the PBBM administration and we hope to sustain very good performance as we prepare for the upturn in the economy and our transition to upper-middle income status,” said Panga.

With the increasing GDP growth rate of the Philippines, Panga expects more foreign direct investments (FDIs) to register with PEZA. “What is important is we keep building and sustaining the confidence of investors and the country’s competitiveness in investment promotions and facilitations,” he said.

During the last PEZA Board meeting presided by Trade and Industry Secretary and PEZA Chairman Alfredo E. Pascual on December 15, the board approved 13 new and expansion projects with total investments of P83.651 billion.

The big-ticket items include three ecozone developments, ten ecozone locators, four manufacturing enterprises. and six IT service enterprises.

These projects will be located in the Taguig City, Pangasinan, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Cebu, and Negros Occidental.

Main sources of investments came from Japan, Singapore, Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA, India, South Korea, the Republic of China, the British Virgin Islands, and Taiwan.

In the first State of the Nation Address of President Bongbong Marcos Jr., he highlighted the strategic importance of ecozones and the need to promote productivity-enhancing investments, which are best hosted by ecozones under PEZA.

Panga explained, “We cannot register productivity-enhancing investments if we do not have the ecosystems to provide our investors so that they can be viable with their operations in the Philippines.”

“Ecozones can be shields. At this time of crisis, ecozones can be shields to soften the landing of the headwinds, the external headwinds and all these global disruptions happening. The other side to this is that ecozones can be economic drivers. We are in that unique opportunity to contribute to countryside development and accelerate our economic growth,” he added.

At present, PEZA runs four government-owned ecozones and administers the incentives of locators in 415 ecozones nationwide, mostly owned, developed and managed by the private sector. PEZA has endorsed a total of 16 ecozone developer projects for proclamation by the President with total capital investment of P18.032 billion.

“PEZA remains committed to performing its sworn mandate and attracting the much-needed strategic and big-ticket investments to the country and contribute to PBBM's goal for the country's transition to the upper middle-income economy within his term,” said Panga.