Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda explained on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 6 just how imperative it is for President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to settle the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) leadership squabble as soon as possible.
"The leadership question over PEZA threatens our ability to maximize the favorable conditions for exports," Salceda, the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, said in a statement.
As such, he appealed to Marcos for the latter to nominate a director general for the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) “as soon as he can find a suitable appointee".
"With a weak peso, the best thing we can do, economically, is to focus on exports and dollar-earning industries and services. The leadership issue in PEZA will make investors think our investment regime is overly politicized and therefore risky.
“That means, we are surely getting the bad parts of a weak currency, such as high import prices, but we are handicapped from taking advantage of the better parts, such as higher exports-to-peso value and more competitive export pricing," Salceda said.
The Bicolano says he is especially concerned that “if the dispute extends until budget hearings in Congress, the institution will suffer".
“The PEZA director general submits the agency’s budget to the board, and without a director general, we might not be clear about which budget to discuss in Congress.”
The House of Representatives is expected to begin deliberations on the 2023 national budget late this month
The “dispute” Salceda refers to is the competing claims to the post of head of PEZA between Duterte-era Director General Charito Plaza, and the Officer-in-Charge Deputy Director General Tereso Panga.
“Only PBBM can decisively end the confusion through an appointment. The PEZA law is very clear that the Director General is appointed by the President," Salceda said.