Investments registered by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority increased by a marginal 1.21 percent in 2014, a consequence of the truck ban in Manila that triggered a seven-monthlong congestion in the capital’s main gateways.
According to Peza Head for Promotion and Public Relations Group Elmer San Pascual, investments as of December 2014 is at $279.477 billion, which fell short of the 10-percent target for 2014.
“Malaki epekto ng port congestion. Those who were planning to expand had to rethink their expansion plans because their raw materials were not coming in and they, likewise, can’t ship out their finished products,” San Pascual said.
He added that some manufacturing firms even had to divert the production of some product lines to their other Asean facilities just to keep up with export schedules. Others incurred hefty costs as they resorted to shipping products by air just to meet their commitments.
Exports were also hit by the port logjam as exports during the first 11 months of the year reached $40.518 billion which fell 8 percent short of target, San Pascual said. 2013’s export haul is at $42.873 billion, he added.
The saving grace that kept exports growth positive, added San Pascual, are the electronics products, specifically semiconductors, as imports are flown in and finished goods are likewise flown out.
“After Christmas, Seipi [Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc.] was already coming out with figures, saying their November and December exports increased…malaking bagay yon kasi lahat members ng Seipi are locators in Peza. But, hindi pa rin ma-reach ang 8 percent. If Seipi sees a double-digit growth, that will only translate to plus 1 percent or 2 percent for us,” said San Pascual, adding that electronics take up 60 percent of their total exports.
Employment figures, however, are more positive as Peza said that as of November, direct employees are at 1,154,214, or a 10.3-percent improvement over the same period in 2013 of 1,046,431.
Catherine N. Pillas