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Peza chief hopes more ecozones will soon emerge in Mindanao

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) said it is hoping that more economic zones in Mindanao will emerge, as there are vast natural resources, pool of talent and human capital in the South.

In a news statement issued on Thursday, Peza’s Promotions and Public Relations Group (PPRG) Group Manager Aleem Siddiqui M. Guiapal also expressed gratitude on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.’s emphasis on “full support to economic zones and bringing its strategic role for economic growth outside of Metro Manila.”

Guiapal added, “We have done ground works for this and identified 18 viable locations in Mindanao for the creation of ecozones including the provision of halal hubs and Sharia-compliant credit facilities.”

Peza’s Officer in Charge Director General Tereso O. Panga, for his part, said “Peza, as the top export-oriented investment promotion agency [IPA] and main agency registering, developing, and managing various economic zones in the country, welcomed the call to continuously attract strategic and big-ticket investments through the ecozones.”

Panga said that with the pronouncement of the President, they could bring jobs and investment revenues across regions through the ecozones.

During his first state of the nation address, the President cited ecozones as one of the drivers of economic growth outside of Metro Manila.

“Ecozones will be fully supported to bring in strategic industries such as those engaged in high-tech manufacturing, health and medical care, and emerging technologies. This is also seen to facilitate economic growth outside of Metro Manila,” said Marcos on Monday.

Meanwhile, in terms of accelerating the country’s productivity growth, Panga, who also the concurrent Peza deputy director general for Policy and Planning, noted that this would require the mobilization of capital in order to finance infrastructure, technology and human development needs.

Further, Panga said, “In this case, productivity-enhancing investments can rise from FDI [foreign direct investment] or efficiency-seeking investments—which IPAs [investment promotion agencies] like Peza, can promote and facilitate through the [Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises] CREATE law, the [Strategic Investment Priorities Plan] SIPP and the recently passed economic liberalization laws.”

The officer in charge added that through Peza and the ecozones, which provide for the best locations and business ecosystem, the country can attract strategic industries, including research and development (R&D) and innovation, other emerging technologies, and big-ticket investments to help sustain the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth target and countryside development strategy.

Peza has been contributing to the overall growth and development of the regions and the country for 27 years since 1995.

Panga stressed, “As an ecosystem that hosts efficiency-seeking investments, Peza ecozones have long been a participant in the global value chain by attracting global manufacturing leaders to set up their facilities here, thus generating employment and needed exports revenue.”

Moreover, Panga noted that the President’s economic insight “bodes well” for ecozones as “we aim to attract foreign partners of our [small and medium enterprises] SMEs with capacity to scale up and move up the value chain, especially new breed of SMEs that are into innovative technologies in biotechnology, e-commerce, digital start-ups and agriculture.”

Currently, Peza manages 417 ecozones nationwide hosting 4,632 registered business enterprises venturing into different sectors.

According to Peza’s statement, as of 2021, these zones and enterprises contributed a total of P4.036 trillion of investments, $933.835 billion of exports, and directly employ 1.7 million workers across the country.

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