THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said its Director-General, Charito B. Plaza, has accounted for P313.42 billion worth of investment since taking office on Oct. 5, 2016.

Ms. Plaza, whose agency issued the statement on the occasion of her more than a year in office, said in a statement that the investment total covers the period Oct. 5, 2016 to Oct. 4, 2017.

The record for a calendar year’s worth of investment is P311.9 billion, set in 2012.

PEZA said it engaged in “aggressive marketing and promotion” during Ms. Plaza’s term.

She cited a boom in economic zone development “because of our aggressive invitations to private landowners. We are also undertaking partnerships with public lands managed by various government agencies,” she added.

Investment in the first nine months of 2017 rose 94.12% to P195.46 billion.

It said PEZA-registered entites also accounted for 80% of Philippine exports, with over 92% being foreign investors registered with PEZA.

The ecozone, manufacturing and information technology (IT) industries saw an increase in investments, the agency said.

“I just want to correct the understanding that we saw a drop in IT. There was a drop because there was not much investment compared to the previous years. The income is less than the previous year but there are no BPOs who stopped (operations) or exited (the country). No one went out so [we’re still at] status quo and a few new ones came in but it’s lower in the previous year,” she said.

In April PEZA remitted to the government P622 million or half of its net profit for 2016, as is required of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).

“We are also telling everybody to convert their land into economic zones because our goal is there should be no more idle lands. So in partnership with NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous People), we hope to dialogue with indigenous people to make their ancestral lands economic zones because we see a lot of potential fo food production.” — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato