THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said local government units (LGUs) are welcome to take advantage of the opportunities presented by economic zones in their jurisdictions, including enanced revenue and upgrded human capital.   

“The creation of jobs opens many opportunities for the local government units (LGUs) and its communities, like higher revenue for the LGUs and skills training for the youth and new graduates in the community. PEZA will be committed to actively pursue these as part of its efforts in nation building,” PEZA Director General Tereso O. Panga said in a speech at the PEZA head office in Pasay City on April 3.   

Mr. Panga was appointed to head PEZA by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on March 23, after serving a spell as officer-in-charge and deputy director general for policy and planning.   

According to Mr. Panga, PEZA will enter into partnerships with locators and industry associations such as the IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) and the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) to generate employment and improve the skills of the workforce in communities around ecozones.   

“PEZA is working closely with SEIPI in preparing human capital readiness for advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0 and with Philippine Ecozones Association (PHILEA) in developing world-class and environment-friendly friendly economic zones in rural and new growth areas to spur countryside development,” Mr. Panga said.   

Meanwhile, Mr. Panga said PEZA will collaborate with Congress to address challenges faced by investors, such as high power and operating costs. 

“We need to be competitive, relevant and top-of-mind among potential foreign investors as the smart and preferred destination,” Mr. Panga said.   

Mr. Panga said tPEZA is also seeking to revisitRepublic Act (RA) No. 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act and amendments to the PEZA Law.   

“It is worth noting that investor interest in our country has jumped 54% with the President’s active promotion in the recent months,” he added.   

Mr. Panga said he hopes to attract technlogy locators to boost; expand ecozones according to the Philippine Development Plan; and improve the regulatory framework to enhance ease of doing business.   

PEZA is targeting 10% investment growth in 2023 after registering P140.7 billion worth of approved investment last year.

For the first quarter, PEZA has approved P12.54 billion worth of investments compared, up from P8.14 billion approved a year earlier. - Revin Mikhael D. Ochave