By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE MARITIME Industry Authority (Marina) is seeking more incentives for the shipbuilding and ship repair industry to drive investment growth, the agency said in a statement yesterday.

The maritime industry regulator said it had appealed to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to give more incentives to shipyards not registered with PEZA, particularly on the duty-free importation of shipbuilding and repair facilities and equipment.

Marina sought the additional incentives, which is thinks will improve the maritime industry’s overall investment climate, during a meeting with PEZA officials, it said.

Sought for comment, PEZA Deputy Director General Tereso O. Panga said incentives may only be given to proponent-developers that have a so-called ecozone status.

“Any proponent-developer has to apply with PEZA to get an ecozone status and avail itself of standard PEZA incentives,” Panga said in a message. “We cannot grant additional incentives other than what is provided in the PEZA law,” he said, adding that they won’t let companies get incentives by registering with both the agency and the Board of Investments.

Shipbuilders seeking more perks may apply for an ecotone status for their sites as long as they meet the minimum area for manufacturing and special economic zones.

“If they qualify, we will grant them incentives either as an ecozone developer or as an ecozone locator,” he said.

In such a case, Marina intends to do build a global maritime hub under the management of PEZA. The global hub will transform the country into a one-stop maritime destination in Asia, it added.

The Philippines is the fourth-largest ship producer in the world based on gross tonnage, with 2,161 vessels made locally in 2017.