PCCI, gov’t to help expedite ecozone application process

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THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) will be working together to fast-track the process of conferring special economic zone status.

In a statement released by the PCCI on Monday, the tie-up was initiated by participants at the 43rd Philippine Business Conference (PBC) on Oct. 19 at the Manila Hotel, leading the DTI, PEZA, OES and PCCI to convene on Oct. 25.

It was also during the 43rd PBC that PCCI released its 10-point resolutions which addresses their concern over eight sectors, including the petition for the president to speed up the proclamation of economic zones.

PCCI President George T. Barcelon told reporters in a chance interview at the conference that no investor or PCCI member has backed out of a project due to the delays in the proclamations, investors have responded by turning cautious.

According to the statement, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea said the review of 25 ecozone applications has been completed and these cases will move up for proclamation. Mr. Medialdea also said delays are due to some applicants not forwarding some of the required documents.

Earlier this month, Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director-General Charito B. Plaza said that out of 58 pending proclamations, the OES has only endorsed five information technology centers and ecozone in Negros.

Most of these applications have been pending one year.

Ms. Plaza added that the government loses P500 billion in initial investments due to the delays.

“If these investors will change their minds – some are already telling [me] that their principals are telling them to transfer to Vietnam, then we’ll be losing opportunities. Some of them already have invested in locators. When they apply, they report the official investments. For me, [the process] is still slow but let’s not [talk about it]. They already know that,” she said. – Anna Gabriela A. Mogato