LIMA central business district is LIMA Estate’s 30-hectare commercial area in Batangas. — COMPANY HANDOUT

APPROVED INVESTMENTS by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) dropped 11.5% in the first 11 months of 2022, but its top official is still hoping to achieve its 6-7% growth target by yearend.

PEZA in a statement said it generated P57.048-billion investments from 181 projects for the January-to-November period. This is lower than the P64.463-billion investments from 229 projects approved a year ago.

The 181 projects approved so far this year are estimated to create 33,308 direct jobs.

PEZA Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Director-General for Policy and Planning Tereso O. Panga said the agency has been able to temper the decline in investments seen earlier this year.

“From a high of 29.85% decline in investments (January-to-June 2021 versus the same period in 2022) and 22.6% decline (January-September 2021 versus the same period in 2022), PEZA was able to narrow the gap to -11.5% this January-November 2022 versus the same period last year,” Mr. Panga said.

“With two more board meetings scheduled this December, we are confident that we can achieve our target of 6-7% increase in 2022 approved investments versus 2021.”

According to the PEZA, investments from Japan reached P17.755 billion in the 11-month period, accounting for 31.12% of the total investments.

Big-ticket projects approved by PEZA include those by Shin-etsu Magnetics Philippines, Inc.; Cebu Mitsumi, Inc.; TDK Philippines Corp.; Tamiya (Philippines), Inc.; and Philippine International Manufacturing and Engineering Services Corp.

“PEZA will continue to perform its best and attract much-needed strategic and big-ticket investments… and contribute to (the President’s) goal for the country’s transition to upper middle-income economy within his term,” Mr. Panga said.

PEZA officials recently met with Japanese firms during an investment mission to Osaka and Okayama in Japan. These companies include Junca Holdings; Shibutani Shoten Corp.; Marukame Trading Co., Ltd.; VALTES Co., Ltd.; Nakashima Propeller Co., Ltd.; Inabata Philippines, Inc.; and Showa Spring Co., Ltd.

According to PEZA, Junca Holdings is looking to set up a biotechnology venture to be registered with the PEZA, while its partner company Synergy and Global Network Japan is eyeing to establish a tourism economic zone and a waste-to-energy water treatment plant.

Shibutani Shoten is planning to put up a company in the Philippines “to support its employment and training program for Filipino workers and expand its brand.” The company makes car seat, arm rest, and headrest covers for automakers such as Mitsubishi and Mazda.

PEZA executives also met with Marukame Trading to discuss its plan to hire 100 additional employees for its Philippine unit. Marukame Fashion Cebu, Inc. is an export-manufacturer of high-end and global apparel brands located at the Mactan Economic Zone.

VALTES is also eyeing to hire 100 additional engineers for its PEZA-registered unit, VALTES Advanced Technology, Inc., which is involved into software design and development.

Nakashima Propeller, a manufacturer of marine equipment such as sea vessel propellers, rudders and shafts, is planning to introduce new technology at its facility in the Cavite Economic Zone.

Ecozone logistics producer Inabata Philippines is also targeting to expand its warehouse footprint in the next two years.

Export manufacturing enterprise Showa Spring, located in Mactan Economic Zone, is looking for another location in the Calabarzon Region as part of its expansion plans.

According to PEZA, Japanese firms account for 27.52% of overall investments.

To date, there are 891 PEZA-registered Japanese enterprises which contributed P746.093 billion worth of investments from 1995 to November this year.

“With Japan’s small and medium enterprises as the lifeblood of this country’s massive economy, comprising 99.7% of all businesses, we can take advantage of these SMEs by putting up operations in the Philippines, help complete the supply chain, empower our own SMEs, and boost the country’s industrial ecosystem,” Mr. Panga said. — R.M.D.Ochave