THE PHILIPPINE Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) approved P33.09 billion worth of investments in the first four months of 2023, more than double the investments approved a year ago.

“From January to April 2023, PEZA has approved a total of 60 new and expansion projects worth P33.094-billion investments, which is 107.15% higher as compared to the P15.975-billion approved investments on the same period in 2022,” PEZA Director-General Tereso O. Panga said in a statement on Thursday.   

According to the investment promotion agency, these new and expansion projects are projected to generate $1.012 billion worth of exports and 7,469 direct jobs.

In April alone, the PEZA Board greenlit P20.556 billion worth of investments coming from 14 new and expansion projects. These projects are expected to generate 2,233 jobs.   

The PEZA-approved investments in April are 162.37% higher compared with the P7.83 billion worth of investments approved in the same month last year.

Seven projects related to logistics service enterprise were approved in April, along with four projects in export manufacturing, and three involving information technology (IT) enterprises. These projects will be located in Baguio, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Cebu, and South Cotabato. 

“The biggest project pre-qualified by the PEZA Board for Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) approval is engaged in the manufacturing of biomass fuel products made from buyo-buyo (Piper aduncum-shrub), with investments worth P19.701 billion,” the PEZA said. 

Mr. Panga attributed the higher investment approvals to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s recent overseas trips which were aimed at attracting foreign investors.

“We believe that we are now reaping the results of the ongoing investment missions of President Marcos and his administration’s investment initiatives and it is now up to us to follow through the pledges,” he said.

Mr. Panga expressed confidence more investments will pour in after the commitments secured during Mr. Marcos’ visits to Japan, Switzerland and the United States earlier this year.

PEZA is eyeing more investments in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, electric vehicle industry, renewable energy development, mineral processing, regenerative agriculture, and frontier technologies like digital health, financial technology, blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data. 

Mr. Marcos previously announced that the Philippines secured $1.3 billion worth of investment pledges from his official trip to the US last month. The investment pledges are expected to generate 6,700 local jobs.

For 2023, the PEZA is targeting a 10% increase in investment approvals. It approved P140.7 billion worth of investments last year. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave