THE PHILIPPINE Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) approved 23 projects worth P15 billion, mostly in manufacturing, at its board meeting last week, its top official said.

Of the 23 projects, eight were in manufacturing while six were in information technology and business process management (IT-BPM).

The board also greenlit six economic zone (ecozone) development projects, two facilities and one logistics project.

PEZA Director-General Tereso O. Panga told reporters that the investment approvals were lower than in April 2023, when the agency greenlit P20.56 billion worth of investments from 15 new and expansion projects.

“In April this year, we only had one board meeting. So, it’s difficult to compare that,” Mr. Panga told reporters on the sidelines of an international forum on Monday.

PEZA said the new and expansion projects are mostly in the National Capital Region. Other projects are in Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Bicol, Central Visayas and Davao regions.

The approved investments are expected to generate $69.78 million worth of exports and create 3,254 jobs.

For the January-to-April 19 period, PEZA approved 73 new and expansion projects worth P30 billion. These projects are projected to generate $1.09 billion in exports and create 14,812 direct jobs.

“This is still way below our target of P250 billion this year. So, we’re hoping that in the next board meetings, more applications will be filed with PEZA,” Mr. Panga said.

PEZA estimates total investment approvals to reach between P200 billion and P250 billion this year. This will be at least a 15% growth from the P175.71 billion worth of investments approved in 2023.

Approved investments in the January-to-April period were in export manufacturing, IT-BPM, facilities, logistics, domestic market and ecozone development industries.

These projects are mostly in Luzon, particularly Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Bicol and Central Luzon, while some are in Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro. — Justine Irish D. Tabile