THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said it has set an “aspirational” target of one to three new economic zone launches each year.
“We actually expect to operationalize one to three new ecozones (each year). That is our aspiration,” PEZA Deputy Director General for Operations Vivian S. Santos said in an ABS-CBN News Channel television interview on Thursday.
“These ecozones, before they can be operationalized, have to be issued a proclamation by the Office of the President (OP),” she added.
According to Ms. Santos, there are 29 ecozones approved by the PEZA Board that are awaiting the Presidential proclamation.
She said the 29 consist of 13 information technology parks and centers, 12 manufacturing ecozones, two related to tourism, one agro-industrial, and one mixed-use manufacturing and tourism ecozone.
In January, PEZA said that the 29 pending ecozones will require combined investments of P96.21 billion. Of the 29 projects, eight are to be located in the Calabarzon region.
“The largest investment among these projects is a mixed-used special economic zone for manufacturing and tourism to be located in Pangasinan, with a project cost of about P81.648 billion,” PEZA said in an earlier statement.
Currently, PEZA oversees 421 ecozones hosting 4,346 locators. The ecozones have generated a total of 1.8 million direct jobs.
Ms. Santos said PEZA is confident it will achieve its 10% investment growth target for 2023.
PEZA approved P6.4 billion worth of investments in January, up 83.7% from a year earlier.
The approved projects consist of 19 new and expansion projects. These include 11 export manufacturing enterprises.
“This is just the first month of the year. We are confident that we will be able to reach our 10% increase of investment compared to that P140 billion worth of investment recorded last year,” Ms. Santos said.
“Hopefully, with our increased promotion…. and possible ecozone development in the countryside opening doors for other types of ecozones the likes of agro-forestry ecozones, aquamarine parks, knowledge, innovation, science, and technology parks, halal and food production hubs, pharmaceutical ecozones, biotechnology parks, defense industrial complexes, renewable energy parks, and mineral processing zones, we hope to achieve the target investment,” she added.
PEZA Officer-in-Charge Tereso O. Panga has said that more ecozones are expected to be approved following the addition of the ecozone development program in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 launched last month.
“Ecozones can be shields (against) headwinds… ecozones can (also be) economic drivers to accelerate recovery and growth,” Mr. Panga said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave