Peza chief De Lima retires after 21 years
After serving four presidents in the last 21 years, the head of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) is officially retiring her post having seen the country’s premier investment promotion agency achieve its potential.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Peza Director General Lilia B. de Lima said the agency was already in its “ripened, full grown, and matured stage to be able to ceaselessly pursue its mandated tasks to get and attract more investments, in order to create more employment opportunities for our people and generate much needed exports revenues for the country with endless vigor and determination.”
De Lima, the head of Peza since the agency was created in 1995 under the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, assured she would just be around to assist the agency.
Under her leadership, Peza was able to attract and approve P3.157 trillion worth of investments from 1995 to 2015, while exports in the economic zones reached a total of $607 billion. Direct employment generated by these investments also hit close to 1.3 million from only 92,000 in 1995, while the number of indirect jobs were estimated to have reached 6.5 million.
Peza was also able to expand the number of economic zones it was managing to 340 from only 16 ecozones in 1995. These ecozones included not only manufacturing or export processing zones but also IT parks and IT centers, tourism, medical tourism and agro-industrial zones.
De Lima said she would finally be able to do things she failed to do in the past—painting leisurely and tending to her trees and flowers in her garden.
Former Trade Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. also bid farewell yesterday as he cited the notable achievements of the agency under the Aquino administration.
Speaking to employees of the Department of Trade and Industry, Cristobal noted that in the past six months he held the post of trade chief, much has been accomplished including the conclusion of the negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (Efta) and the start of formal trade negotiations with the European Union.
Cristobal also cited the initial success of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS), the DTI’s flagship industrial program aimed at revitalizing the local manufacturing sector. Under this program, Toyota Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. would respectively invest in assembly facilities and produce at least 200,000 units of a single model within a six-year period.
“This should soon further enhance our Manufacturing Resurgence Program that seeks to generate more and better jobs. Investments continue to pour in even as we have inaugurated major manufacturing facilities in various industrial parks,” Cristobal said.
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