Peza approves creation of 29 more ecozones
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) on Saturday said its board has approved the creation of 29 more economic zones, the latest development in its push to create more of business and manufacturing hubs to help the country catch up with its Asian neighbors.
Peza officer in charge and Deputy Director General for policy and planning Tereso Panga told the Inquirer that these were in various stages of development and compliance with presidential proclamation requirements, and will bring in P96.2 billion worth of investments.
Once proclaimed, Panga said these economic zones, most of which are industrial estates and information technology (IT) parks, can start hosting locator companies.
“The regional dispersal of ecozones and industries can spur development of rural areas and stimulate growth in the host local government units,” Panga said, citing that majority of these are located outside Metro Manila
Panga highlighted that the Philippines should continue to create and support the growth of more economic zones in the country so as not to be left behind by other countries in the region.
Citing a 2021 report by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Panga said the Philippines now ranked 5th, behind Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia in terms of the total number of designated special economic zones and economic corridors in the region as of 2020.
The Peza official said the Philippines was a pioneer in the establishment of special economic zones.
“The Philippines was actually second to Taiwan in Asia that experimented with the export-processing zones in the 1960’s during the time of President Ferdinand E. Marcos when it was first introduced as a policy tool for development and export-oriented growth particularly for developing economies,” said Panga.
“However, over the last five decades, the ecozones have proliferated in the region and have become increasingly common among Asean economies as a platform for attracting foreign direct investments (FDI) and growing exports,” he added.
With the Asean remaining a top recipient of FDIs in developing regions and continuing to be an engine of growth, Panga said the Philippines can capitalize on the economic zone program to improve its current fourth place ranking in terms of FDI inflows.
“Given the right ecosystem and enabling laws, the Philippine economy could be boosted if economic activities flourish in the ecozones and their linkage in the domestic market,” said Panga.
Peza has established 421 ecozones since its inception in 1995, now housing 4,346 locator firms or projects, most of which are export-oriented.
Of this number, 300 are IT parks and centers, 78 are manufacturing ecozones, 23 are agro-industrial ecozones, 17 are tourism ecozones and three are medical tourism ecozones. INQ
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