AT LEAST 46 projects estimated at P31 billion are awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s stamp of approval as new “ecozones” under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
PEZA Director General Charito Plaza told reporters that six of these applications have been pending at the Office of the President (OP) since the time of Benigno Aquino III while the rest were received by the OP under Duterte.
The projects were valued at P31 billion, said Plaza.
Eleven of the 46 were developed for manufacturing, 32 for IT parks and centers, one medical tourism center, one agro-industrial project, and one tourism development, he said.
The manufacturing ecozones are located in Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Bataan, Cebu, Negros Occidental, and Cotabato, according to the PEZA chief.
The IT parks and centers are mostly in Metro Manila, particularly in Taguig City; Quezon City; Pasig; Muntinlupa; and Las Piñas, as well as the next wave cities for the IT and business process outsourcing sector such as Cebu and Davao, he said.
There are also investments in IT park and centers in Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Bataan, and Baguio City.
The medical tourism development is in Cebu while the new tourism project is in Compostela Valley, Plaza said.
In the first five months of the year, investment approvals in PEZA climbed 98 percent to P107.75 billion from P54.38 billion in the same period in 2016, he said.
These investments came from 240 projects seeking PEZA registration from January to May 2017, lower by 5.88 percent from last year’s 255 projects.
Employment in PEZA from January to April increased by 5.73 percent to 1.34 million from January to April in 2017 from 1.27 million in the same period in 2016.
Export revenues of PEZA enterprises also went up by 13.57 percent or from $14.5 billion from January to April in 2016 to $16.5 billion in the same period in 2017, according to Plaza.