By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) approved P14.6 billion worth of new investment projects on its Nov. 4 board meeting.
The 34 projects are expected to create 3,893 jobs, PEZA said in a press release on Friday.
Combined with the 33 projects approved by the board in October, projects for the past two months include 21 export enterprises. The board also approved projects of 15 information technology (IT) firms, seven facilities, four logistics companies, and two utilities firms.
PEZA approved 11 projects from economic zones and IT center developers.
PEZA investments fell by more than a quarter to P72.6 billion in the 10 months through October, with the number of projects dropping by 45% to 248. Employment fell by 2.4% to 1.53 million jobs in the first nine months.
The bulk of the projects are in Luzon, with 54 set to be located in the region. Meanwhile, 12 will be in Visayas and one will be in Mindanao.
PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said the competition from Southeast Asian neighbors in attracting investors transferring from China remains “tough,” noting the country’s underdeveloped infrastructure and logistics.
But she also said that PEZA attracts investments though its one-stop shop.
The United States Department of State 2020 investment climate assessment said that PEZA is known for its regulatory transparency and no-red tape policy.
The report however said that foreign direct investments (FDI) in the country still remains relatively low compared with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-countries’ figures, after ranking fifth out of the ten economies for total FDI in 2019.
“We must do our best to fully industrialize the country and attain our goal of making the Philippines an investment haven in Asia,” Ms. Plaza said.
As of Oct. 10, 87% or 2,629 companies in PEZA economic zones have been operating as the lockdown continues, Ms. Plaza said in an online event last week.