₧60-B ecozone projects pending in countryside
OVER P60 billion worth of economic zone projects in the countryside have remained pending despite an administrative order (AO) mandating authorities to spur investments outside the National Capital Region (NCR).
“We aim to increase our public zones in every region and invite all agencies managing public lands, ancestral domain lands and the private idle land to become ecozones.”
CHARITO PLAZA PEZA DIRECTOR GENERAL
Based on data obtained by the Businessmirror, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) has approved P60.68-billion ecozone projects—representing 50 inquiries—in the countryside as of June 30, but these have yet to receive a proclamation from the Office of the President.
Majority of these investments are 32 manufacturing projects amounting to P41.78 billion, followed by 12 information technology (IT) centers with a total of P7.81-billion proposals.
Other pending investments include two agro-industrial projects amounting to P50.1 million; four IT parks, P10.23 billion; and an inquiry for tourism-related venture, P802.44 million.
“We aim to increase our public zones in every region and invite all agencies managing public lands, ancestral domain lands and the private idle land to become ecozones,” Peza Director General Charito Plaza told this newspaper.
This is in line with AO 18, which bans new ecozone developments in Metro Manila in a bid to boost economic activities in the regions. The order was released in June 2019.
“We spread the investments, technology, jobs, livelihood and complete our supply chain,” she said, noting this makes the country “self-reliant; self-sustaining; resource generating; and production, manufacturing and export driven economy.”
The goal is to minimize the import and boost the country’s contribution to the global supply chain, Plaza added.
The Peza chief said they are fully implementing the agency’s ecozone development program. “We are now conducting orientation, identifying public and private lands in the countryside to become different types of ecozones so we can attract and locate different types of industries,” she said.
Peza earlier mentioned it hopes to put up more pharma parks; Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology parks; aqua-marine and renewable energy parks; mineral processing ecozones; Halal hubs and production; and defense industrial complexes.
In response to the mandate of creating more ecozones in the countryside, Plaza told the Businessmirror earlier they are setting up additional regional offices, which are intended to be operational by January next year.
“We are envisioning that our economic zones will become the economic driver so that we can convert towns to become smart towns, digital cities. Hopefully, with the economic zones in the regions, we can create a new metropolitan in every region,” she said.
Recently, the Businessmirror reported that around P16.07 billion worth of investments for IT parks and IT centers in Metro Manila have remained pending this year amid the moratorium on processing new economic zones in the capital region.
These include 10 applications for IT centers amounting to P15.5 billion and one inquiry for a P573.93million IT park as of April 30.
Currently, 167 IT parks and centers are located in NCR, mostly in Makati, Quezon City and Pasig. There are in total over 290 IT parks and centers across the country out of 410 ecozones under Peza’s regulation.