₧60-B ecozone projects pending in countrysid­e

- By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad @Tyronepiad

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.”


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.

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