BAGUIO CITY – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is bullish on the establishment and identification of potential economic zones in the different parts of the country to help propel the development of remote villages and contribute to improving the living condition of the people around the archipelago.
PEZA Director-General Charito Plaza said there are various economic zones which could be established by the PEZA, in coordination with the concerned local governments and even private landowners, to help generate employment opportunities for residents and facilitate the trickle down effect of development projects to the rural areas of the country.
Among the possible economic zones that could be established in various parts of the country include agro-industrial economic zones, aqua-marine economic zones, agro-forestry economic zones, all having a minimum land area of 25 hectares and ecotourism economic zones with a minimum land area of 5 hectares.
“We want to open our economic zones to prospective investors to help build a robust economy. Various parts of the country have their own potential economic zones that is why we are currently working on the possibility of putting up a PEZA map ready for aggressive promotion in the international market,” Plaza stressed.
PEZA is currently conducting aggressive consultations with concerned government agencies and local governments for the finalization of a map identifying existing economic zones in the different parts of the country where prospective investors can infuse their capital.
She added PEZA already expanded their promotions from the Asia-Pacific region to the Middle East and Arab investors were able to pledge over $300 million in investments once the economic zones shall have been put in place aside from the commitment of four Arab sheiks to develop economic zones having a land area of at least 1,000 hectares each.
According to her, PEZA is in a better position to market the economic zones because of the attractive incentives that it could grant the investors, particularly the 4-year tax holiday, duty-free importation of raw materials, zero value-added tax for the purchase of local raw materials, among others, unlike local governments which could only pledge income tax holidays for investors.
Plaza expressed confidence that the optimum development that will be introduced in the economic zones identified by local governments and concerned government agencies could be sufficient in generating employment opportunities for the Filipinos and even the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who may wish to come home for good and avail of jobs that could pay them sufficiently in the future.
She urged the local governments to fast-track the identification of potential economic zones in their respective areas of jurisdiction because PEZA wants to do things fast to help cascade to the grassroots level the benefits of sustainable sources of employment for the people living in the host and neighboring communities of the zones to be developed.