Philippines: Ecozone investments up by 54% in Q1

MANILA, Philippines — Investments approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in the first quarter of the year reached P12.537 billion, up 54 percent from the same period last year.

The more than 50 percent surge in investments from January to March is an indication that we are on the right track in achieving our 10 percent target this year, PEZA director general Tereso Panga said in a statement.

Panga said the PEZA board has approved a total of 42 new and expansion projects of ecozone locators and developer/operators for the first quarter of the year, higher than the 29 projects approved in the first quarter of 2022.

Of the 42 projects, the PEZA board approved 40 locator projects with P8.19 billion investments and two developer projects having P4.349 billion.

These projects are also expected to generate $616.585 million exports and 5,236 direct employment, both gaining an increase of 165.25 percent and 65.28 percent, respectively for the first quarter, PEZA said.

In March alone, the PEZA board approved 12 new and expansion projects expected to bring in P2.34 billion worth of investments.

“We have achieved positive investments for this year’s first quarter and we can sustain this momentum in the coming months as we expect more inbound delegations of foreign investors. The best is yet to come as we further open up the economy and manage the external headwinds,” Panga said.

He said new ecozone locator applicants and inbound investors’ delegations are into vaccine and life sciences sector, new wave of EV battery technology, motorcycle manufacturing, integrated circuit (IC) packaging and testing services, regenerative agriculture, organic fertilizers and pesticides, healthcare, deep learning, fintech, and other frontier technologies, anaerobic waste water treatment and LNG facilities.

These emerging technologies, Panga said, would complement the steady flow of investments in semicon-electronics manufacturing and information technology services, which are the leading sectors in PEZA.

“As always, our strategy is to follow through investment leads from PBBM’s state and working visits to other countries to promote the Philippines as a smart destination in the region. Guided by DTI’s Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI)-driven industrialization strategy, we also aim to create more ecozones and smart townships in rural and new growth areas to accelerate countryside development,” Panga said.

Panga was recently appointed as director general of the PEZA.

He is PEZA’s lead manager for policy and planning, ecozone development, digital transformation, special projects and programs, management information systems, building and environmental code compliance, energy efficiency and other eco-industrial initiatives.

In his 24 years with the PEZA, Panga has served as division chief of policy planning, zone manager of Lima Technology Center and other economic zones in Batangas, zone administrator of the Baguio City and Cavite economic zones and deputy director-general for policy and planning.