Investments soar 154%

MANILA, Philippines — Investments approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) soared by 154 percent to  P48.03 billion in the first five months of the year,  driven by a surge in investment approvals in May.

In a statement yesterday, PEZA director general Tereso Panga said the amount is 153.74 percent higher than the P18.928 billion recorded in the same period last year.

“We are continuously seeing an uptrend with our investment approvals as we enter the first half of the year, and we are more aggressive in our initiatives to help our investors make the Philippines their smart investment choice, taking the cue from President Marcos who has been most active in promoting the Philippines in his outbound missions,” Panga said.

PEZA said the higher January to May investment approvals put the agency on track with its 10 percent increase in investment approvals for this year.

In May alone, the PEZA board approved 20 new and expansion projects, which are expected to bring in P14.93 billion worth of investments.  This marks an increase of 405.78 percent  from the P2.95 billion approved in May last year.

Of the projects approved during the PEZA board meeting on May 26, 11 are in export manufacturing, seven in IT, one in facilities and another one in ecozone development.

“The projects will be located in Makati, Pasig, Taguig, Baguio, Pampanga, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Cebu, Iloilo and South Cotabato,” the PEZA said.

According to PEZA, the projects are expected to generate about $293.55 million in exports and create 4,480 direct jobs.

It said the biggest project pre-qualified by the PEZA Board for Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) approval is engaged in the manufacture of solar wafer cells with Maxeon 7 technology, located in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, with investments worth P11.63 billion.

The approved investments in May bring total year-to-date approved projects to 80, with projected exports of $1.31 billion and projected employment of 11,949.

As part of its efforts to continue attracting investments, the PEZA said it is constantly partnering with government agencies and various industry associations to address the pain points that hinder investors from unlocking the untapped potentials of the Philippines. It said this is in line with the whole-of-government approach.

PEZA said it met with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Commission on Elections Chairman George Garcia and National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan to discuss the concerns of investors and present its initiatives to attract investments and facilitate the government’s strategy to bring much-needed foreign direct investments into the country.

It also discussed with Senator Loren Legarda a plan to create more ecozones in Antique and other provinces nationwide to spur countryside development.

“We also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to ramp up digitalization in government to ensure fast and efficient delivery of services to the public and to carry out Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual’s directive to adopt digital transformation to boost the country’s competitiveness as investment destination particularly for high-tech and innovator accelerator companies,” Panga said.

PEZA locators account for 82 percent of the country’s total annual commodity exports and 60 percent of services exports.

“We vow to continuously perform our mandate to the best of our ability and help the administration in achieving its bid for the country to graduate to upper-middle income status within the term of President Marcos,” Panga said.