MANILA -- The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) disclosed over the weekend that it has approved a total of PHP438.78 billion worth of projects during the first two years of the Duterte administration. PEZA Promotions and Public Relations Group Manager Elmer San Pascual said these investments came from 1,076 projects registered with the investment promotion agency (IPA) from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018.
According to San Pascual, this means that PEZA has approved an average of 1.47 projects with a value of PHP601 million everyday during the two year span. However, he noted that investment pledges in PEZA in the first 365 days of the administration was higher by 37 percent than the following 365 days of President Rodrigo Duterte as Chief Executive.
The IPA’s data showed that from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, investment project registrations in PEZA reached PHP268.36 billion, while pledges from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 only amounted to PHP170.42 billion. attributed the decline in project registration in the IPA to the uncertainties brought by the tax reform program of the government.
“Our investors are also worried because in their interpretation of TRAIN 2 (second package of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion), seems like PEZA will be demolished, so with the other IPAs, in the sense that the present authorities that we have now is being removed in the TRAIN 2, like the incentives authority will be under the proposed FIRB (Fiscal Incentives Review Board),” said Plaza.
“Our industries are in the panic mode, particularly those who deferred their investments in 2017 because of the TRAIN [Package] 1, hoping that everything will be stabilized in 2018, only to be welcomed by TRAIN Package 2. And that has created a lot of uncertainties in them,” San Pascual echoed.
Plaza, although saying that PEZA acknowledges the "meaningful" objectives of TRAIN 2, said they will be pushing for initiatives to spare the IPA from the second package of tax reform program. She said PEZA wants to retain current incentive packages and even enhance them to attract more investors and for companies to locate their businesses within economic zones.
“Fifty-six percent of the gross domestic product of the country comes from Metro Manila and the CALABARZON (Region IV-A) where most of our economic zones and industries are located. Meaning 43 percent of the gross domestic product comes from the 16 other regions which has no economic zones,” the official mentioned.
“We want to put a balance to our economy; put a balance in land development; put a balance in job creation; put a balance in transfer of technology,” she added.
Moreover, from July 1, 2016 up to end-May 2018, direct jobs created in PEZA zones reached 119,031, meaning 170 direct jobs are being added every day within economic zones during the Duterte administration. “Wherever people have jobs, there is no insurgency, no poverty, no rebellion -- that is what PEZA would like to spread all over the country,” Plaza stressed. (PNA)
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