Total investments approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) reached nearly P30 billion in the first four months of 2024, a nine percent decline from P33.094 billion worth of projects cleared in the same period last year.

In a statement yesterday, PEZA said a total of 73 new and expansion projects with investments amounting to P29.955 billion have been approved by the investment promotion agency since the start of the year.

PEZA said the projects approved this year are expected to generate $1.094 billion worth of exports and create 14,812 direct jobs.

These projects involve export manufacturing, information technology - business process management (IT-BPM), facilities, logistics and ecozone development.

In terms of location, PEZA said most of the approved projects this year are in Luzon, particularly Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Bicol and Central Luzon, while some are in Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

For the month of April alone, PEZA approved 23 new and expansion projects with investments amounting to P15.003 billion. In April last year, PEZA approved 14 projects with total investments of P20.556 billion.

Projects approved by the PEZA in April this year are expected to generate $69.778 million worth of exports and provide 3,254 jobs.

Of the 23 projects approved in April this year, eight involve export manufacturing, six are IT-BPM, two are facilities, one involves logistics and six are for ecozone development.

Most of the approved projects in April are located in the National Capital Region, followed by Calabarzon and Central Luzon.

There are also some approved projects located in the Bicol, Central Visayas and Davao regions.

While the approved investments this year are lower than last year's, PEZA director general Tereso Panga told reporters the agency is 'hoping that in the next board meetings, more applications will be filed.'

PEZA is aiming to approve P250 billion worth of investments this year. Last year, it approved P175.7 billion worth of investments.

As part of efforts to attract investments, Panga said the PEZA is aiming to make ecozones an integrated mixed-use, smart, self-contained and self-sustaining township development with an embedded port, power, water, telecom, transport, housing, schools, commercial and other ancillary facilities.

He said PEZA is looking to come up with the guidelines for self-sustaining ecozones within the year.

Locator companies inside the economic zones are now demanding elements such as access to clean and green production and renewable energy.

'So without these facilities inside the economic zone, we can no longer be competitive because we're up against other ecozones in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) that are also aided by the different donors pushing for clean and green production agenda. So it's now a must,' he said.

At present, he said around 10 of the leading economic zones in the country are compliant with the eco-industrial development model, which means they subscribe to the circular economy and sustainable development goals and are energy-efficient.

Following the recent proclamation of a manufacturing economic zone in Tanza, Cavite and an IT park in Pasig, Panga said PEZA is hopeful that around 11 more economic zones would be proclaimed by President Marcos this year.


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