The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is encouraging local government units (LGUs), private landowners and business groups to have their lands converted into an economic zone to enhance their development potential.
Director-General Charito B. Plaza, in a press conference held here today, said she found out that only several areas in the country have economic zones 23 years since the law was passed creating the PEZA.
Most prominent was in the CALABARZON and Metro Manila. The presence of economic zones in these areas result to these places posting the “lowest poverty incidence, crime incidence and eradicated insurgency”.
Also, they contributed 56 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, she said.
“There is a big economic imbalance. So I am now going around provinces and cities talking with the business chambers, the landowners, the private sector,” she said.
She added that every region, province, town and city should have economic zones to serve as “economic drivers”.
“We have to spread the development in the countryside,” she stated.
She explained that both the developer and industrial investor that locate in an economic zone will enjoy incentives. They are entitled to a five percent tax from their gross income, zero Value Added Tax (VAT) on local purchases and tax and duty free importation, Plaza added
Foreign investors are allowed 100 percent ownership and they can also source five percent of their manpower abroad. They can sell 30 percent of their products in the local market while its 50-50 for Filipino investors.
Plaza added that they have a one-stop shop that will help process the requirements of investors.
The PEZA chief also underscored that the economic zone concept has been changed such that it caters to industries, commercial and residential towards township. “An eco-zone now is already a community by itself,” she said.
As part of the improvement at the PEZA, she revealed that they are “spreading the creation of environment-friendly industrialization”.
Also a PEZA Institute is mulled in every region that will partner with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to train workers to become responsive to the need of the industry.
Meantime, Joseph Timothy Rivera, special adviser to the director general Middle East and Europe said that two areas in the region have already been identified as potential retirement villages. These are situated in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo and another one in Guimaras.
Other potential investments in Iloilo are renewable energy and agro-industries.
Plaza proceeded to Antique for a dialogue with LGUs, business groups and the private sector. (PNA)