The Philippine Economic Zone Authority said Wednesday it approved 57 new projects worth P25.38 billion in the first quarter, up by 54 percent from P16.49 billion in the same period last year.
“The Philippines is still indeed an investment haven and PEZA’s brand of excellence, a one-stop non-stop shop that has become part of the solution during these challenging times, and continued operations is chosen by many investors,” said PEZA Director-General Charito Plaza.
The new investments are expected to provide employment to some 5,601 workers. Among the 57 newly-approved projects, 43 would be located in Luzon, 10 in Visayas, and four in Mindanao.
Data showed of the total, 22 investments are export projects, 15 are IT, seven are facilities, three are logistics, two are utilities and tourism projects and eight are new ecozone development projects.
Plaza said the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge of COVID cases in the country continued to pose challenges to agency’s investment performance, but “PEZA remains confident as exports from economic zones soared 15.63-percent growth in the first quarter.”
She said that from $12.91 billion in the first quarter of 2020, exports grew by 13.5 percent to $14.93 billion in the first quarter of 2021. Employment in ecozones also went up by 2.94 percent to 1.58 million workers from 1.53 million workers a year ago.
Economic zones reported that 90 percent or 2,701 companies were operating nationwide with 1.93 million employees both working in skeletal force and work-from-home arrangements. The manufacturing sector was 94-percent operational while the operating capacity of IT-BPO industry was estimated at 84 percent.
Plaza cited the unwavering confidence of locator companies on PEZA’s efforts to provide all means necessary to continue the companies’ operations.
“With the approval of new projects and increase in the investments and exports in the first quarter of 2021, this proves that PEZA is unfaltering in keeping the Philippine economy afloat and being on top of its game in performing its mandate, mobilizing the country’s investment competitiveness, and creating employment opportunities for many Filipinos,” Plaza said.