Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, House committee on taxation chairperson, appealed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday to appoint the Philippine Economic Zone Authority head that can improve investor confidence in the country and could fight smuggling.
“Drama-free is key,” Salceda said.
He said the President must nominate a PEZA director general “as soon as he can find a suitable appointee,” adding “the leadership question over PEZA threatens our ability to maximize the favorable conditions for exports.”
Salceda was referring to the competing claims to the post between Duterte-era PEZA director general Charito Plaza and officer-in-charge deputy director general Tereso Panga.
“Only PBBM can decisively end the confusion through an appointment. The PEZA law is very clear that the director general is appointed by the President,” the Albay lawmaker said.
A PEZA director general is critical in the fight against smuggling, Salceda added.
“With a weak peso, the best thing we can do, economically, is to focus on exports and dollar-earning industries and services. The leadership issue in PEZA will make investors think our investment regime is overly politicized and therefore risky,” he explained.
“That means, we are surely getting the bad parts of a weak currency, such as high import prices, but we are handicapped from taking advantage of the better parts, such as higher exports-to-peso value and more competitive export pricing,” Salceda noted.
The lawmaker said he is especially concerned that “if the dispute extends until budget hearings in Congress, the institution will suffer.”
“The PEZA director general submits the agency’s budget to the Board, and without a director general, we might not be clear about which budget to discuss in Congress,” he argued.