REPACKAGING PEZA. Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito 'Ching' Plaza announces on Monday the new image PEZA will be launching on April 30. The new image will be adapted by the Economic Zone in Baguio to further boost the country’s export industry. (PNA photo by Pamela Mariz Geminiano)
BAGUIO CITY -- The Philippine Economic Zone Authority' (PEZA) is repackaging its image with the launching of new programs to further boost the country's exports and attain its goal of creating more jobs for Filipinos.
"The dream as provided in the medium-term development plan under the Duterte administration is the 'Mission 2040', that time will come when there are no more poor Filipinos, because all of them will have a stable job that would upgrade them to the middle class society," said PEZA Director General Charito Plaza during a late afternoon press conference on Monday.
Plaza said they are shifting the concept of the economic zones from being plain industrial parks to a combination of industrial, commercial, and residential area.
Within the industrial economic zones, she said there will be commercial and residential areas that will be incorporated like malls, schools, hotels, banks and condominiums.
She, however, clarified that the residential area will be exclusive to the locators and workers of the industries within the economic zones.
She said a map will be available to the public, allowing them to see the areas occupied by the different economic zones in the country, for possible available spaces.
"Another is the Philippine Economic Zones map wherein all the existing new and potential economic zones will be placed in the map so that investors or those who would want to expand will simply look at the map and see the possible available areas where they can relocate or expand their industry", she said.
The creation of Special Economic Zone Institute is also one of the programs in the pipeline.
"In partnership with State Universities and Colleges (SUC), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Department of Education (DepEd), training will be conducted to equip more people with skills and allow workers to match the manpower skills needed by the industries," she said.
She also cited the adoption of the marketing slogan "Galing Pinas" which means everything made in the Philippines is of good quality.
Plaza also talked about the PEZA Investment Promotion Partners (PIPPs) that will be organized in countries all over the world where there are Filipino communities or chambers of industries. They will be asked to link PEZA to possible foreign investors or organizations that can bring their capital to the Philippines.
Allan Datahan, PEZA officer-in-charge Deputy Administrator, said the Baguio Export Zone Authority has shown a very good performance, making USD1.6 billion in 2016.
This figure is a consolidated export data from the Baguio Economic zone, John-Hay Special Tourism Economic Zone (JHSTEZ), and the SM Baguio Cyberzone Building.
In 2017, the BEZ, JHSTEZ, SM Baguio Cyberzone Building, together with Neutrinus Information Technology Center and Abanao Square IT Center, reached USD1.9 billion in exports.
Datahan said the host local government receives a share from the income of the economic zone.
He said PHP200 million and PHP160 million were remitted to the city government in 2016 and 2017, respectively, as its share.
Another 3 percent is remitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the form of taxes.
Adapting green zones
Plaza said that they are starting to come up with different types of ecozones not just industrial zones as part of the new program.
This includes agro-industrial, agro-forestry, island cities, IT industries, state universities, renewable energy and eco-industrial parks and mineral processing economic zone.
Plaza added that agro-industrial industries and companies may help farmers, especially from Benguet, to develop agricultural lands.
She said the products of the farmers all over the country will not go to waste as there will be a lot of industries to buy their products.
Implementing green and healthy eco zones, and drug and pollution free eco-zones also covers the program.
She added that it is not only her vision, but also in response to the dreams and visions of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The new programs of the PEZA will be launched on Apr. 30, 2019.
Plaza assured that part of the innovation is making all PEZA zones Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM)-ready.
She said there are around 1.5 million workers in all the economic zones and providing them DRRM training will allow the country to have enough emergency responders during calamities. (with reports from Krystelle Luken Pangpangdeo, OJT/PNA)