Investments in economic zones jumped 50.5 percent in the first quarter to P51.34 billion from P34.11 billion a year ago, as foreign and local companies remain bullish on the economy, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority said Wednesday.
“This speaks a lot for the reinvigorated and enthusiastic confidence of both our foreign and local investors to the present and decisive leadership of the country,” Peza director-general Charito Plaza said in a speech during the agency’s 22nd Investors Recognition night Tuesday.
Plaza said total investments in economic zones reached P3.377 trillion from 1995 to 2016.
She said 366 economic zones were now operational, up from 16 operating economic zones in 1995.
Seventy-four of these economic zones are in manufacturing, 250 are IT parks and centers, 21 are agro industrial economic zones mostly in Mindanao, 19 are tourism economic zones and two are medical tourism parks.
“With the growth of Peza economic zones, the number of Peza enterprises have also grown from 331 in 1995 to 3,940 as of January this year and still continuously counting,” Plaza said.
She said Peza exports from 1995 to 2016 reached $654.936 billion, with Peza locator contributing an average of 70 percent to the Philippine commodity exports over the last 10 years from 2006 to 2015.
Plaza said as of end-2016, 1.36 million were directly employed by Peza companies.
Peza also remitted P17.651 billion to the national government representing taxes, annual dividends and payments of previous loans in the past 22 years.
“From these figures, we ca see how competitive and attractive to investors our economic zones have become, and we owe this mostly to our effective partnership with the private sector,” Plaza said.
Plaza said Peza planned to create new economic zones that would industrialize the Philippines such as agro-forestry, aquamarine, mineral processing, defense industrial complex, renewable energy, halal hubs and production.
“We will be exploring new types of economic zones that would cater to domestic manufacturing activities of micro, small and medium sized enterprises and shall have new and various types of ecozones,” Plaza said.
The agency will also come out with the National Economic Zone Map in the next couple of weeks.
Plaza said the map would show available areas for investments in economic zone development.