TAGUIG CITY, August 10 -- Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza showcased on Monday PEZA’s record of positive growth in foreign direct investments in the first semester of 2020 amidst COVID-19 pandemic. The positive growth has been registered specifically in the IT-BPO and manufacturing sectors.
Total economic zone investments approved for the period January 1 - July 31, 2020 amount to PhP 52.01 Billion, which is 27% lower compared to 2019 investments worth PhP 71.21 Billion. These investments came from 164 new and expansion projects.
For foreign direct investments, PEZA increased 26% or PhP 36.26 Billion compared to PhP 28.75 Billion from the same period in 2019. For local investments, PEZA recorded PhP 15.75 Billion which is 63% decrease from last year’s figure of PhP 42.46 Billion.
For its actual exports and employment data for the period of January 1 to June 30, 2020, PEZA reported US$ 24.81 Billion and 1,476,076 million for employment. Compared to 2019, PEZA posted a 7% decline for exports and 3% decline for employment.
Growth in IT-BPO and manufacturing
For the Manufacturing sector, investments increased by 24% or PhP 23.34 Billion compared to only PhP 18.77 Billion last year.
For the IT-BPM sector, PEZA recorded PhP 11.40 Billion which is 37% higher than last year’s PhP 8.32 Billion investment.
Symbol of hope amidst the crisis
Plaza remains positive that the agency and the country as a whole will be able to bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic affected our economy badly. It’s now been reported that we’re in a recession, with the country’s GDP shrinking to 16.5% in the second quarter,” said Plaza.
“Nevertheless, we at PEZA remain hopeful to bounce back from this. We have to treat this crisis as both a lesson and an opportunity,” explained the PEZA Chief.
PEZA Board chairman and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez also shared the same sentiments as Plaza.
“In an economy that’s really offering a lot of good potential [and] bright opportunities like the Philippines, it’s okay to go back (for OFWs) because we have a lot of opportunities now than before. Yes, we’ve been challenged by the pandemic, I’m optimistic that we can easily bounce back. It may take a while because of the pandemic but we will go back to the [6-7%] growth rate,” said Lopez during the PEZA DOLLAR program launching in July 29.
Further, Plaza, “Even with the difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, PEZA continues to attract investors to the country and promote the creation of special economic zones especially in to the countryside that will become economic drivers in every region.”
“COVID-19 cannot stop PEZA in performing its mandate to register, manage, and operate public and private economic zones in the country. PEZA continues to attract investors to come and invest to the Philippines despite the crisis,” noted Plaza. (PEZA)