To entice more investors, Peza seeks to enhance perks

By Alden M. Monzon@AldenMonzonINQ

November 28, 2022 12:00:00

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) said last week that they are working on amendments to the nearly three-decades-old law, which saw to its creation, including changes to their incentives system to make the country' economic zones more attractive to investors.

Tereso Panga, officer in charge and deputy director general for Policy and Planning of Peza, said that among the policies they were pushing for was the institutionalization of the work-from-home (WFH) policy in the investment promotion agency's mandate.

"We need to amend the Peza law. It's a 27-year-old law, and we're saying there is a need to institutionalize work-from-home policy, although this is already the direction, so that both BOI (Board of Investments) and Peza will be on an equal footing," Panga said during the agency's recognition day for investors.


Earlier this year, Peza-registered business process outsourcing (BPO) firms operating under a WFH arrangement due to the pandemic had to transfer their registration to the Department of Trade and Industry's BOI to retain their tax perks.

This is due to the absence of a definitive legal framework that allows such Peza-registered firms to keep incentives while operating outside designated economic zones.

Additionally, Panga said they were also pushing for the rationalization in the process of designation economic zones, hinting that they currently lack the independence to make independent decisions on the matter.

"It's only Peza that goes through the presidential proclamation process. In the case of the [Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan] and [Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority], they can designate areas as ecozones without having to go through presidential proclamation," he said.

Development strategy

The Peza official said they were also currently in talks with the National Economic and Development Authority to reinstate the ecozone development strategy in the Philippine Development Plan.

Another highlight in the investment promotion agency's goal is the inclusion of at least 13 new types of economic zones that they want to promote to outside investors, many of which have chosen to go to other countries such as Vietnam and Thailand because of supposedly better incentives packages.

These ecozone types include aerotropolis, agro-forestry economic zones, aquamarine parks, biotech centers, defense industrial complexes, e-commerce zones, halal and food production hubs, and jewelry parks.

Knowledge, Innovation, Science and Technology parks, mineral processing zones, pharmaceutical zones and renewable energy parks are also on the Peza's list.

There are currently 421 economic zones strewn across the country, 187 of which are in the National Capital Region.

Peza is eyeing the creation of at least 13 more of these economic zones in various locations in the Philippines, with one already endorsed to the Office of the President and the remaining ones waiting to be greenlit at the departmental level.

From January to September of this year, Peza said it had attracted almost P40 billion in investments, which spans 148 new and expansion projects. INQ