Malacañang has approved a dozen new economic zones worth P6.4 billion in the middle of a pandemic, according to data from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

Peza Director General Charito Plaza said in a statement on Wednesday that the 12 ecozones that were approved from January to early June this year would host manufacturers and business process outsourcing firms that were eligible for tax incentives.

“Peza is grateful to the President for his wise approval for the proclamation of new ecozones in the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Once export companies invest in these newly proclaimed ecozones, these will surely multiply investments and economic activities and opportunities in the Philippines,” she said.

Of the 12, nine are information technology (IT) centers, one IT park and two manufacturing ecozones. Peza said 67 percent of the new ecozones would be in Luzon, while 33 percent would be in Visayas and Mindanao.

Economic zones need to get Presidential proclamation before their locators could be eligible for tax incentives.

When asked for data on the backlog, Plaza said there were 63 ecozone proposals that were pending as of early June.

Together, they represent P70.8 billion worth of investments.

Plaza said in a Viber message that the Office of the President cited certain deficiencies in some of the applications that were jointly endorsed by he Department of Trade and Industry and the Peza.

There are hundreds of economic zones in the country. As of May, they house a total of 4,542 companies, which directly and indirectly employ 6.5 million Filipino workers.


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