Other Government Release

Philippine Economic Zone Authority

PEZA highlights PH initiatives on logistics and infrastructure, more opportunities for American investments

Pasay City – With a bullish outlook for the year and beyond, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) continues to encourage more American companies to explore business opportunities in the Philippines as the Marcos Jr. administration furthers its initiatives to improve the country’s logistics and infrastructure.

PEZA Director General Tereso O. Panga presented updates on the country’s logistics and infrastructure projects and PEZA’s plans and programs to complement these initiatives at the Future of Logistics 2024 forum organized by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. (AmCham) in partnership with Santos Knight Frank and Aboitiz InfraCapital, last 29 May 2024 at The Executive Centre, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati City.

Positive Developments and Opportunities

Apart from the strengthened efforts on investment attraction including the conduct of missions to the US and other countries, the Philippines is currently presented with rare opportunities that it can leverage to make itself a prime investment destination in the region. This includes the China+1 strategy, the US CHIPS Act, and the US-Japan-Philippines trilateral agreement, among others.

“We also see our investors taking advantage of the upcoming Luzon economic corridor which will support connectivity among Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas as well as facilitate strategic, anchor investments within each hub in high-impact infrastructure projects among others,” said DG Panga.

PEZA also mentioned that the Philippines is now eyeing about US$ 100 billion prospects for investment deals from the US and Japan into EMS-SMS, Manufacturing and supply chains, clean energy, agri-business, rail, and port infrastructure development.

Moreover, the PEZA Chief highlighted the Philippines’ consistent high GDP growth among ASEAN makes us one of the best-performing economies in the region.

He stated, “When we have robust GDP growth, we attract more investments! This has been our country’s status for 2-3 years in a row and where in PEZA, we see a corresponding increase in our annual ecozone investments since 2022, achieving a six-year high in 2023 to PhP 175.7 Billion.”

“We cannot pass up on the current developments and opportunities in ally-shoring as the Philippines is still in the sweet spot for attracting investments into the country,” expressed DG Panga as PEZA remains bullish in increasing its more than 300 companies with American equity in the Philippines and bring in more investments in the country and jobs for the Filipino people.

DG Panga also shared that the inclusion of Ecozone Logistics Service Enterprises (ELSE) in the new Strategic Investment Priorities Plan allows for more logistics companies to come in and support the upcoming new investments, especially within the ecozones.

“If we can grow the number of our locator companies, all those in the supply chain, logistics, and others will benefit from it. PEZA is the microcosm of the bigger economy. If we see ecozones flourishing, we can also see a more vibrant economy,” he said.

In support of this, Procurement & Supply Institute of Asia (PASIA) Global Chairman Villasenor noted that investors “see a very optimistic view about the developments that are happening in the Philippines… There’s a significant opportunity that we can reap the benefits in the next 18-24 months.”

Areas for improvement

However, panelists composed of representatives from both the public and private sectors noted that there is a lot more to be done to improve the country’s current conditions.

During the panel discussion, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc – Association of Logistics Managers (SEIPI-ALM) Chairperson, Ms. Wilda Calderon, said the country needs to make improvements to the challenges at hand which prove to be barriers to doing business. She emphasized that the implementation of ease of doing business, especially in the government, is really a must.

In response to this, PEZA is implementing several ‘leap-frogging’ strategies to address the challenges in the supply chain, industrial, and logistics sectors and in the process attract more industrial investments, particularly in the ecozones.

These strategies include the automation of systems and processes to provide excellent service to our clients with our unique brand of service; the creation of an off-dock container yard in our zones for a more effective container exchange proposed ecozone CFS, and the creation of a logistics park under PEZA’s new frontiers in ecozone development; multi-industry infrastructure convergence where PEZA and the government are committed to providing for all infrastructure needs of our locators; strengthened partnership with the Bureau of Customs to ensure unhampered operations to and from the zones; and continuous engagement with lawmakers for the possible amendments on investment laws and other economic provisions as well as in updating archaic laws such as the parameters for regulated commodities that are not aligned with international standards.

“We are committed to doing these strategies from within our own domain and sphere of influence, and we will continue to strengthen our partnership with other government agencies and industry partners like AmCham to address these challenges. In doing so, the Philippines can be the gateway to the Asia Pacific!” expressed DG Panga.

Ease of doing business is a whole-of-industry approach

It was also highlighted during the forum that enhancing the country’s ease of doing business is crucial to addressing the pain points for investments.

“You cannot solve something with the same actions that you’ve been doing before… There’s so much to be done but we need a consolidated effort wherein businesses will invest,” said PASIA Global Chairman Villasenor.

SEIPI ALM Chairperson Calderon shared that SEIPI is now seeing an increasing trend for the EM-SMS industry despite the initial flat growth target. As such, they need support from the government to make this possible. “We have lots of support systems that we would like to optimize the benefits of working with them,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Engr. Jamandre, who is also AmCham’s Infrastructure and Logistics Committee Chairperson, cited PEZA’s brand of service to be replicated among agencies to provide ease of doing business, especially for investors.

“I believe that the bigger PEZA is actually the better Philippines… PEZA should be the role model for every agency,” expressed Engr. Jamandre.

Committed to providing the best ecosystem for investors, DG Panga emphasized the need to implement not only a whole-of-government approach but a whole-of-industry approach to amplify the business and investment experience in the Philippines, especially through the ecozones.

“We cannot do this alone, but with all of us working together, we can make the Philippines an attractive destination in the region,” noted the PEZA Chief. ###