MANILA — Investment pledges at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) surged by 89.43 percent to PHP132.66 billion in January to July 2017, from PHP70.03 billion in the same period in 2016.
In a press conference Tuesday, PEZA Director General Charito Plaza said these investments came from 362 projects registered with PEZA in the first seven months of the year, higher by 17.9 percent from the 308 projects it registered a year ago.
Plaza noted that the increase in investments in PEZA reflected investors’ optimism in the Philippines as an investment destination, as well as its active promotion to attract foreign companies to locate in the country.
Seventy percent of PEZA locators were foreign investors, mostly from Japan, the United States, and South Korea.
The PEZA chief said that investments for economic zone development were the key drivers to the improving performance of PEZA this year.
Ecozone developments accounted for 63 percent of PEZA’s total investment approvals for the first semester of 2017 amounting to PHP75.41 billion, increasing by 95.2 percent from PHP38.64 billion on the first half of 2016.
For the same period, investment approvals in manufacturing sector rose 26.9 percent to PHP21.55 billion this year from PHP16.99 billion in the previous year.
However, investment approvals in the information technology (IT) industry declined 33.5 percent in first semester to PHP8.14 billion from PHP12.22 billion in the first half of 2016.
“Most of our BPOs and call centers locators are American companies, so they are waiting for clearer policy of Trump administration, because of the American first policy of Trump administration,” Plaza said.
“Nevertheless, none of those existing BPO and call centers pulled out [their investments]. They stayed, and some even took the risk of still expanding by putting up new branches in different parts of the country,” she added.
Meanwhile, direct employment in all PEZA ecozone nationwide increased by 6.41 percent to 1.36 million in H1 2017 from 1.28 million in the same period of the previous year.
Exports revenues grew by 12.37 percent to USD25.05 billion in H1 2017 from USD22.3 billion a year ago.