MANILA, Philippines – Investment pledges approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) continued to rise significantly, buoyed by optimism on the current administration and the country’s sound economic fundamentals.
PEZA director general Charito Plaza said yesterday projects approved by the agency soared 89.4 percent in the seven months to July to P132.66 billion from P70.03 billion in the same period last year.
She said a total 363 projects were registered during the period, 70 percent of which came from foreign investors, while the remaining 30 percent came from local companies.
The impact of the country’s renewed ties with China has yet to reflect on the latest figures, according to the PEZA chief, as there are still minimal new Chinese investments being registered.
“Major driver for the strong investments, I would say, is because investors are more hopeful under the Duterte administration that there is a better government, more credible government, and because of aggressive promotion efforts of PEZA,” Plaza said.
“They are also feeling there is ease of doing business in the Philippines,” she added.
Investments in economic zone development and in manufacturing have increased but investments in the information technology sector, saw a decline of 16.8 percent in the seven-month period to P11.89 billion from P9.89 billion in the same period last year.
“The decrease in IT investment is because most of our call center industries are American companies and they are still awaiting for clearer policy of the Trump administration and his America First policy. Nevertheless, none of those existing BPO companies pulled out. They stayed and some even took the risk of still expanding by putting up new branches,” Plaza said.
As of end-June, PEZA reported that direct employment generated by its locators have reached 1.35 million, 6.4 percent higher than 1.27 million in the same period last year.
Exports, meanwhile, rose 12.3 percent to $25.04 billion from $22.29 billion last year.
Plaza said PEZA provides 80 percent of the country’s exports income.