PEZA’s Panga pitches CREATE as platform to stir local production

THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is urging the government to leverage the Corporate Recovery and Tax incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act as a platform to stimulate domestic production and services.

“Maybe it’s about time that the government, with the CREATE as the platform, stimulate domestic production and services by giving incentives to Filipino-owned enterprises,” PEZA Officer-in-Charge Tereso O. Panga said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Anvil Exchange Forum, Panga added that some of the Anvil members engaged in the domestic market have already expressed interest in exploring business within the ecozones, including development of ecozones in rural and new growth areas.

He also underscored the importance of increasing domestic output, as domestic producers  far outnumber the export producers.

“Ultimately, domestic production contributes to the [gross domestic product] GDP. It cannot be just the exporters doing all the production. This is also a sign of strength of an economy when we see domestic output increasing. If we aggregate all these domestic producers, they are far bigger than the export producers, except that they are not aware of their incentives,” Panga added.

The PEZA interim chief, as part of aggressive investment promotions, also pitched to the Anvil Business Club the investment and business opportunities in various economic zones to young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs.

“We can help in the administration’s efforts to graduate to an upper-middle income economy with our partnership and more importantly, with the contributions of young entrepreneurs like yourselves in shaping the market and our future,” Panga noted.

The Anvil Business Club is an organization of young Filipino-Chinese businessmen and professionals committed to letting young entrepreneurs and professionals pursue excellence in their chosen fields for the economic and social progress of the country.

As of 2022, there are 160 registered Chinese companies in PEZA contributing P25.446 billion investments or 0.94 percent of the total investments in PEZA. These companies also generated $358.434-million exports and created 15,724 direct jobs.

The key industries that these Chinese locator companies engage in are: basic metals, real estate activities, rubber and plastic products, fabricated metal products, warehousing and storage, electrical machinery and apparatus, radio, television and communication equipment and apparatus, software development, business process outsourcing (BPO), and paper products.

Permanent PEZA chief

Meanwhile, Anvil also echoed the urgency of appointing a permanent director general of PEZA to “ensure the implementation and unhampered operations” of the agency in promoting and attracting more investors in the country.

“Many IT-BPOs, foreign investor business groups and professional groups, even PEZA employees, have publicly called for the President and the national government to permanently appoint [OIC Panga] as the Director General of PEZA,” Anvil Chairman Wilson Lee Flores said. “He is a very good career official who is with PEZA, one of the most progressive and pro-business institutions. He is behind many of the progressive policies that are very important for ecozone development for inviting foreign direct investments,” he added. In a separate memorandum addressed to the president dated November 11,2022, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual also endorsed the appointment of Panga as Director General of PEZA.

“His extensive experience as Deputy Director General will be useful to the PEZA’s current administration. He has led PEZA’s policy and planning, ecozone development, digital transformation, building and environmental code compliance, energy efficiency, and other eco-industrial initiatives since 2022,” the memorandum penned by Pascual read.

“We are confident in Mr. Panga’s leadership ability to strengthen PEZA and advance this Administration’s progressive goals to generate investments, jobs, exports, and other economic opportunities for the country,” the letter added.