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The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) said it is targeting a 6-7 percent growth in employment in its economic zones by the end of 2022. 

In a televised interview on Thursday, PEZA Promotions and Public Relations Group (PPRG) Manager Aleem Siddiqui Guiapal said, “We submitted a target, around 6 to 7 percent.” 

According to Guiapal, PEZA currently has around 1.7 million workers across the country. The PEZA official added, “So, the 6 percent of that, hopefully kapag nag-activate itong ating mga Ecozone nationwide, malaking bagay po ito na isulong natin”. 

Guiapal emphasized that the target could be achieved through collaborating with governors and mayors of different local government units (LGUs). 

The PEZA official also noted that the P3 trillion peso worth of investments from ecozones in 2021 could increase in 2022, because Guiapal said according to a survey, there was a “boost of confidence” among investors when President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. appointed his economic managers. 

Guiapal also cited the political will of LGU officials as among the factors that could drive the growth of investments in ecozones for this year. He said, “Kung sila mismo, kung interesado silang ma-build yung negosyo, ma-build yung investment, kinakailangan pong magsimula sa kanila.” 

Last Thursday, Guiapal said in a statement that they are hoping in Peza that more economic zones in Mindanao will emerge, as there are vast natural resources, pool of talent and human capital in the South. 

The PEZA official said they have done ground works and identified 18 viable locations in Mindanao for the creation of ecozones including the provision of halal hubs and Sharia-compliant credit facilities.

Guiapal cited the factors that PEZA considers in identifying areas which can be converted into ecozones. The PEZA official said the factors are the feasibility of the location, feasibility of the business from the point of view of the investor, and the peace and order situation in that specific location.

In terms of the feasibility of the location, Guiapal said the ecozone should be located near the airport and seaport. 

The PEZA official also underscored that if there is peace and order, it would be easier to attract investors in the country. 

Guiapal said Peza coordinated with the Mindanao Development Authority, Southern Philippine Development Authority, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and other agencies of the government. The PEZA official added that they are collaborating with different local government units from Sultan Kudarat to Maguindanao to the different parts of Visayas. 

He said the Mindanao Development Authority made a case study on the proposed 18 economic zones outside of Metro Manila. 

Guiapal highlighted the crucial role of LGUs in promoting investments. For instance, he cited the Calabarzon region as an example as it has been very aggressive in investment promotion.