DESPITE the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, more than 1.1 million workers have continued to report for work in Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) industrial estates.
Peza Director General Charito Plaza said around 85 percent of Peza locators have continued to operate despite the pandemic. These companies employ a total of 1,181,115 workers.
"Peza-registered companies which are continually operating during this time are helping to keep the economy afloat as well as provide jobs," Plaza said during a talk hosted by the World Free Zones Organization last Sept. 15, 2020.
She said the success or failure in the economic zones starts with the behavior in following the health protocols mandated by the government.
"We in Peza have adopted the behavior of looking globally and acting locally," Plaza said.
Looking globally means striving to be an active participant in the global supply chain, Plaza added.
"At a local level, Peza contributes to make the economy export and production-driven rather than import-dependent towards making the Philippine economy self-reliant, self-sustaining, and resource generating," she said.
Pera also seeks to build more information technology (IT) infrastructure in various regions and spread economic growth.
Plaza explained that the country has millions of hectares of idle lands which are available for development into economic zones and for environment-friendly industrialization based on land potentials and land resources.
She said they are identifying the agricultural lands in the country where Peza will put up potential agro-industrial zones.
In addition, with the boom of e-commerce, Peza is now planning to construct more logistics and transportation hubs in every region in order to inspire farmers and entrepreneurs to complete the supply chain.
With this, she encouraged local government units as well as public and private land owners to develop their lands into different types of economic zones which will become economic drivers by building smart towns and cities and new metropolitan areas in every region that could attract investments.
Strategic creation of ecozones are seen to create social progress which has been modeled by the four public zones located in Cavite, Baguio, Pampanga, and Cebu.
"The LGUs that host these four public ecozones have seen the spread of investments, growth in employment, technological advancement, and land development which result to the multiplier effect of lower poverty rate and crime incidence," Plaza said. (JOB with PR)