Under the leadership of Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will soon launch its Development Outreach for Labor, Livelihood, and Advancement of Resources (Human Resource, Technical Resource, Natural Resource, and Financial Resource) program, or also known as the PEZA DOLLAR program.
The program is part of PEZA’s new 10 programs and special projects. Moreover, the DOLLAR program is also in line with President Duterte’s Balik Probinsya program also known as Executive Order No. 114 which was signed on May 6, 2020, and Administrative Order No. 18 which was signed on June 17, 2019.
AO No. 18 seeks to accelerate rural progress in the countryside through the development of special economic zones and thus ensure the continuous improvement of the economy through various investments in infrastructures, agriculture, business, transportation, and building resilient communities.
PEZA aims to spread development of the countryside by promoting rural development, and to encourage nationwide economic activity and generate more income outside of Metro Manila. This will also lead to the economic growth of local government units (LGUs) which will be hosting the viable and environment-friendly ecozones,” said Director General Plaza.
PEZA’s 10-point program
The goal of PEZA’s ten-point program is to fully industrialize, and enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia.
First among its three objectives is to attract and assist investors to participate in the improvement of the infrastructure, utilities, logistics, transportation, communication, facilities and information technology through partnership with both international, national, and local agencies and associations as well as the private sector. Secondly,
the program seeks to create a globally competitive, sustainable, and environment-friendly business environment in the economic zones that will fully utilize idle lands, maximize production, manufacturing and export capability of the country, eradicate import dependence and enhance local value added of export producers. Lastly, its third objective is to train and transform workers in to being multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, rich human capital and world-class works.
Programs under the 10-point program includes the creation of eco-towns, metropolitan areas, sustainable and smart ecozones, food terminals, transportation, logistics hubs, communication, information and support infrastructures, and special economic zone institutes in every region. Additionally, there will also be ecozone tourism investment forum and roadshows for potential foreign investors to different ecozones in the Philippines.
In order to promote ecozones worldwide, PEZA also partners with international and domestic business chambers, industries associations, nonprofit organization (NGOs), and Socio-Civic groups.
Lastly, a number of PEZA employees, ecozone developers, and industry workers are also part of military reservist units and the Disaster Resilience and Emergency Management (DREAM) response teams.
DOLLAR program objectives
Director General Plaza explains that “The objective of the DOLLAR program is to promote and accelerate industrial, economic, and social development of the country so that jobs can be provided for the Filipino people especially among those living in rural areas. This can be done by identifying job opportunities within PEZA’s 4,542 locator companies or its 408 economic zones some of which are located outside the congested Metro Manila.”
With the DOLLAR program, PEZA also seeks to help provide jobs for the 27,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have been recently repatriated due to the COVID 19 pandemic affecting different countries. It is reported that there are 42,000 more OFWs who are expected to arrive this June.
Further, under the DOLLAR program, skills advancement for Filipinos will also be facilitated through PEZA’s partnership with state universities and industries (SUCs).
Director General Plaza stated that, “The Philippines is rich in both capital and natural resources. The Filipino workforce is sought after by foreign investors because they are young, dynamic, intelligent, equipped with global-knowledge and skills, and can speak English well. However, we need to train them further so that their skills will match the needs of the industries. PEZA’s goal is to transform Filipinos into being multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers in every region of the country.”
Coordination with LGUs, industry associations
PEZA’s DOLLAR program will be implemented in coordination with various LGUs, public ecozones, locators, and industry associations. Their inputs and expertise will help map out jobs, livelihood, and develop other resource opportunities.
PEZA will launch the DOLLAR program simultaneously with PEZA DOLLAR Ecozone’s Fair which will help generate jobs, livelihood, and resource advancement opportunities in the countryside and other identified areas. This will be done in compliance to health and safety measures.
“Since every region has different needs and resources, this program will encourage the growth of domestic enterprises that will produce the importation needs of export enterprises so that the supply chain is completed and jobs are provided as well. In other words, domestic markets will align their production to the products usually imported by export-producing companies in the Philippines. Through this, exporters will increase local purchases and spur local economy,” pointed out Plaza.
The PEZA Chief emphasized that “The Philippines in 2020 and beyond should be self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and revenue-generating. It is PEZA’s aim that we continually help the economy to be export and production-driven and not merely importation and consumption dependent.”