FFCCCII asks BBM for retention of Plaza on PEZA

PEZA DIrector General Charito "Ching" Plaza as she confers with PAPI Chairman Emeritus Johnny Dayang (right), PAPI President Nelson Santos (2nd from left) and Local Press Assembly Director Joseph Punay (left) in a pre-conference talk relative to the preparation for the Local Press Assembly 2022 to be held on June 24 at PEZA Auditorium located at 10th Floor of the DoubleDragon Center West Building, DD Meridian Park, Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City

Citing the phenomenal transformation of the country’s export-based investment and its milestone achievements in the national economic performance, the influential Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) has asked presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to retain Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza in his economic cluster.

In a letter to Marcos, FFCCCII President Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong has appealed to the incoming president to give Plaza an opportunity “to continue with her noble mission of advocating good governance, good business environment, lucky investment climate, and modelling high-quality public service, all to hone world-class Filipinos and shape global Philippines, under your Presidency.”

Liong, in his letter, cited a list of unprecedented records of redtape-free and unsullied performance including the introduction of future-proofing policies of repositioning the country’s export industry sector into strategically globalized context along with the initiation of innovative programs.

“These are the promises of hope that the legacies and visions of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. shall be restored, all towards transforming the Philippines to be great again, as once a tiger exporter in the Asia Pacific Region,” he said.

Under Marcos regime, the country saw respectable economic growth with Gross Domestic Product or GDP, which roughly measures a country’s total income, grew at an average of almost 6% per year from 1972 to 1980. In the 1960s or early years of his presidency, the Philippines has been named the “Tiger of Asia”.

Another group, the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) headed by Jack Madrid sent a separate appeal to the young Marcos underscoring the significant role of PEZA under Plaza for the last six years that boosted the synergy between IBPAP and PEZA.

“While a strong private sector foundation helped pave the way for the industry to flourish, PEZA and its establishment of hundreds of special economic zones catering to IT-BPM locators facilitated the industry’s solid growth and expansion in the country. Together, PEZA and IBPAP worked in bringing in clients and investors, driving countryside development, and improving ease of doing business,” he noted.

Madrid also cited the significant accolades that PEZA gained from various renowned international bodies by improving the country’s business climate, enhancing regulatory transparency, and promoting investments to create jobs and generate exports.

It may be noted that Plaza’s skill in confronting the PEZA challenges has earned her praise from the US Department of State, which cited the business environment in the special economic zones as notably better.

Another feather on her cap is the award from the Capital Finance International, which recognizes PEZA as the Best Economic Zone Promotion in Southeast Asia for 2022.

Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI) chairman emeritus Johnny Dayang, for his part, has lauded the legacy that Plaza has undertaken for six years while at the helm of PEZA saying, “In the last five years (2016-2021) alone, PEZA has remitted to the national treasury P5.6 billion in dividends, much higher than the total shares made in two decades under four prior dispensations.”

“Plaza’s aggressive agenda to put the authority’s mandate on track has produced many SEZs nationwide, especially in the countryside, eclipsing its previous engagements. In fact, under the Duterte administration, the agency has become the top investment promotion agency (IPA) in the country, a proud legacy of an efficient and energetic management,” Dayang noted.

“The agency, at least under Plaza’s direction, has become the biggest export income earner, contributing 64% to the export of commodities and goods, 80% for export services to global markets, and 17% of the country gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, short of being labelled as the country’s economic game-changer. Plaza’s continuing stay in the agency, therefore, can be a boon for the next national leadership’s economic goals,” he added.

As this developed, PEZA continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of its investor-locators, ecozone developers, industry associations, and the local and foreign chambers as it remains to be the biggest investment promotion agency contributing 80% of export service income from its IT-BPO companies and 64% of the export income of commodities and goods from its industries into semi-conductors, electronics, manufacturing, assembly, processing, refinery, and others into tourism, medical tourism, and agro-industries.

Created and operating under Republic Act No. 7916 otherwise known as “The Special Economic Zones Act of 1995”, PEZA is the country’s government agency tasked to extend assistance, register, grant incentives to and facilitate the business operations of investors in export-oriented manufacturing and service facilities inside selected areas throughout the country proclaimed by the President as PEZA Special Economic Zones. It is mandated to promote the establishment of economic zones in the country for foreign investments.

Plaza, a Commissioned Officer with a rank of a Brigadier General in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is among those who crafted R.A. 7916 which created PEZA during her stint as congresswoman of the Agusan Del Norte’s First District before being appointed to the post by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

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