MANILA, Philippines – Almost all firms located in the economic zones operated by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) that closed shop because of the global financial crisis have already resumed operations and has even started hiring new employees, the government reported.
In a press briefing, PEZA director general Lilia De Lima said that as of Nov. 16, 73 firms have already reopened while only five remained close. However, De Lima stressed that these five companies have relatively small operations here.
Likewise, De Lima noted that 120 companies ended their temporary work adjustment. The temporary work adjustment includes shorter working hours removal of shifts, forced vacations and retrenchment.
Of the 38,500 workers affected by the crisis, the PEZA One Stop Workers Assistance Center helped 27,014 workers.
Earlier, PEZA reported that investment commitments from their agency grew by 13.30 percent this year as electronics companies continue to expand in spite of the global financial crisis that has also hit the country.
De Lima announced that they were able to secure P175.365 billion worth of investments. This was more than the P154.774 billion it recorded last year.
This was in contrast to the investment figures reported by the Board of Investments (BOI) which was expected to decline this year.
In fact, De Lima said this number is expected to go up because it has not yet reflected the expansion of Texas Instruments which she estimated to be at P15 billion.
Likewise, De Lima said that they will continue to grow next year. “Next year will be a better year.”
She said their target is to increase the investment figures by 15 percent in 2010 or to P201 billion. “This will be difficult but we need to catch up to other countries,” she said.
De Lima said they will concentrate on manufacturing for next year. She said they prefer manufacturing firms because they build facilities.
De Lima said the agency has met all their targets except for the employment target.
The number of projects registered by PEZA was 502, lower than the 513 projects. The biggest investment for the year was made by Japanese firm Taganito subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. and Nickel Asia Corp. The group put in P62 billion for its mining operations.
In terms of the number of investors, De Lima said many come from the electronics sector. “They dominated the investments because even at the height of the financial crisis, electronics companies continue to expand just like Toshiba.” –Ma. Elisa P. Osorio (The Philippine Star)