Ecozone applications in Metro Manila eased

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  • Ecozone applications in Metro Manila are now being accepted under certain conditions
  • Administrative Order 11 allows applications but only for those with pre-qualification clearances before a moratorium on Metro Manila economic zone processing moratorium came into effect
  • New applications for Metro Manila economic zone processing are still not allowed
  • Philippine Economic Zone Authority director general Tereso Panga said AO 11 would boost growth of IT sector

Economic zone applications in Metro Manila are now being accepted under certain conditions.

Administrative Order (AO) No. 11, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on November 24, allows applications but only for those with pre-qualification clearances from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Board before a moratorium on Metro Manila economic zone processing–under AO 18–came into effect. Applicants must resubmit under certain conditions, according to AO 11.

AO 11 amends Section 3 of AO 18 series of 2019, which imposed a moratorium on the processing of applications for ecozones in Metro Manila to help accelerate and promote development in the countryside and other rural areas.

AO 11 effectively allows applications for ecozones excluded in Sections 2 and 3 of AO 18.

Other provisions of AO 18 remain in effect, including the moratorium on the processing of applications for the establishment of new economic zones in Metro Manila.

Within 10 working days from AO 11’s effectivity, PEZA must submit a Board Resolution certifying the master list of covered applications to the Office of the President. Certified true copies of pre-qualification clearances and related Board meeting minutes must also be submitted.

Only those on the master list can resubmit applications, subject to a new pre-qualification process according to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7916. expired licenses, clearances, permits, certifications, or authorizations must be renewed following relevant laws.

AO 11 noted that inclusion in the master list or the acceptance, processing, and/or evaluation of applications by PEZA and the OP does not guarantee approval or proclamation as economic zones.

The AO acknowledges the positive impact of processing applications for ecozones that obtained PEZA pre-qualification clearance before AO 18’s moratorium. This move is seen to boost job creation and reinforce Metro Manila’s status as a key information and communications technology hub.

PEZA director general Tereso Panga in a statement lauds the issuance of AO 11, saying it will be a “big boost in sustaining the growth of the robust IT sector in the country.”

Panga said the AO “sustained PEZA’s arguments on the need to respect the rights of IT center developer applications as prequalified by the PEZA Board  prior to effectivity of AO 18, and to facilitate employment generation by new and expanding IT locator investors with the proclamation of these new buildings.”

Panga added that AO 11 will also give a chance to other local government units in Metro Manila–particularly those outside of the five central business districts–with prequalified IT developer applications “to host IT investments and to be part of the PEZA ecozone value chain.” 

The services sector, particularly information and communications, remains a significant economic contributor in the country, with Metro Manila being a major player.

Bolstering employment opportunities through the promotion of investments that boost productivity is also part of the current administration’s 8-point socioeconomic agenda.

READ: PEZA approved investments surge 147% from Jan-Nov