Japanese group backs WFH, new ecozones

Their clamor is for PEZA registered business enterprises or RBEs to be able to avail of flexible work with incentives following the same treatment for Board of Investment-registered RBEs

Japanese locators operating in the country’s ecozones are keen to address the still enduring issue of work-from-home arrangements and asking the Marcos Jr. administration to identify more ecozones in the countryside.

This was aired by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc. after fortifying their allegiance to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, headed by director-general Tereso Panga.

Some of the issues raised by the JCCIPI members are the work-from-home arrangements, the proclamation of new ecozones, and the competitive edge and challenges in investing in the Philippines.

In an interview, Panga said that JCCIPI members are asking whether PEZA has resolved the issue on WFH.


Flexi work for locators

“Their clamor is for PEZA registered business enterprises or RBEs to be able to avail of flexible work with incentives following the same treatment for Board of Investment-registered RBEs. In PEZA, we are pushing for a hybrid workplace with max 30 percent allowance for WFH by our locators. Most of our locators would like to keep their PEZA registration and sites while availing of fieldwork for their workers,” Panga told the Daily Tribune.

On the issue of the proclamation of new ecozones, Panga said JCCIPI members are asking if the Office of the President can speed up the process for ecozone proclamation to provide ready-for-occupancy sites for new and expanding investors.

“The President has tasked the Department of Trade and Industry, PEZA and OP to harmonize and streamline the ecozone proclamation process to facilitate the creation of more ecozones, particularly in the countryside,” he stated.

Panga said PEZA and JCCIPI have vowed to strengthen their collaborative efforts to attract more investors in the country and ultimately promote the Philippines as an investment destination, during its annual general meeting last 17 May 2023 at the Makati Diamond Residences.

The said event was attended by 330 members on-site and 70 virtual participants, the largest turnout in any of JCCIPI’s general meetings.


Investors seek resolution

JCCIPI president Shigeru Shimoda thanked the PEZA Chief for providing much-needed updates about PEZA’s plans and programs and addressing several issues concerning the Japanese investors.

“(PEZA’s presentation) not only engaged the audience but also provided valuable insights and perspective that left a lasting impact on the attendees,” Shimoda said.

Panga assured, “President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual have helped PEZA in resolving the said issues. We are also in close coordination with the other agencies and organizations to continuously address the pain points that are proving to be the barriers in the entry of investments to our country.”

During his keynote address, DG Panga said that Japan has always been Ichiban (primary) in PEZA. He stated, “The remarkable contributions of our Japanese locator companies serve as a prime example of the strong partnership and economic progress achieved through the collaboration between Japan and the Philippines which we continue to fortify.”

To date, there are a total of 884 Japanese enterprises in PEZA contributing P745.637 billion in investments and directly employing 345,807 workers.

PEZA has also approved for this year three big-ticket Japanese investments with a combined investment capital of P20.951 billion.

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