Manila, Philippines - President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has approved the processing of new economic zone applications in Metro Manila for applicants who have already obtained 'Pre-Qualification Clearances' from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). This decision amends the previous moratorium on establishing special economic zones in the metropolis.
According to Philippines News Agency, Marcos signed Administrative Order (AO) 11 on November 24, revising AO 18 issued in 2019 by former President Rodrigo Duterte. AO 18 initially imposed a moratorium on processing economic zone applications in Metro Manila as part of a strategy to promote rural development and inclusive growth in areas outside the capital.
AO 11, made public on Saturday, stipulates those applications with pre-qualification clearances obtained before AO 18's effectivity are now eligible for resubmission, subject to certain conditions. Within ten working days from AO 11's effectivity, PEZA is required to submit a Board Resolution to the Office of the President, certifying a Masterlist of covered applications. This list will also include certified true copies of the Pre-Qualification Clearances and minutes of the meeting when they were approved.
The order clarifies that only those on the Masterlist are permitted to resubmit their applications, provided they undergo the PEZA's pre-qualification process under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 7916 again. Furthermore, any national or local licenses, clearances, permits, certifications, or authorizations that have expired must be renewed as per relevant laws and regulations.
AO 11 also states that inclusion in the Masterlist or the acceptance, processing, and evaluation of applications by PEZA does not guarantee approval or proclamation as ecozones. Despite these new provisions, other aspects of AO 18, including the moratorium on processing economic zone applications in Metro Manila, remain in effect.
The issuance of AO 11 aims to enhance employment in Metro Manila and establish it as a leading information and communications technology hub in the Philippines. The order underscores the potential for positive impacts on job creation and strengthening Metro Manila's technological prowess.
The government's recent assessment indicates that the services sector, including information and communications, is a significant source of economic activity in the country, with Metro Manila contributing the largest share. This move aligns with the Marcos administration's 8-Point Socioeconomic agenda, which focuses on increasing employment opportunities through investment-driven productivity growth.
AO 11 is effective immediately following its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.