The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has launched the PEZA Academy in partnership with 29 state universities and colleges (SUCs) on top of 10 Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institutes amid the pandemic as it strengthened skills development training program for ecozone workers and creating a pool of ecozone specialists and planners.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said PEZA Academy and SEZ Institute aim to produce highly trained ecozone planners, designers, managers, and multi-skilled industry workforce as the Philippines vies as investment haven in Asia.

PEZA CHARITO PLAZA OFFICIAL PHOTO 1 - PEZA enhances training of ecozone specialists, workers
PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza (Photo credit from Corporate Communications Division
Philippine Economic Zone Authority)

The first PEZA Academy project under the University of the Philippines’ School of Urban and Regional Planning (UP-SURP) in UP Diliman, Quezon City immersed PEZA officials and employees in a series of ecozones planning and management trainings.

Plaza explained that PEZA Academy focuses on its employees. The overall purpose of the UP-SURP training program is to equip the economic managers and technical officers of PEZA with an understanding of local planning system, land use planning, urban planning, and regional development in the country.

The PEZA Academy, particularly this partnership with UP-SURP, aims to have a common knowledge and understanding of creating different economic zones and building townships in the country and promote an environment-friendly industrialization and PEZA’s green, healthy, sustainable, and smart ecozones.” 

The second phase of the UP-SURP program is to create a pool of experts and specialists in ecozone management and operations, ecozone business development and investment marketing and promotion, and ecozone planning and designing of ecozones to townships, incorporating the green, sustainable, and smart concept with an industrial, commercial, and residential areas where investors and industry workers will work, live, learn, and play.

“Ecozones will be economic drivers to grow smart towns, digital cities, and new metropolitan areas in every region as modeled by LGUs hosting ecozones enjoying higher income and classification, social progress which lowered the poverty and crime incidence with their constituents enjoying and livelihood opportunities in the ecozones and export industries,” emphasized Plaza. 

Another PEZA program is the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Institute, which concentrates in transforming ecozone workers to become multi-knowledge, multi-skilled and globally competitive workers, addressing the skills needs of companies with the help of various SUCs. 

To date, PEZA has a total of 29 SUC partners around the country for the creation of the SEZ Institute and 10 institutes have already been launched even amidst the pandemic, he said. 

With these programs, the PEZA Chief noted, “It will achieve one of the new 10-point program and special projects’ goal to train and transform the Filipino workers into multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, rich human capital and world-class workers.” 

“Partnerships such as these aims to create a pool of experts and specialists on ecozone planning and designing in PEZA to assist the LGUs and private sector in putting up ecozones and to address the skills needed by our registered companies, addressing two efficiency factors that will make the country more attractive to investors,” explained Plaza.

Plaza said h that the agency is gearing up for the full-blown launch of its very own PEZA Academy, complementing the SEZ Institute. 

According to Plaza, “Institutionalizing a PEZA Academy is a must so we can achieve highly trained workforce and ecozone managers. Even senior managers need continuing education. This is part of enhancing human capital that is essential in achieving the goal to fully industrialize and enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of the Philippines as an investment haven in Asia.” 

“In this view, we are giving priority to the enhancement of the education and training of PEZA officers and employees as well as the ecozone industry workers,” noted the PEZA Chief. 

Plaza stressed, “PEZA sought to create an internal education and training program to harness competencies of employees so that they can improve performance, innovate, and grow which are important to the organization.” 

Saying that everyone needs to “think global and act local”, Plaza explained that “The world is a huge market and we are all part of showcasing Philippines as the best country to invest in Asia and Filipinos as multi-knowledge, multi-skilled, and world-class workers.” 

“PEZA aims to create the country as an investment haven in Asia by acting local, addressing the efficiency factors for attracting investments. This includes to lower the cost of doing business in the country by constructing logistics and transportation hubs (international airports and seaports) to complete the local supply chain and eradicate importation of supplies, more public works and IT infrastructure. We also seek to lower rates of power and utilities, enhance the fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, providing credit facilities, and developing different types of economic zones and attract different types of export industries,” she noted. 

In implementing the PEZA Academy, the PEZA Chief explained that “The Academy’s curriculum shall be co-designed with internal and external experts to expose internal areas of expertise, bring in experts, and advance the state of knowledge and competencies.” 

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