September 02, 2019
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has defended its move to push for amendments to the agency’s 24-year old charter despite the lack of endorsement from Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who leads the PEZA board.
In a recent statement, PEZA Director Charito Plaza said they don’t need the approval of Lopez for the amendments.
“Proposing amendments to PEZA law is a sovereign right of every citizen in our democratic country. PEZA management does not need the lone approval of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Secretary,” Plaza said.
Plaza said Lopez is against the amendments from the very beginning. She said the PEZA board knows about the amendments but it doesn’t necessarily need to approve them “given they act as representatives of their Secretaries.”
Plaza said the PEZA management has the prerogative to seek amendments when its charter’s many provisions are already obsolete and need upgrading to enhance the delivery of its existing and new goals, programs and services towards being globally competitive.
Lopez earlier said the amendment of the PEZA law and Plaza’s position on the second package of the tax reform, are not endorsed by the PEZA board.
The proposed amendments to the PEZA charter seek to institutionalize the incentives of PEZA under one law; push for PEZA to be under the Office of the President instead of an attached agency of DTI; increase the gross income earned by all registered enterprises within the ecozone to 7 percent from 5 percent; and empower the agency to expand its one-stop shop service.
“The proposed amendments to PEZA law went through rigorous consultations and acquired the support of various stakeholders who see it an opportune time to update the 24-year old law in the current global context of competition of economic zones,” Plaza said.
Regarding the relationship of PEZA with DTI, Plaza said the attachment of PEZA to the latter is a “lateral relationship” in accordance with the definition of attached agency in the Administrative Code of 1987.
She noted that “PEZA in fact is governed by and delivers its own mandate under its charter.”
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