Export processing zones in the Philippines (MULTI 77)

A review of employment, working conditions and labour relations. Multinational Enterprises Programme, Working Paper No. 77


EPZs have played a significant role in the economy of the Philippines since the establishment of the first four Government-sponsored zones; the Bataan, Mactan, Baguio City and Cavite EPZs. The share of EPZs in total inward foreign direct investment and in the country's merchandise exports grew considerably over the years. So too did the number of jobs created. Between 1980 and 1994 the workforce in the zones rose from 22,610 to 81,599 and the indirect jobs generated were estimated to have increased from 33,195 to 122,399 over that period. The performance of the early EPZs helped to fuel interest in the setting up of more zones with mainly private financing. One aspect of the development and operation of EPZs that has attracted attention both within the Philippines and abroad, is the situation of workers. This working paper examines employment, wages, benefits, working conditions, training and labour relations in the four aforementioned EPZs. It identifies the difficulties that have arisen, the initiatives of