by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Tereso “Theo” O. Panga, the highest ranking officer at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority(PEZA), has been designated officer-in-charge (OIC) Director General of the agency.
Panga’s designation followed after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Memorandum Circular No. 1 on June 30, 2022 declaring all government positions that are co-terminus with the previous President Duterte vacant. Former PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza was co-terminus with President Duterte. Being the next in rank and most senior career service officer at PEZA, Panga was designated as OIC.
PEZA is a government agency attached to the DTI Philippines – Department of Trade and Industry, that is responsible for promoting investments, granting fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, and facilitating the operations of export-oriented manufacturing and service centers in Special Economic Zones throughout the Philippines. As OIC Director General, Panga oversees PEZA policies that support the presidential administration’s economic agenda.
Panga was Division Chief of Policy Planning from 2000 to 2002. He later worked as Zone Manager of the Lima Technology Center and other Economic Zones in Batangas from 2002 to 2004. After which, Theo served as Zone Administrator of the Baguio City Economic Zone from 2004 to 2008. He was subsequently appointed as Zone Administrator of the Cavite Economic Zone from 2008 to 2010. Panga was then promoted to Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning, a position he held from 2010 to 2022.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from UP Diliman in 1991. Theo later obtained his Master’s degree in Industrial Relations from the same university in 2000. He then completed an Executive Course on Urban, Industrial, and Environmental Management at the National University of Singapore in 2009. Theo is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Development Management at the Asian Institute of Management.
Panga is a 2015 Top 10 National Finalist at the annual Presidential Gawad Career Executive Service Awards for best performing career government officials as administered by the Career Executive Service Board. He also won the 2020 Best Policy Foresight Paper in the Executive Course on Leadership, Innovation, Communication and Knowledge Management (CLICK) for third-level government officials as administered by the Development Academy of the Philippines.