By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
At least 4 electronics manufacturing companies spooked by the second tax reform package of the government have redirected more than $1 billion expansion projects to other ASEAN countries, according to the Semiconductor Electronics Industry of the Philippines, Inc.
Danny Lachica, president of SEIPI, told reporters at the SEIPI CEO Forum that these are just what he could confirm among its members. He, however, cannot divulge their identities because he was not allowed to talk about these companies’ plans.
“These are just the aborted expansions that were transferred to other countries but I am not saying I know all that happen in the board of other MNCs,” he said.
He noted that the sentiment among electronics and semiconductor investors against the second package of the government’s tax reform program can be clearly seen in the significant drop in investments registered by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), which registers export-oriented enterprises.
PEZA investments slumped by 55.28 percent to P87.847 billion in the first three quarters this year from P196.457 billion in the same January-September period last year which the agency blamed to the uncertainty brought about by the TRABAHO Bill.
He also cited the position of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines that Japanese investors are leaving if the proposed Trabaho Bill is passed in its current form.
The Cebu Japanese Chamber of Commerce also estimated a 40 percent jobs loss of their current workforce under the Trabaho Bill.
Even Korean firms are on a wait and see mode.
Lachica, however, said that exports have remained resilient. SEIPI expects 5-6 percent exports growth this growth this year to $35 billion fro $32.7 billion last year.
As of September this year, electronics exports reached $28.5 billion.
But, he was not confident of growth once the bill is passed. The bill has been approved by the Lower House and is awaiting deliberations at the Senate, which is still preoccupied with the national budget bill and the tax amnesty bill.