By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has called for a five-year rehabilitation program for its registered enterprises even as the agency has reiterated for a status quo of the package of incentives for investors instead of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) bill, which enhances the incentives granted under the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act or the CITIRA bill.
“PEZA’s position is a status quo of PEZA incentives and its power and authority,” said PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza.
“Enhance PEZA incentives with economic stimulus package for our exporters and ecozone operators, who must be given at least 5 years reprieve to be able to rehabilitate/ restore back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Plaza said that CREATE must be for domestic enterprises not for PEZA-registered firms, which are all export-oriented.
According to PEZA, its proposed five-year rehabilitation period should not be a transition through CREATE but for exporters due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19.
“Any provision of a transition period whether long or short Is not a guarantee that investors can cope up and recover from the effects of the pandemic to the global economy. The best guarantee we can give our existing and new investors is the status quo of our present incentives, which are tried, tested and proven to attract investors and is globally competitive,” Plaza added.
Instead of CREATE, Plaza maintained that the government must enhance the present incentives with economic stimulus to keep the existing investors and for them to expand and attract more new companies relocating from China.
“Amid the COVID crisis, we are not even a choice for transferring companies because of our unstable incentive policies and rules. This is creating fear and frustration to our existing investors,” explained Plaza.
According to Plaza, “The status quo of the fiscal incentives and enhanced economic stimulus can make our investors stay as well as attract more ecozone developers to create more ecozones in the countryside, allowing the spread of investment and jobs. Likewise, this will promote total development as mandated by Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 and Executive Order (EO) No. 114, the Balik Probinsya program, to ensure OFWs and the unemployed Filipinos to go back to their home provinces.”
Plaza pointed out that PEZA economic zones, which now reached 408, generated ₱3.871 Trillion in investments from 1995-2019. Total exports from 1995-2019 amounted to $815.102 Billion.