Gordon warns vs changing rules on investments

Published October 16, 2020, 2:58 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Sen. Richard J. Gordon has warned that changing the rules on investments in the middle of the game could make the country lose its credibility in the international arena.

Senator Richard Gordon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

‘’Make the country more competitive,’’ Gordon said during the period of amendment for Senate Bill No. 1357 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE).

Foreign investors are leaving China and are considering which country in Southeast Asia to transfer to.

Gordon called on his colleagues to look at the long future before rationalizing the incentives given at present by investment promotion agencies, which include the country’s freeports and special economic zones.

“We have to be careful here. We are at the crossroads. We are going to have a decision here for the ages. I belong to the group that want to make sure that we retain all the incentives, we retain all the 13 IPAs (Investment Promotion Agencies), including TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprises Zone Authority), and don’t change it. We cannot change the rules in the middle of the game dahil (because) we lose the credibility internationally,” he said.

Gordon, a former Tourism Secretary, said removing some of the present incentives could drive away investors who are already doing business in the country and cause it to further lose out in getting investors going out of China, which would be very grim, especially with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic already wreaking havoc on the economy.

“I don’t think it’s time for us to manacle, poposasan natin iyong kinabukasan ng bayan (handcuff the future of this country). I don’t believe that we should have a strait-jacket in economic initiatives. If you look at the foreign direct investments the other day, Indonesia is already 13.6 billion, Vietnam has 65.8 billion, Philippines 2.9 billion. We have been left behind again. I use the word “biting the dust,” naiiwan tayo sa alikabok. Naiwanan na tayo dati ng Japan after the war,” the senator said.

“Ngayon, nagbabago ang mundo. Nagbabago lalo ang mundo because of COVID (The world is changing. The change is more pronounced because of COVID-19). And there are rising economies that we have to, you know, calibrate our strategy and be able to fine-tune. To me, the basic thing here is to fine-tune, not to change not to throw it, don’t throw it out, but allow the Congress and anytime in the future, to enhance our incentives if we have to. Are we going to come up with the ability now of the government to be flexible so that we can move forward?” he added.