PH pushes for a stronger and more inclusive post-COVID economy

Published September 12, 2021, 7:19 PM

by Roy Mabasa

More than 300 Japanese guests from Japan’s leading corporate and financial institutions have participated in the virtual Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) that highlighted the Duterte administration’s efforts to push for a much stronger and more inclusive economy in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V (PE Tokyo)

In his remarks, Philippines Ambassador to Tokyo Jose Laurel V encouraged the Japanese participants to consider the bright prospects and trade opportunities that the country can offer, an opportunity that is anchored on the productive and strong Philippines-Japan bilateral relations.

“Our bilateral and regional work continues in various sectors, such as infrastructure development, trade and investment, defense, security, and maritime cooperation, science and technology cooperation, human resource development, and assistance for Mindanao, to name a few,” Ambassador Laurel said during the virtual briefing held on Sept. 7.

The PEB aims to drum up Japanese investments in the Philippines that will add momentum to the country’s recovery process.

“We hope that through this briefing, the spotlight on the Philippines will continue, specifically on its economic performance and reforms,” Laurel added.

The Philippines and Japan are celebrating the 65th anniversary of the re-establishment of bilateral relations this year.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno told the Japanese participants that the Philippines is aiming not only to regain what was lost from the COVID crisis.

“We want a post-COVID-19 economy that is stronger, more technologically advanced, more sustainable, and more inclusive than ever before,” Diokno said in his presentation as he welcomed Japanese investors to do business in the Philippines and take advantage of the opportunities in the financial sector.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, on the other hand, expounded on the Philippines’ economic recovery program and provided more details on the country’s infrastructure program. He emphasized the importance of the continuous roll-out of the vaccination program and infrastructure projects as key in driving post-pandemic economic recovery

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez presented developments in the country’s fiscal sector, including the recent enactment of a landmark law rationalizing the country’s corporate tax and fiscal incentives regime.

The DOF chief said the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law provides an immediate 10 percentage point cut in the corporate income tax rates of micro, small and medium enterprises, from 30 percent to 20 percent. The rest of the corporations enjoy a 5-percentage point reduction, from 30 percent to 25 percent.

In addition, he added, the CREATE law provides flexibility in granting fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. This introduces an enhanced incentives package that is performance-based, time-bound, targeted, and transparent.

“There is much economic energy waiting to be unleashed in the coming period. Our recovery will get a boost with the implementation of the CREATE law. This is the largest economic stimulus program for businesses in our recent history,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez believes that through CREATE, there will be an opportunity to draw in high-value investments by incentivizing industries that will introduce new technologies and innovations and create more jobs.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez highlighted in his presentation the valuable economic partnership between the Philippines and Japan.

“Japan has been a strong and important trading partner and investment source of the Philippines, especially in the areas of electronics and medical devices. Last year, Japan was our country’s second major trading partner, our top export market, and our second biggest import source. This continued for January to June 2021, as Japan was our second major trading partner with USD 10.34 billion of trade, an increase of 21 percent compared with the same period in 2020 with USD 8.56 billion,” the DTI secretary said.

The PEB for Japan was organized by the Japan-based Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy in Japan, BSP, DOF, DTI and NEDA.