Saturday, July 09, 2005

DTI moves to ensure grant of perks to Clark, John Hay, Morong ecozones

By Marianne V. Go The Philippine Star

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will work closely with Congress to ensure the grant of perks and privileges to the locators in the Clark, John Hay, Morong and Poro Point Ecozones, in order to remedy the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision that limits only the application of tax exemptions and financial incentives under Republic Act (RA) No. 7227 or the "Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992" to firms registered within the Subic Special Economic Zone (SSEZ).

This assurance was made after local and foreign business sectors sought the assistance of the Lower House for a legislative measure that would return the incentive package to companies operating in other special economic zones (SEZ) divested by the High Court’s ruling.

According to Trade and Industry Secretary Juan B. Santos, "the expansion of capital investments, introduction of cutting-edge technology and generation of quality employment are not only being provided by locators inside Subic. The country is reaping the same benefits from locators registered within Clark, John Hay, Morong and Poro Point economic zones. Thus, similar perks and privileges must be extended with firms operating in ecozones outside Subic."

Part of the economic activities happening in the ecozones include the Subic-Clark Alliance Development (SCAD) program that coordinates infrastructure projects in Central Luzon.

The SCAD program aims to maximize the development and productivity of the Subic Freeport and the Clark Airport.

"Locators outside Subic are lured to invest in the country with the similar promise of being granted tax exemptions and financial incentives under the law. Hence, we are duty-bound to push through our end of the bargain and provide them with the same perks and privileges like those enjoyed by locators in Subic," Santos said.

He warned that "should we fail to do so, the international business community would have an impression that the country’s economic policy is back tracking from its initial stand in attracting investments and that image would not do good for the country."

The DTI is pushing for the incorporation and inclusion of the guarantees enjoyed by Subic locators to registered firms in Clark and other ecozones in House Bill (HS) No. 3295 entitled "An Act Rationalizing the Grant and Administration of Fiscal and Non-Fiscal Incentives and For Other Purposes" which identifies the industries, services and activities eligible for the grant of incentives.

Santos pointed out that "the Philippines competes for capital in the region that has long been typified by extensive recourse to fiscal incentives."

He argued that "notwithstanding other countries’ edge in technology and infrastructures, an attractive incentive package remains an important component in catching investments."

Santos noted that in all countries of the region, special economic zones provide incentives for its locators to encourage additional and continued investments

No comments: