DAGUPAN CITY—Food producers and traders have asked the Supreme Court to stop the Board of Investments (BOI) from granting a Thai food company with tax and financial incentives, saying the agency prevented them from scrutinizing the foreign company despite its apparent threat to the local industry.
Five organizations and two party-list groups said the BOI refused to issue copies of board resolutions that assign a pioneer enterprise status to the Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines Corp. (CP Foods), which allows it to enjoy six years of fiscal incentives.
The BOI’s alleged refusal to address the groups’ concerns “prevented [them] from appealing the decision to grant [CP Foods’] application,” according to the March 7 petition filed by the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. and party-list groups Abono and Agham.
The Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines Inc., the Pork Producers Federation of the Philippines Inc., the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative and the Association of Philippine Aqua Feeds Millers Inc. also joined the lawsuit.
The food industry groups said BOI had violated their constitutionally protected right to protection against unfair foreign competition and trade practices, as well as their right to procedural due process.
They also urged the high court to nullify the BOI resolutions that authorized CP Foods to claim “pioneer status” incentives for its P2.4-billion Philippine investments in aqua feed, swine parent stocks and breeding of chicken.
In a statement, CP Foods said BOI granted the food company “standard incentives applicable to foreign and local entities [composed of] a four-year tax holiday for its swine project and six-year tax holiday for its chicken project.”
“In both projects the company was given duty-free import of capital equipment but has to pay 12-percent value-added tax … If the Philippine government decides to reduce the incentive already given to the company, we cannot do anything but respect the decision,” said Arnnop Jeanprasert, senior vice president of livestock feed business of CP Foods Philippines Corp.
“Removing or reducing incentives midway does not improve foreign investors’ confidence in this country and its leaders,” he said. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon