More investment perks eyed outside Metro Manila
MANILA, Philippines — A legislator is optimistic that 2021 will be a year of “countryside development” with more tax incentives and big-ticket infrastructure projects in the provinces.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda is hopeful that a pro-countryside Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (Create) Act, infrastructure projects, and the expansion of the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector will lead to a “Bicol boom” by next year.
The House ways and means chair said the lower chamber would push for “geographically inclusive development” during the bicameral conference with the Senate on the Create Act in January.
“I have unambiguous instructions from the Speaker to get a fair and efficient version done. Because the House majority represents the countryside, we are also taking the bicam process as an opportunity to push for geographically inclusive development,” he said.
The House hopes to do this through more tax incentives for the provinces under the Create Act while trimming “redundant” tax incentives for Metro Manila.
“Metro Manila doesn’t need very generous tax incentives. People will invest there, regardless. For places like Marinduque and Leyte, which the leadership represents, or areas like Albay, we need tax incentives that meaningfully differ in length from Metro Manila incentives. I’m looking at a difference of at least five years, in some combination of income tax holiday and special corporate tax rate, for less developed areas,” Salceda said.
“We can pay for it by trimming unnecessary Metro Manila incentives, which are really redundant. There is consensus in the House that it is alright to shear the very generous tax incentive provisions for Manila a bit,” he said.
Salceda noted that the completion of the Southern Luzon Expressway Toll Road 4, the groundbreaking for the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway, and the Quezon-Bicol Expressway next year, the completion of the Bicol International Airport, and the expansion of the BPO sector to Legazpi and Naga will spur a “Bicol boom.”
“One of our major hindrances to growth was we did not have an airport large enough to handle big conventions, mass and direct tourist arrivals, and the daily ins-and-outs of business executives to and from cities. Overland traffic from Manila to Bicol has also gotten worse over the years,” he said. INQ
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