As foreign businesses worldwide rethink their supply chains, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go urged the government to entice more foreign investors to invest in the Philippines provinces outside Metro Manila.
With the ongoing onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide and international companies shifting supply chains to cheaper job markets, he said the government should attract even more foreign businesses to invest in the country, particularly in less developed regions.
Go said that the move will support the long-term plan for the implementation of a “Balik Probinsya” program after the country overcomes the COVID-19 crisis.
He said that companies which will invest in the provinces can create jobs for Filipinos in the countryside, diminishing their need to go to Metro Manila to seek better job opportunities.
He believes that there is a need to improve the present tax and incentives system in the country in order to balance tax collection and incentives for urban and rural areas, eventually benefiting communities in the countries because of fresh investments coming in.
Acting National Economic and Development Authority Director-General and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua says that the grant of tax incentives can be more targeted to the provinces since the present system grants the same incentives regardless of the location of a business in the country.
“And by giving more incentives for new business in the countryside, Chua believes that investors can invest outside of Metro Manila and other metropolitan areas.”
Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Chua believe that passage of Senate Bill 1357 or the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) will reinforce the “Balik Probinsya” program where more incentives will be given to business in the provinces.
The bill is primarily authored by Senator Pia Cayetano and was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte last March.
“We need to scale up our policies to the standard that it will also be fair for both investors and the community. I ask the concerned government agencies, such as DSWD, DTI, DOLE and TESDA to map out the skills of proposed BPP beneficiaries in order to match them with possible investors,” Go highlighted.
Meanwhile, last Monday, the Senate adopted a resolution filed by Go urging the executive department to formulate and implement his proposed “Balik Probinsya” program.
The proposal also aims to better prepare the country in responding to future pandemics and other crises similar to what is being experienced at the present due to the COVID-19 health emergency.
“This plan aims to decongest urban areas as congestion proves to be a significant factor in the high number of COVID-19 cases. It also aims to boost rural development and create livelihood opportunities in the countryside to encourage city dwellers and businesses to move to the provinces,” Go explained.
“As the President mentioned in his past statements, starting fresh in the provinces would give Filipinos HOPE for a better future after COVID-19 crisis,” said Go./Stacy Ang