I called a special Board meeting of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) this morning to emphasize the importance of the tax and incentives reform that we are pushing for, which has the mandate from our President and was approved by the Cabinet.

We had to explain fully that there are ongoing refinements in certain provisions of the bill to address the serious concerns of the stakeholders, especially the existing PEZA locators, and a number of senators who are equally concerned on minimizing any possible repercussion on jobs if some firms leave the country.

To have a smoother transition, current discussions are on the number of years in the sunset provision for existing locators, as well as extra years of income tax holiday (ITH) and lower tax rates for new projects in strategic, high-technology industries with preference on locating in least developed areas.

It was emphasized that the concerns of the stakeholders are being addressed.

With these adjustments, the PEZA Board together with its management, led by the Director General [Charito Plaza], has officially aligned its position to give strong support to the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) and its parameters of having longer performance-based, time-bound, focused, and transparent set of incentives. The PEZA DG will no longer ask for status quo or exemption from CITIRA.♦