THE House of Representatives has recently adopted a resolution urging President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to renew the policy granting tax exemption to travelers departing from all international airports and seaports in Mindanao and Palawan to any destination in the “Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East Asean Growth Area,” (Bimp-Eaga).
The lawmakers issued House Resolution (HR) 454 ahead of the expiration in May of perks for those traveling to any destination in the Bimp-Eaga.
HR 454 author Sultan Kudarat Rep. Princess Rihan Sakaluran traced the policy to former President Rodrigo R. Duterte who issued in 2018 Memorandum Order (MO) 23 issued. MO 23 sought to promote mobility of travelers across the sub-regional areas and for airline companies to open up services within the Bimp-Eaga routes.
Sakaluran added that MO 23 granted tax exemption to all passengers originating from Mindanao and Palawan to any destination in Bimp-Eaga.
“The opening of our economic corridors is crucial to attain the mission and vision of the Bimp-Eaga,” the lawmaker said.
She added that Bimp-Eaga officials “are deeply concerned with the protracted impact brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic as it continues to affect lives and livelihoods in the sub-region.”
Sakaluran noted that MO 23 revitalized the Bimp-Eaga’s programs and activities “and has made a positive impact on the growth of tourism, trade and investment in [the] sub-region.”
“More particularly, [the tax-exemption policy] has produced economic benefits in terms of increased business activities, remarkable growth in tourism development, additional air and sea services in the transportation section and heightened sociocultural ties among the people in the growth area,” she added.
During a meeting, Davao del Sur Rep. John Tracy F. Cagas said that the objective of the “Bimp-Eaga Vision 2025” is to increase trade, tourism and investments that will guide cooperation over a 9-year period covering calendar years 2017 to 2025.
The Bimp-Eaga is a cooperation initiative established in 1994 to promote mobility and spur development in remote and less developed areas in the participating Southeast Asian countries.