SOME members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc. (JCCIPI) have raised issues on the work-from-home (WFH) arrangements and the proclamation of new economic zones in the Philippines as the business group vows to strengthen its partnership with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) in attracting foreign direct investments (FDI).
According to Peza Director General Tereso O. Panga, some members of JCCIPI want Peza-registered business enterprises (RBEs) to also enjoy flexible work arrangements while retaining their incentives.
“JCCIPI members are asking whether Peza has resolved the issue on WFH…Their clamor is for Peza [registered business enterprises] RBEs to be able to avail of flexible work with incentives following the same treatment for [Board of Investments] BOI RBEs,” Panga said in a Viber message sent to reporters on Tuesday.
The Peza chief also reported that in Peza, they are pushing for a hybrid workplace with a maximum 30-percent allowance for work-from-home.
“Most of our locators would like to keep their Peza registration and sites, while availing of flexiwork for their workers,” Panga stressed.
In September 2022, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) agreed to allow the transfer of registered IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) companies to the Board of Investments (BOI) in an effort to resolve the sector’s “long-standing” issue on tax incentive claims while performing business activities outside their zone limits.
Diokno earlier said that the decision of the Board establishes a more permanent solution to the issue, allowing the RBEs to continue availing fiscal incentives without violating Section 309 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended by the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.
The provision specifically states that to be entitled to incentives, the conduct of registered projects or activities must be within the geographical boundaries of the ecozone or freeport administered by the concerned investment promotion agency (IPA). The BOI is the only IPA not affected by boundary constraints or zone limits.
Meanwhile, Panga said another issue that the JCCIPI members raised was the proclamation of new ecozones.
“On the proclamation issue, JCCIPI members are asking if [Office of the President] OP can speed up the process for ecozone
proclamation to provide ready for occupancy sites for new and expanding investors,” Panga said.
“The President has tasked [Department of Trade and Industry] DTI, Peza and OP to harmonize and streamline the ecozone proclamation process to facilitate the creation of more ecozones particularly in the countryside,” the Peza chief added.
According to Panga, Peza is in “close coordination” with the other agencies and organizations to continuously address the “pain points” that are proving to be the “barriers” in the entry of investments to the Philippines.
During his keynote address at JCCIPI’s annual general meeting last May 17 which was attended by 330 members on-site and 70 virtual participants, Panga recognized the contribution of Peza’s Japanese locator companies.
“The remarkable contributions of our Japanese locator companies serve as a prime example of the strong partnership and economic progress achieved through the collaboration between Japan and the Philippines in which we continue to fortify,” Panga said in a statement on Tuesday.
To date, Peza said there are 884 Japanese enterprises in Peza contributing P745.637-billion investments and directly employing 345,807 workers.
Peza said it has also approved for this year three big-ticket Japanese investments with a combined investment capital of P20.951 billion.