Chan to appeal to senators: Retain PEZA power to grant incentives

By: Futch Anthony Inso - Correspondent/CDN Digital | October 13,2020 - 07:00 AM
Witnesses councilor

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan says he will appeal to senators about his proposal to retain PEZA’s power to give incentives to firms under the zone.  CDN Digital file photo

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines — Lapu-lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan plans to send a letter to senators appealing for the retention of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s power to grant incentives to its registered export-oriented enterprise.

Earlier, the Mactan Export Processing Zone Chamber of Exporters and Manufacturers (Mepzcem) submitted a position paper in the Senate threatening that they would pull out of the country if Congress would pass the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Bill.

Under the CREATE Bill, PEZA incentives, which include income tax holiday, duty-free importation of raw materials and capital equipment, domestic sales allowance, and exemption from payment of local government taxes and fees, will be “modernized” to include tax breaks of select investors.

READ: SEIPI backs proposed exemption of ecozone locators from CREATE

Locators are afraid that the proposed bill would clip the powers of PEZA, which administered the economic zones.

Mepzcem is composed of 157 company members located across various economic zones on the island of Cebu such as the Mactan Economic Zone 1 and 2, the Cebu Light Industrial Park, the West Cebu Industrial Park-Special Economic Zone, and the MRI economic zone, among others.

Chan said that the presence of the locators in MEPZ had contributed a lot to the development of the city’s economy.

“Maningkamot ta nga mohangyo nga magpabilin ang mga companies sa siyudad,” Chan said.

(We will try to appeal that these companies will continue to stay in the city.)

The mayor said that these companies had a big role in keeping the city’s economy healthy, especially that MEPZ had a total manpower of 90,000 if fully operational.

“Dako ni sila ug ikatabang sa siyudad. Dili lang ang company, lakip na ang mga workers because they are paying taxes in the city ug makatabang sab ning mga trabahante sa mga negosyo nga gagmay,” he added.

(They are a big help to the city. It is not just the companies but also the workers they employ because they are also paying taxes in the city. Aside from that, they also helped workers of small businesses.)

READ: DOLE-7: 4,400 MEPZ workers retrenched

Chan, however, admitted that some locators had resorted to retrenchment of their workers, due to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

But the city is currently providing assistance to these workers, by giving them other jobs and livelihood.

The city is also providing legal assistance to some retrenched workers, especially in negotiating with their companies in giving of the 100 percent separation pay instead of just 50 percent.

To recall, some 4,000 workers from MEPZ have been reported being retrenched due to the impact of the COVID-19./dbs

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