The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will implement a two-point program which is seen to put the Subic Bay Freeport in a more competitive investment position over its Asian neighbors.
SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia, in a recent meeting with executives of the Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) composing the Technical Working Group of the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP), said that he is now working on two points that will encourage investors to come in.
The first point, Garcia said, is the rationalization of investment incentives, which, when approved, will be given to all investors equally by all investment promotion agencies in the country.
“Here at the SBMA, we are not allowed to offer income tax holidays and that is a disadvantage [on our part] versus the PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority). The incentives for investors should be the same as with the other agencies. Otherwise, investors will withdraw their proposals because we don’t have income tax holidays,” he said.
Second, Garcia said that his administration is currently working on making the incentives in Subic competitive with the incentives given in other countries in the region, specifically Vietnam and Cambodia.
According to Garcia, the Philippines’ foreign direct investment (FDI) last year reached only less than a billion dollars, while Vietnam made US$ 4 billion.
“We should take a closer look at what the other countries are offering, so that we may, at least, have equal footing,” he said.
IPAs are tasked to formulate and develop strategies to position the Philippines as among the prime investment destinations in the world through the creation of the PIPP, which serves as the blueprint in creating a world-class brand image of the Philippines based on promotional approaches of image building, investment generation and investment generation.