Thorough consultation needed in review of investment code

Mayor Sara Duterte has pushed for the thorough consultations with industry players and other stakeholders to make the policy holistic and inclusive in the review on the investment incentive code.

During the Investment Incentive Board meeting yesterday at City Hall, Mayor Duterte said the city government, in partnership with Isla Lipana & Co., should include the stakeholders as part of the review of the policy.

“I urge you to consult with the different groups to ensure that the investment gaps are considered. The city government looks forward on this endeavor to make Davao City as a prime investment destination,” she said.

The review of the code will kick-off this month as Isla Lipana’s chair and senior partner Alex Cabrera formally signed yesterday a memorandum of agreement with Mayor Duterte during the meeting.

Duterte said it has been five years when the investment incentive code was last updated by the city government. She said the review is opportune time to update the code and keep up with the latest trends.

Under the signed memorandum of agreement, among the objectives in reviewing the code is the need to “determine whether sufficient investments in an area or activity have been attained; to determine whether continued extension of incentives or support measures for the specific investment area is no longer to the interest of the city (and) to identify types of projects that are suitable for possible incentive availment.”

The review will focus on the current preferred investment areas, organizational structure of Davao City Investment Center (DCIPC), fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and preferred districts. It would also look into proposals for additional investment areas.

At present, listed as priority investment areas in the current code are agribusiness, tourism and recreational facilities, light manufacturing and assembly, property development, health and wellness, educational and sports facilities, green projects, information and communication technology, power projects, logistics and infrastructure and public-private partnership projects.

Those projects are entitled with fiscal incentives such as three-year tax holiday on business tax and two-year tax holiday on real property tax. A five-year tax holiday is given to those that would be built in Calinan, Baguio, Marilog, and Paquibato Districts.

As part of the review, Lawyer Brando Cabalsi, director of Isla Lipana & Co., said they would focus on five strategies, which would guide them and help them identify what should be the preferred investment areas in the city. This is to know what areas that should be qualified for incentives.

Based on Isla Lipana’s presentation, among those key five strategies include the need to focus on the actors on the value chain and infrastructure development, develop the eco-system in agriculture, promote and protect tourism in multicultural Davao, encourage the use of indigenous material and maximize the potential of the tribes based in the city.

The company will also give assistance to help transform the organizational structure of DCIPC

Under agriculture for instance, Cabalsi said the establishment of cold chain facilities should be welcomed in the city to maintain the freshness of the products. “Davao is an agriculture area and therefore, we need to look at how we can support the sector,” he said.

The city government targeted to conduct the review on the investment incentive code in six months. Once the review would be completed including the necessary amendments on the law, the document would be submitted to the city council for approval.

Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag said the team that would review the code should also consider on land property acquisition and the need to attract businesses, especially those that do not yet exist in the city.

“Most of the existing businesses in the city have already been availing incentives. It would be also be better if we can attract outside the sphere of the city,” Al-ag said. (KMF)

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