The Daily Manila Shimbun


PEZA head does not feel alluded to in Duterte’s speech as next official to go

September 11, 2019

Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito Plaza said she does not feel threatened amid President Rodrigo Duterte's statement on sacking a female official from the economic team.

Duterte during his speech in Malacanang on Tuesday said he will fire another official. He said he will not be giving the axe to the female appointee due to corruption, instead it's because "she's not in parity with others."

Plaza, who is appealing for the exemption of PEZA from the CITIRA (Corporate Income Tax and Incentive Rationalization Act), defended herself amid rumors that she is the next official to be dismissed by the president.

"I don't feel alluded to by his statement...I'm just doing my job.  We are 14 IPA (investment promotion agencies) and I am the only one talking. I don’t know if they are being bullied or what,” Plaza said in a press briefing.

She also added that she have been requesting for a dialogue with a president on the CITIRA and TRABAHO (Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High Quality Opportunities) bill. However, according to Plaza, there were people or someone who was "blocking" her requests.

“I was told there were people blocking. I know he ( Duterte)  is fair and just. He listens. Before making an announcement whether it is me or not, it will be good if the President will give us time to be heard," she explained.

"I want to help him (Duterte) in the success of (his) administration. I should help him be successful especially in the economic industry," said Plaza.

Under the CITIRA or the House Bill No. 4157 - which was recently approved on 2nd reading at the House of Representatives, corporate income taxes will be reduced starting 2021 from the current 30 percent to 20 percent by 2029. This aims to energize micro, small and medium enterprises.    
Plaza said they support the tax incentive bill but insisted it should not be tested on PEZA since "the present incentives are perfect."
"The incentives are one of the things which attracts (export-oriented industries) in our country aside from manpower," she said. 
“We are united in pushing for PEZA exemption from CITIRA. We support it, but test it first on domestic (enterprises).”  
According to PEZA, it is dangerous to tinker with incentives offered for the export industries. 
"The instability of tax regime for exports caused decline in investments, new projects due to the tax rationalizations proposed in the second CTRP (Comprehensive Tax Reform Program)," the PEZA explainer statement read.
"Investors now locate in huge neighboring countries. Huge capital, development of idle lands, and thousands of jobs supposedly to be generated are lost opportunities for the country," it added.  Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS