MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law extending the granting of incentives for tourism enterprises for 10 years.
Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) 11262 on April 10, a copy of which was released by Malacañang on Monday.
The law provides that the incentive schemes provided under the Tourism Act of 2009 (RA 9593) shall be effective until December 31, 2029, subject to review by the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee.
The committee will be composed of chairpersons of the tourism committee of the Senate and House of Representatives, heads of ways and means committee of both chambers, House appropriations committee chairperson, Senate finance committee chairperson and three additional members each from the Senate and House.
RA 9593 empowered the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to grant incentives to tourism enterprises for a period of 10 years in order to spur investments in sustainable tourism developments.
The incentives include income tax holidays, gross income taxation of five percent, 100 percent exemption on all taxes and customs duties on the importation of capital equipment, exemption of transportation and spare parts from tariffs and duties as well as employment of foreign nationals.
However, TIEZA officer-in-charge Joy Bulauitan said during the House deliberations on the measure that it was only in 2016 that the agency was able to grant these mandated incentives.
House ways and means committee chairperson Nueva Ecija Representative Estrellita Suansing said that while the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) were already crafted soon after the passage of RA 9593, the necessary revenue regulations were only issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in 2016.
“During the seven years of non-implementation of incentives, our country missed out on billions of dollars in investment opportunities [and] employment opportunities,” said Davao Oriental Representative Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon, House tourism committee chairperson.
“Moreover, the early implementation of these incentives and steady influx of foreign investments into the country could have greatly contributed to the attainment of a stable, sustainable, and competitive economic image for the Philippines in the international market.”
The Philippines aims to attract 8.2 million tourists this year. The country had 7.1 million tourist arrivals in 2018 when Boracay was closed to visitors for six months to give way for rehabilitation works as ordered by Duterte. (GMA News)