MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/28 February) The Bukidnon Investment and Export Promotion Board has proposed amendments for the province’s investment and incentives code passed in 1995 with changes in the preferred areas of investments and fiscal incentives, according to a draft obtained from the board’s February 26 meeting.
The draft will be submitted for deliberation and approval by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Manny James Cudal, BIEPB chair, told Bukidnon News they need to revise the 18-yeard old ordinance to enhance benefits to business and development in Bukidnon. He said this was one of the requests of Gov. Alex Calingasan to the BIEPB.
He cited that only seven firms actually took advantage of the incentives since it was passed, mainly because the investment and export promotion office of the province was also inactive.
One of the projects or investment areas included in the proposed amendment, which was not provided in the 1995 version of the ordinance, is “exploration, mining, quarrying and processing of minerals.”
The board proposed eight major “preferred areas of investments,” which group about 66 projects and activities that are proposed to be entitled to the incentives proposed in the code.
The other areas include agri-business, forestry-based industries, service related industries, tourism-related establishments, support services, export-oriented industries (at least 50 percent of total products for export), and waste management and waste disposal projects.
The existing ordinance is identified as Provincial Ordinance 95-03 or “An Ordinance Creating the Bukidnon Investments and Exports Board and Granting Incentives to Investors and New Investments in the Province of Bukidnon.”
In the declaration of policy of the 1995 ordinance, it provided that the province should encourage investments in nine major areas including “non-metallic mineral mining.”
In the proposed amendment, the board has identified “metallic and non-metallic mineral mining.”
Members discussed that mining is one of the resources that could serve as the Philippines’ buffer in case the remittances from the overseas Filipino workers dwindle in case of a decline in the economy of countries were Filipinos work abroad.
The 1995 ordinance provides in Chapter 4, Section 14 under the category “mineral-based industries” white clay processing; kitchen and earth wares and semi-conductor; industrial lime production; construction/bricks and tiles manufacturing, and stone craft.
Board member Nemesio Beltran Jr. told this reporter including mining and exploration in the areas qualified for incentives may be blocked if the draft reaches the provincial board.
Beltran is sponsoring the amendments in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan pending the BEIPB recommendations.
The board kept among the incentives areas the special Export Processing Zones, agro-processing centers, private industrial estates, among others.
Facilities such as restaurants, hotels and hostels; golf courses and country resorts, and other recreational and sports facilities, however, which were outlined in the 1995 ordinance is nowhere in the proposed amendments.
There is however an area identified as “tourism-related establishments,” which covers: accommodation facilities, nature parks/ mountain resorts, amusement park, travel and tour operations, restaurants/ food outlets, retirement village and wellness center, and education-cultural camps.
The area “agri-business” covers 35 projects or economic activities, forestry-based industries, 8; service-related industries, 11; tourism related industries, 7; and support services,5.
Companies doing business with those projects or priority investments areas can avail of tax incentives under the local government code and those extended to registered new and existing enterprises.
(Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)