Law News

Gordon to refile bill creating Central Luzon investment hub

MANILA - Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday said he will revive a vetoed bill that would have created a Regional Investment and Infrastructure Coordinating Hub (RICH) of Central Luzon amid the government's drive to decongest Metro Manila amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a virtual hearing of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, Gordon said the measure was needed as a way of spreading economic growth outside Metro Manila.

The bill was passed by Congress last year but was vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte after the Department of Finance flagged the incentives that would be given to companies that would set up shop in Central Luzon.

Back then the DOF had been lobbying for bill that would have rationalized fiscal incentives given by different investment promotions agencies while lowering corpoprate income taxes. 

Gordon pointed out however that the DOF has changed its stance on fiscal incentives in the CREATE or Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises bill. 

"I think the President will agree to us because he knows that he needs investments," Gordon said.

The proposed law almost received near-unanimous support from the stakeholders that attended the committee hearing, which included representatives from local governments in Region III as well as investment promotion agencies (IPAs) there.

The Finance Department said it was open to the measure, but wanted"enhancements" to the bill.

"When it comes to incentives, we want to make sure that the exemption is actually commensurate that's being given to the economy," said Juvy Danofrata, a director at the DOF.

Trade Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba also said Gordon's proposal should be aligned with the CREATE bill. 

"Apart from this we are fully supportive of the RICH bill."

By: Bruce Rodriguez

This article was first published by ABS-CBN.