Davao to sign MOA with firm for review of fiscal incentive offerings

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 May) – The city government here signed on Wednesday a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Isla Lipana & Co. for the updating of the 2012 Davao City Investment and Incentive Code, according to Lemuel Ortonio, head of the Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC).

Mayor Sara Duterte signs the memorandum of agreement to update the city’s investment and incentive code. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

The signing took place during the first regular meeting of the Davao City Investment Incentive Board at the City Mayor’s Conference Room in the presence of Mayor Sara Duterte, department heads, private sector representatives, and representatives from Isla Lipana & Cop.

Ortonio said that the forging of agreement formalized the partnership between the city and the company to start the timely review of the six-year-old incentive code, owing to the several changes in the city’s economic profile and landscape brought about by the entry of several infrastructure and development projects.

“We need to keep up with the trends and we hope that with this review, we will be able to introduce investments that the city needs that are in line with the development direction of the city,” he said.

The Isla Lipana & Co, a member firm of the London-based multinational professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) global network and is in the business of delivering audit and assurance, tax and advisory services, also presented the eight-month timeframe for the review.

Atty. Brando Cabalsi, the firm’s tax director, said they envision to make the city fit for accelerated growth, strengthen the partnership between private and public sector to achieve goals, and create a source of pride for Dabawenyos.

In coming up with a new list of preferred investment areas, Cabalsi said the eight-month review would focus not only on sectors that are already sustainable because that will render support coming from the city useless. He added they would also look into the areas that need more support in the form of incentive or subsidy.

He explained the city government should focus on improving the supporting linkages to sectors that are already sustainable or are already being supported by the national government

The five-page memorandum of agreement (MOA) stated that both parties agreed, among others, 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 city; to conclude that an area or activity cannot attract investors with reasonable time and cost or may result in unfavorable business climate; and to conduct industry profile for each of the preferred investment areas.

It added that the focus of the study would be review on the existing preferred investment areas consisting of agri-business; tourism and recreational facilities; light manufacturing and assembly; property development; health and wellness, educational and sports facilities; environment protection on green projects; information and communications technology; generation of new sources of energy; transportation and infrastructure; and public-private partnership projects.

The firm would also review fiscal and non fiscal incentives, propose additional investment areas, and prefferred districts.

The city government set a new record after it ended 2017 with more than 40,000 businesses with a total investment value of P270 billion, higher compared to 2016’s 39,238 business establishments registered with total investment value worth P230.83 billion.

“If we are to describe Davao City in three words, it would be daring, multiplicity, and agile,” said Geraldine Esguerra-Longa, tax partner at Isla Lipana & Co.

She said “daring” because Davao City is brave in warding off threats and it’s bold in the face of challenges; “multiplicity” because Davao grows a wide array of diversity from its people to its product; and “agile” because it is swift and responsive to the changing times. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)