P76B in projects in ‘Yolanda’ areas OKd
The Board of Investments has approved P76 billion worth of investment commitments that were geared toward helping fast track the socio-economic rehabilitation and redevelopment of areas devastated by Supertyphoon Yolanda in 2013.
These investment commitments were supported by several more initiatives by the BOI to help secure the economic recovery in Yolanda-stricken areas. These measures included the issuance in August of a circular identifying 134 calamity-stricken cities and municipalities as “least developed areas (LDAs)” under the government’s Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) and the establishment of the Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone, which was aimed at promoting sustainable local employment.
Such initiatives were said to dovetail with the administration’s socioeconomic agenda to uplift the lives of Filipinos and attain inclusive growth, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez explained.
Data from the BOI showed that the 27 projects, which were approved from November 2013 up to the present, were estimated to generate 3,674 new jobs for the affected localities.
Of the P76.19 billion worth of registered investment projects, about 95 percent were energy projects composed of 12 renewable energy projects, one bunker fired power plant and one energy source exploration project. Five percent of the approved investments involved projects in the manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing, and accommodation and food service industries.
Trade Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said these energy projects were crucial as they were expected to help stabilize the social and economic development in these typhoon-stricken areas.
Identifying 134 calamity-stricken cities and municipalities as LDAs under the IPP meant that any facility, project and activity brought to these low-income and disaster-stricken areas would get attractive incentives, including tax deductions.
Based on Memorandum Circular No. 2016-003, “registered projects located in identified LDAs shall be entitled to pioneer incentives and additional deduction from taxable income equivalent to 100 percent of expenses incurred in the development of necessary and major infrastructure facilities unless otherwise specified in the IPP’s specific guidelines.”
“The move is intended to encourage more businesses to set up investment activities in calamity-stricken areas, and is aligned with the government’s strategy to move into the medium to long term recovery and rehabilitation of areas highly affected by calamities,” Rodolfo said.
The BOI and various government agencies and the local government of Leyte, a Yolanda-affected area, are leading the implementation of the proposed Leyte Ecological Industrial Zone. This formed part of the strategies under the Copper Industry Roadmap, which aims to promote the integrated development and competitiveness of the copper and other related industries in the context of the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in the region.
The proposed industrial zone aims to promote industry clustering to reduce logistics costs and ensure reliable power supply of power. Leyte has one of the biggest geothermal power plants in the Visayas.
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