• Melo Acuna

Foreign chambers call for PESA approval

Foreign chambers support Philippine Economic Stimulus act

MANILA – All seven members of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFC) of the Philippines noted the House of Representatives for its “hard work” in drafting and deliberating on the ambitions Philippine Economic Stimulus Act (PESA).

In a statement released today, the JFC said House Bill 6815 represents extensive public hearings on separate bills penned by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joey Salceda and Deputy Minority Stella Quimbo with special Defeat COVID-19 subcommittee Co-Chair Sharon Garin and Economics Committee chair, three legislators who have deep knowledge of the economy, finance and business.

According to the JFC, the bill which consolidates three separate bills, is very comprehensive and seeks to provide funding of P1.28 trillion to a broad spectrum of sectors of the Philippine economy affected by the quarantine period.

The JTC took note of the bill’s priorities which include additional funding to expand the Build, Build, Build program, wage subsidies, support for farmers and fisherfolk, small businesses, tourism, and transportation, among others.

PESA follows the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act RA 11469, which underscored relief and all-out government response to the immediate COVID-19 pandemic. PESA, meanwhile, focuses on directly supporting financially the most severely damaged sectors of the economy to assist them during their recovery efforts.

“We encourage the House plenary to approve the historical measure on Second Reading today and Third Reading on June 4 before its scheduled recess.

Meanwhile, the JFC said the Senate is considering six stimulus bills. The JFC hopes the final legislation gets approved after resuming session in late July to provide “very needed funds for economic recovery.

The added another form of stimulus to restart the country’s economy will result from the passage of the CREATE bill, which seeks reduction in the 30% Corporate Income Tax rate to 25% beginning next month and thereafter down by 20% by 2027.

“We support such reduction to 25% but recommend continuing annual 1% reductions to reach 20% in 2025 to be closer to the ASEAN average,” the JCF said in their statement. They also called for a five-year delay in the rationalization of fiscal incentives for existing incentivized exporters who are harmed by the severe local and global impact of the pandemic.

“For these existing investors who employ over two million Filipinos, we seek a five-year pause to recover their viability. The JFC submitted a comprehensive position paper to the Senate along with several industry associations last May 27,2020.

The members of the JFC include the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc., Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Inc., Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc., European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc., Japanese Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc., Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. Inc., and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc. (Melo M. Acuña)


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