Embarking on a path towards economic transformation to make more investments happen in the Central Visayas region, over 100 company representatives and business chamber members participated in the first installment of a series of roadshows on the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP) organized by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), held recently in Cebu City on July 19.
The SIPP was well-received by the private sector, as the incentives that they could get from investing in the region sparked their interest. The chambers were also well represented in the event, including foreign chambers such as the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) region 7 branches.
Significantly, the timely conduct of the SIPP roadshow ushered in a renewed optimism among Cebuanos and the rest of the region as the SIPP can help in accelerating economic recovery in Central Visayas which was gravely affected by typhoon Odette, aside from the pandemic.
During the one-day event, 11 companies participated in the one-on-one consultations for the registration with the BOI, the country’s lead industry development and investments promotion agency (IPA). After the consultations, the BOI garnered nine (9) business interests from the following sectors: three (3) from the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry, three (3) from the manufacturing industry, two (2) from the transportation and storage industry, and one (1) from the tourism industry.
Atty. Bobby Fondevilla, Executive Director of the BOI’s Investments Assistance Service (IAS), discussed the salient features and incentives under the SIPP to the stakeholders, particularly priorities areas for investments aligned with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), such as those that promote competitiveness.
In the remarks of Regional Director Ma. Elena Arbon of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region VII, read by DTI Central Visayas Assistant Regional Director Esperanza Melgar, she emphasized the role of the BOI in promoting the salient features of the SIPP in key regions and cities in the country.
“We are truly making it happen in the Philippines, as the SIPP aims to hasten the transformation of the country’s economy into a modern and efficient one with highly developed infrastructure. This is why I firmly believe that with this 2022 SIPP, we will hasten the economic recovery of our country and also ensure that we come out of this pandemic with technology-driven industries anchored on a strong industrial base,” the DTI official said.
Representing OIC-Regional Director Dolores Molintas of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Region VII, Ms. Maria Teresa Alambra, chief economic development specialist, discussed the economic performance and outlook of the Central Visayas region through the years amid the country’s pursuit of edging away from the pandemic that has battered the global economy.
According to Ms. Alambra, regional economy grew by 5.4 percent in 2021 based on the real Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) growth rate. Dominated by the services sector, Central Visayas remains the 4th largest regional economy, she added. In addition, the NEDA official bared that the main deterrents of the 2022 economic performance of the region are damage from Typhoon Odette, global conflicts such as the continuing Ukraine war, and spikes in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant.
On the economic upside, more businesses are expanding and reaching full operation capacity in 2022 due to an anticipated relaxation of quarantine restrictions, and employment could remain upbeat as more companies step up and increase capacity utilization.
In the latter part of the program, Executive Director Fondevilla, along with Director Maria Rosario Dominguez of the BOI’s Domestic Investments Promotion Service (DIPS) as well as resource persons from the BOI Industry Development Services,answered queries from the investors and stakeholders regarding the SIPP and other investment concerns.
Representing the business sector, Ms. Melanie Ng, Regional Director of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Central Visayas, expressed her appreciation to the BOI national and regional office for conducting the first roadshow in Cebu City to boost the Philippine competitiveness in the market and for the local companies to invest in the region’s municipalities.
“Allow me to thank the organizers of this event—the Board of Investments and the Cebu Extension Office, for taking the lead and doing the Cebu Roadshow first. And for giving us all the opportunity to get first hand understanding of BOI’s strategies, programs, policy developments especially the new incentives towards post-pandemic recovery, post-Odette recovery and the development of a resilient and sustainable economy,” Ms. Ng said.
“May this roadshow serve as a stepping stone as businesses show interest and participate while we await the release of the IRR and BOI speedily undergoes the evaluation process. Let’s continue to be proactive catalysts of development in search of business investment opportunities in partnership with the government, local chambers, and other business organizations,” Ms. Ng added.
The SIPP, prepared by the BOI in coordination and consultation with the IPAs, the Fiscal Incentives and Review Board (FIRB), other government agencies administering tax incentives, and the private sector, lists the priority industries, sectors, and business projects that may qualify for investment incentives under Republic Act No. 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act. The said plan serves as a catalyst to beef up various industries and yield more diversified, complex, and sophisticated products and services in the country.
Aimed at promoting investment opportunities and building connection with the country’s investors, would-be investors, and concerned stakeholders, the BOI will also conduct SIPP roadshows in other parts of the country as part of its series of roadshows nationwide.
For the rest of July, through the BOI and its Extension Offices, roadshows will be conducted in two other key cities: Cagayan de Oro on July 26, and Davao on July 28. In the succeeding months, more roadshows will be held in different parts of the country.
For more information on the SIPP, visit the website of the BOI: Strategic Investment Priority Plan | Board of Investments (boi.gov.ph)