Vol. XXII, No. 204 [ BusinessWorld Online ]
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES
TAGUIG CITY is moving to collect local fees from companies registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) that are operating in Bonifacio Global City, starting with those in E-Square I.T. Park.
Under a memorandum of agreement, signed last May 8 and which will take effect 30 days from that date, E-Square locators will have to pay the following fees:
* quarterly waste management fee of P50-P1,000, depending on the aggregate area of the business;
* a P6,000 annual mayor’s permit fee;
* an annual permit fee on exercise of profession of P300 per employee;
* an annual health certificate fee of P100 per person of managerial or supervisory rank, and P50 per person for rank and file;
* an annual sanitary inspection fee ranging from P50-P1,100 depending on aggregate area; and
* a City Card fee of P750 for non-Taguig residents that entitles holders to free lab and other health care benefits.
Among the firms that will be affected by the MoA are those in Net Group Buildings, Marajo Tower, HSBC Bldg., Fort Legend Tower, Picadilly Star, Ascendas, Bonifacio E-Services Bldg., and Bonifacio Technology Center.
Elmer H. San Pascual, PEZA promotions and public relations manager, said in a telephone interview yesterday that similar agreements covering other PEZA-registered businesses in Market! Market!, McKinley Hills Cyber Park and Total Corporate Center are in the works.
"We are currently crafting a MoA for them. We are hoping the same provisions will be applied and the city government will be coming up with the same draft," he said.
Taguig Vice-Mayor George A. Elias said in a separate phone interview yesterday that payment of the local fees should help offset the costs the city government incurs in providing basic and special services to PEZA locators.
Other PEZA firms next?
"The local regulatory fees are in exchange for the services being provided by the city government such as the collection of garbage as well as the closed circuit television cameras and panic buttons which were installed to monitor activities within the city and enable quick response to crime and other emergencies," he said.
He said this is the first time PEZA firms in the city would pay such fees, but would not say if such locators outside Bonifacio Global City would be next.
Under Section 23 of Republic Act (RA) No. 7916, or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, business establishments operating within PEZA-administered eco-zones are entitled to incentives like exemption from the payment of all local government imposts, fees, licenses or taxes, except real estate taxes; four to six years of income tax holiday (ITH); as well as a tax of 5% of gross income after the ITH expires in lieu of the corporate income tax.
Explaining the imposition of local fees, in apparent contradiction to RA 7916, PEZA’s Mr. San Pascual said: "We agreed to enter in the said agreement since the payment to be given to the government will be returned to the businesses concerned in the form of services from the government."
Sought for comment, Aldroderick Q. Viray, associate vice-president for operations of Fort Legend Tower, said that the PEZA-Taguig agreement would weigh on the development of investments.
"These [local fees] are additional costs. We do not think it is a good idea, as we are not ready for it. [Only] 18% of our building is occupied and it is hard to get tenants right now," he said in a telephone interview. — L. D. Desiderio