By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio (The Philippine Star) Updated March 15, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Board of Investments (BOI) is proposing to include the vertical mass housing component in the list of investments that will receive tax breaks from the government to spur the construction of more tenement style, low cost medium rise mass housing projects in Metro Manila.
In an interview, Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila said that he would have liked to sign the IPP proposal before leaving the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) but said there are still arguments over the inclusion of vertical mass housing.
Initially, the plan was to remove incentives for all vertical mass housing projects. However, at the behest of a government agency, the BOI decided to put back vertical mass housing but limit it to areas outside Metro Manila, in line with the plan to decongest the metropolis.
However, Favila said that moving the mass housing projects outside of Metro Manila will not benefit people who are working in the metropolis. “Many are working here and it would be difficult for them to reach their place of employment.”
According to Favila, they will no longer give incentives for horizontal mass housing projects. Favila said that he has already ordered BOI Director Efren Leano to fast track the proposed IPP.
The government needs to recover from an investment plunge last year. “I told them to work on it. I hope they finish it.”
With regards to the contingency list, Favila said that he does not remember bringing back that provision given the report that the crisis is already over.
The 2010 draft IPP lacked the contingency measure that was present in last year’s IPP. Under this section, tax breaks will be given to firms affected by the crisis but did not reduce the number of employees that they have.
This has formed part of the employment saving program of the government for last year. However, the BOI removed the provision after the board decided that the crisis is already over.
Other new features of the 2010 IPP are the green projects and the disaster prevention, mitigation and recovery projects.