• Binay, Purisima clash over mass housing tax

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    VICE President Jejomar Binay and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima are clashing over the latter’s move to put off mass housing on a list of businesses that can enjoy tax incentives.

    In opposing Purisima’s proposal, Binay, who is also the country’s housing czar, maintained that mass housing projects still need tax and other incentives.

    “As far as I am concerned, yes,” said Binay, who chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, when asked if tax perks for mass housing are still necessary.

    Purisima earlier proposed the removal of mass housing from this year’s investment priorities plan (IPP), an annual list of business activities that could enjoy tax incentives.

    Under the proposed guidelines of the 2013 IPP, new mass housing projects outside the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) and Metro Cebu will be entitled to a three-year income tax holiday (ITH).

    Meanwhile, new and expansion projects within the NCR and Metro Cebu will have a two-year ITH. This is shorter than the usual four- to eight-year ITH given to other projects.

    Besides the mass housing, Purisima has also proposed removing iron and steel, motor vehicle manufacturing and shipbuilding from the business activities eligible for incentives under the 2013 IPP.

    Binay also said that job quality is also important in the quest for inclusive growth.

    “While we wish to see more jobs generated, we cannot be content with just the quantity of jobs. Quality of employment must carry equal weight,” the Vice President said during the 34th National Conference of Employers.

    Binay said that for quality jobs to be created, clear policies must be set to allow industries such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure to thrive.

    He added that adequate safeguards should also be in place to assure environmental security and sustainability.

    “Plans should include milestones and measures to attract investments in manufacturing that shall build on the dividends earned in the primary sectors. This shall increase the demand for a wide and evolving selection of services, which shall create even more employment opportunities for a wider segment of our population,” Binay added.

    He said that while creation of an investment-attractive environment falls on the shoulders of government, the private sector also plays a key role in job creation.

    The Vice President urged the Employers Confederation of the Philippines to help the government formulate rules and regulations to spur competitiveness in the global marketplace given the Philippines’ strengths and limits.

    RITCHIE A. HORARIO

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