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DoF touts investments, urges Create law changes

A TOTAL of 45 big-ticket projects worth P721.29 billion have been approved as of August by the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB), the Finance department said on Wednesday.

«The approved investment projects are expected to create 31,421 job opportunities, primarily in capital-intensive industries such as information and telecommunications infrastructure, transportation, manufacturing and real estate projects,» it said in a statement.

Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno chairs the FIRB, an interagency body authorized to grant tax incentives to registered business enterprises.

The department also said that as of July, investment promotion agencies had approved a total of 752 projects with an investment capital of P175.67 billion and 49,170 committed jobs.

In total, 797 projects have already been approved under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (Create) Act, resulting in pledges worth P896.95 billion and 80,591 committed jobs.

Six FIRB-approved projects have achieved a 96.88-percent employment commitment rate with a total of 683 employees, it added, while five FIRB-approved projects reported actual investments of P24.76 billion — 67.14 percent of the P36.88 billion committed for the five.

Diokno said that he supported proposed amendments to the Create Act, the Create to Maximize Opportunities for Reinvigorating the Economy (Create More) bill, saying this would help bring in more investments.

«The proposed amendments to the Create Act will enhance the incentives, clarify the rules and policies on the grant and administration of incentives to qualified enterprises and address issues affecting the country's investment climate,» he said.

Major areas of reform include the establishment of a streamlined tax refund system for registered firms and the institutionalization of risk-based classification of claims and audit framework.