PEZA wants WFH setup for IT-BPO locators until September

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is requesting the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) to extend the work-from-home (WFH) arrangement for information technology business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) locators until September 12 this year.

The PEZA said it recommended to the FIRB to allow implementation of such arrangement without the 10 percent onsite requirement and diminution of fiscal incentives.

In a statement, it said these temporary measures will help registered businesses in investment promotion agencies (IPAs) like PEZA to recover from the adverse impacts of the pandemic.

PEZA cited Rule 23, Section 3 of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law, which allows IPAs to implement temporary measures under exceptional circumstances that include pandemic, epidemic, war, armed conflict, state of national health emergency, outbreak of diseases, international or regional financial crisis, major disaster such as volcanic eruption, earthquake and super typhoon, or analogous circumstances.

“The proposal of PEZA is merely temporary in consideration of the ongoing pandemic,” PEZA director general Charito Plaza said.

However, the PEZA has yet to receive the formal notice on FIRB’s decision regarding the IPA’s recommendations, Plaza added.

“PEZA-registered companies are coping with or recovering from the impacts of the pandemic. If it’s supposed to be a relief measure, we should not penalize the companies; rather, we must continue to assist our registered companies as much as possible given that protecting (the) livelihoods of millions of Filipinos is an important national interest,” she said.

Aside from extending the WFH arrangement, PEZA also proposed to the FIRB “to allow movement of IT equipment and assets as long as the same is covered by surety bond and appropriate PEZA permits” and to authorize the IPA to craft its own guidelines for WFH for the sector.

Earlier, PEZA deputy director general Tereso Panga highlighted the contribution of the IT-BPO sector in investments and jobs in the IPA.

For the past two decades, the sector invested some PHP328.6 billion in the ecozone and created 962,304 direct employment. (PNA)