Tuesday August 21, 2018

City inks deal with Isla Lipana

DAVAO. (From left to right) City Administrator Zuleika Lopez, Vice Mayor Bernie Al-ag, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Isla Lipana chair and senior partner Alexander Cabrera, and Isla Lipana Tax Partner Geraldine Esguerra-Longa were present during the MOA signing of the Davao City investment incentive code review. (Macky Lim)

THE City Government of Davao City inks the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Isla Lipana for the review of the city’s investment incentive code (IIC).

With the intention of further strengthening the investment climate as well as the partnership between the city government and the private sectors, the incentive code will be up for review spearheaded by Isla Lipana, an accounting firm that had already partnered with the city government in its “Dauntless Davao” project.

Isla Lipana is known to be the oldest accounting firm in the Philippines and specializes in services such as audit, tax, deals and corporate financing, and financing fraud and IT consulting among others.

“The revised incentive code is targeted to help encourage strategic and strong partnership with the private and the public sector. We plan to start with identifying the areas that would need support and to give incentives to these areas. In other words, we plan to support the supporting actors,” said Isla Lipana chairman and senior partner Alexander Cabrera emphasizing on the need of focusing on the value chain on infrastructure development.

During the presentation Isla Lipana manager Maria Jonas Yap said they are looking into a five-step approach in making the investment code relevant.

First, understanding the current economic environment of the city would include the review itself of the current IIC and the alignment of the master plan of Davao City with the IIC.

Yap said they estimate this portion of the review to last for 2 to 4 weeks.

As Davao City is the only local government unit in the country that came up with its own IIC, Yap said they plan to go about the review with a different approach by putting side by side the IIC of the city with that of the national investment incentive landscape. On this step, the study and comparison with incentive picture outside the city is proposed to take place. This is also targeted to last for six to eight weeks.

These first two steps will then be followed by the consultation of the stakeholders (eight to 10 weeks), conduct of a “write shop” with the members of the Davao City Investment and Promotions Center (DCIPC) (two to three weeks), and finally the presentation of the proposed amendments (one to two weeks).

One of the specific areas that Isla Lipana is looking into with the review of the IIC is the development of the eco-system in agriculture.

They are looking forward to having an improved agri-tech in the city particularly the establishment of a cold chain facility that will help lengthen the shelf life of the agricultural products.

Isla Lipana also proposed promoted and protected tourism in Davao City that is multi-cultural keeping in mind the use of indigenous materials and maximizing the potentials of indigenous people.

On top of this, Cabrera said they wish to empower DCIPC and make it more “relevant, simple, and enticing”. However, City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) officer-in-charge Ivan Cortez suggested that Isla Lipana could work on the totality of the City Government itself and not just on DCIPC to make the study more effective.

“Beyond the sphere of the businesses that are already here, we want businessmen to come because we have a very attractive program in the city,” Davao City Vice Mayor Bernie Al-ag said. All the suggestions and the concerns of the members of the board raised during the presentation were taken by Isla Lipana.

DCIPC head Lemuel Ortonio said they are hoping that the review will be able to fit in their target six-month time frame. The next meeting of the incentive board may be on scheduled on June or July.