Puerto Princesa City received a total of P27.55 billion worth of investment pledges during a Business Forum held in Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila on September 25, 2019. The investments came from various industries, such as education, healthcare, tourism, and real estate, showcasing the diverse business opportunities of the economic growth hub.
The city government is doing everything it can to attract investors, enacting City Ordinances 461 and 919 which provide financial incentives to business looking to invest. With preferred investments in tourism, agri-fishery, renewable energy, and information and communication, City Ordinance 461 offers a four-year incentive to investments anywhere in the city. Investments ranging from P3 million to P99 million receive a 100% reduction in taxes (incl. local, real property, and business taxes) for their first year of operations. Businesses will also receive tax reductions in their subsequent years of operations; 75% on the second year, 50% on the third year, and 25% on the fourth year.
For investments P100 million and abovethe 100% tax reduction will apply for the first two years, with 75% reduced in the third year and 50% reduced in the fourth year.
City Ordinance 919 specifically incentivizes those looking to do business along Tourism Mile, an area Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron hopes will help boost their nighttime economy. “The situation of Puerto Princesa as of now, after the tourists have dinner, they go to sleep because there is no place to go… We need investments so that there is a night life for them. But of course, we are looking for clean fun, clean recreation.”
The incentives for businesses looking to invest there are more generous as it spans eight years. Businesses will receive 100% tax reductions in their first six years of operations, with a 75% reduction in their seventh year, and a 50% reduction in their eighth year.
The push to expand Tourism Mile is no surprise as tourism is the main industry of Puerto Princesa, with Mayor Bayron estimating 60% of their economy is tourism-related. He also cited a report stating that approximately 1,200,000 tourists visited Puerto Princesa in 2018, not counting crew ship passengers.
Apart from tourism though, Mayor Bayron is hopeful the investments that come in will help alleviate other problems Puerto Princesa currently faces. These include food production, in-land transportation, and unemployment. “Investment, you can equate to employment. No matter what business, when it is put up, they will need people to run it, to work, so that’s our gain: employment.”
When asked about the pledges the city received, Mayor Bayron said “We are very elated, happy. The hard work was worth it. We look forward to receiving them to the city of Puerto Princesa.” The Business Forum carried the theme “Your Investment. Our Commitment”, a sentiment echoed by Mayor Bayron. “Our pledge [to investors]: we’ll look after them. Whatever they need, we will be there because we need their investments.”