PH secures P75-B loan from Japan for Davao, Cebu infrastructure projects

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2020   •   428

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan have signed two loan agreements worth P75.5 billion for two big projects in the Visayas and Mindanao under the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, the Department of Finance (DOF) announced on Tuesday.

Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa signed the loan deals worth 154 billion yen to fund the construction of the Cebu-Mactan Fourth Bridge and the Coastal Road Construction project in the Visayas, and the Davao City Bypass Construction Project.

The DOF said P57 billion of the loan will be used to support the Cebu-Mactan bridge and the coastal road construction project while the Davao City road project will get P18.5 billion.

The Duterte administration is counting on ramping up its infrastructure projects to create more jobs and boost the local economy which plummeted due to the coronavirus-induced global economic crisis.

The DOF said the loans carry a maturity period of 40 years with a 12-year grace period and have an annual interest rate of 0.10 percent for non-consulting services and 0.01 percent for consulting services.

The department said the Cebu-Mactan Fourth Bridge and the Coastal Road Construction project is the biggest infrastructure project in the Visayas under the “Build, Build, Build” program with a total estimated cost of P76.4 billion.

JICA has committed to fund 75 percent of the total cost of the project through Official Development Assistance (ODA) financing, while the remaining 25 percent or P18.82 billion will be covered by local financing.

Dominguez said the Cebu project aims to trim travel time and improve the capacity of the existing road network connecting Cebu and Mactan as it involves the construction of a 3.3-kilometer bridge with an elevated viaduct of 3.38 kilometers and a 4.9-kilometer four-lane coastal road with an elevated viaduct of 4.75 kilometers.

The Davao City Bypass Construction project, meanwhile, is expected to reduce congestion in Davao City and improve accessibility to its major development hubs through the construction of a 45.5-km, four-lane bypass road.

It also includes a 2.3-km main tunnel, which will utilize advanced Japanese technologies for its construction, and 0.5-km 4-lane cut-and-cover tunnel section running through the mountainous terrain in Barangay Magtuod, Davao City.

The project is expected to reduce travel time from Davao-Digos Intersection to Panabo City to just 49 minutes from the current one hour and 44 minutes.

The Cebu project is slated to start construction next year and is expected to be operational by 2029 while the Davao bypass road will break ground this year and will be completed by 2023.

Economic, infra clusters to hold pre-2020 SONA forum this week

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte government’s economic development and infrastructure Cabinet clusters are set to present the administration’s plans for recovery and resilience in the face of the coronavirus-induced headwinds this year at the first pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) forum to be held this week.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said that the forum titled, “Regaining Momentum, Accelerating Recovery in a Post COVID-19 World,” will be held virtually on July 8.

Hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office and Office of the Cabinet Secretary, the forum will be streamed live on the Facebook pages of the Radio Television Malacañang, and other government agencies.

Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino II said this year’s pre-SONA forum will be different as the audience will be “purely virtual,” due to limitations on mass gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We do hope that our citizens will be able to tune in as the country’s top decision makers discuss our path to a quick and strong recovery from this crisis,” he said.

In the forum, the DOF said that top economic and infrastructure officials are also expected to report on the state of the Philippine economy, as well as the government’s ongoing efforts to leverage on its strong fundamentals in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar will present performance updates and priority plans, respectively, on the economic and infrastructure fronts.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua will speak on the Philippine Economic Recovery Program.

“The audience can expect Secretary Dominguez to delve deeper into the challenges we’re facing right now, the accomplishments in the previous year that we can build on, and the legislative proposals that the economic team submitted for Congress to consider,” Lambino said.

Meanwhile, updates on the monetary, external, and financial sectors will be discussed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Pre-SONA forums are held annually to discuss in greater detail the achievements of the government in the previous year and the priorities of the Cabinet cluster heads in the run-up to the President’s SONA on July 27.

Deadlines for filing of VAT refund claims extended anew, DOF says

Robie de Guzman   •   June 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) announced on Sunday that it has extended anew the deadlines for the filing of claims for value-added tax (VAT) refund.

In a statement on Sunday, the DOF said it has issued Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 16-2020, dated June 24, extending the deadline due to “preconceived difficulty for taxpayer-claimants to file VAT refund claims” as mobility remains restricted in some areas in the country amid the enforcement of quarantine measures against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The extended deadlines for filing of VAT refund claims are as follows:

  • Calendar quarter ending March 31, 2018 – July 15, 2020
  • Fiscal quarter ending April 30, 2018 – July 31, 2020
  • Fiscal quarter ending May 31, 2018 – August 15, 2020
  • Calendar quarter ending June 30, 2018 – August 31, 2020

However, the finance department clarified that these extended deadlines will not apply to areas that are not yet under general community quarantine (GCQ).

For taxpayer-claimants in areas that have yet to transition to GCQ, the DOF said that the deadline shall be 30 days from the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the affected areas, or the above stated deadlines, whichever comes later.

In areas under ECQ or MECQ, the implementation of the 90-day period for processing VAT refund claims is suspended, the DOF said.

Online sellers, maaaring makakakuha ng benepisyo kung magpaparehistro – DOF

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pinawi ng Department of Finance (DOF) ang pangamba ng ilang online sellers hinggil sa panawagan ng Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) na ipa-rehistro ang kanilang negosyo hanggang July 31.

Ayon sa DOF, hindi dapat matakot ang online sellers dahil may maganda namang epekto sa pagpapatakbo ng negosyo ang pagpaparehistro nito.

Ayon kay DOF Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino II, kung lehitimo at rehistrado sa BIR ang isang online seller ay maaari silang makakuha ng benepisyo mula sa pamahalaan.

Kabilang aniya rito ang loan application na may mababang interes na alok ng Department of Trade and Industry, pati na ang wage subsidy program ng DOF para sa mga empleyado ng maliliit na negosyo.

Binigyang-diin rin ni Lambino na hindi pagbabayarin ng buwis ang maliliit na online sellers o kumikita ng mas mababa sa P250,000 sa loob ng isang taon.

Sa halip, nais lamang ng pamahalaan na maipatupad ng tama ang mga probisyong nakasaad sa Internal Revenue Code ng bansa.

“It is not only a requirement and an act of good citizenship it also comes with benefits… Hindi po natin layunin na habulin ang lahat ng nga online seller para sa mga taxes. Ang gusto lang po talaga natin masunod ang batas that is actually applicable to all na nagnenegosyo,” ani Lambino.

Una nang sinabi ng DTI na bukod sa pagpapaibayo sa consumer protection, malaking tulong rin ang registration ng online sellers para sa binabalangkas na electronic commerce (eCommerce) road map ng pamahalaan.

Ayon sa DTI, mas mainam na may database ang online sellers upang mabigyan sila ng boses at maisama sa konsultasyon pati na rin sa implementasyon ng eCommerce programs.

Payo sa online sellers na magpaparehistro, pumunta lang sa pinakamalapit na BIR office sa kanilang lugar dala ang mga sumusunod na requirement:

  • Valid government IDs
  • Certificate of Business Name Registration na makukuha sa DTI
  • P500 para sa processing fee
  • P30 para sa documentary stamp tax

Paalala ng BIR, hindi na kailangang kumuha ng Mayor’s permit para sa registration ng online sellers.

Maaaring makuha sa mismong araw ng aplikasyon ang Certificate of Registration mula sa BIR.

Hanggang July 31 puwedeng magpa-rehistro ang online sellers sa BIR pero wala namang ipapataw na penalty kung mahuhuli sa deadline.

Babala naman ng ahensya, maaaring pagmultahin ang online sellers na hindi magpaparehistro, lalo na ang malalaking online services na kumikita ng mahigit sa P250,000 kada taon.

Kapag nahuli ka magbabayad ka ng penalty kasi patuloy kang nagnenegosyo hindi ka nagrerehistro… Bawal po ‘yun, kailangan magrehistro ka at magbayad ka ng buwis,” ani BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

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