ONLY TWO Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) are considered self-sufficient in terms of receiving government aid, with the remainder taking in P58 billion in budgetary support between 2017 and 2021, according to Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) estimates provided by the Department of Finance (DoF).

In a statement on Monday, the DoF identified the two subsidy-free entities as the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority (PIA), which manages an economic zone in northern Mindanao.

The subsidies were used by IPAs to invest in assets and for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE).

“It is only right that (IPAs) maximize the budgetary support they get from the national government,” Finance Secretary and FIRB Chairman Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted as saying.

He added that their efforts should go towards attracting foreign investment, “especially in this time of the pandemic, that would create jobs and supercharge our economy.”

The DoF said IPAs receiving budgetary support were the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO), the Board of Investments (BoI), the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Group, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (ZCSEZA).

Between 2017 and 2021, the BCDA Group received P7.47 billion, with 83% of the funds used for MOOE.

Funding from the government supplements whatever each IPA can exact in the form of “fees and other charges from their locators and registered business enterprises (RBEs),” the DoF said.

Finance Assistant Secretary Juvy C. Danofrata, who heads the FIRB Secretariat, said at a recent DoF meeting that the AFAB allocated the entirety of its budget to capital outlays or the purchase of new assets, while the SBMA and TIEZA allocated the entirety of theirs to MOOE.

In 2021, IPAs received P5.07 billion in budgetary support from the government. — Tobias Jared Tomas