THE 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo on Oct. 16-17 will result in resolutions in a breadth of national concerns including agriculture, taxation, trade, transportation, and tourism.

Organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the 38 resolutions will be submitted to President Rodrigo R. Duterte at the conclusion of the event in Manila Hotel.

For agriculture, PCCI will be endorsing the lowering of rice import costs while also urging the government to rationalize the importation of sugar in consultation with industry stakeholders.

To improve investment promotion, PCCI recommends the strict implementation of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act. The law requires government services to process transactions between three to 20 days.

To address energy concerns, PCCI is looking to improve the Palawan tourism sector with sustained and reliable power. They plan to ask the Department of Energy (DoE) and the National Electrification Administration to fast-track power transmission projects and accelerate the development plan to connect cities and municipalities to the main grid.

PCCI is also submitting resolutions to address environment, climate change, and disaster management. For disaster management, they are calling on local government units to craft disaster and risk reduction ordinances for businesses.

PCCI is urging government agencies to address the growing waste management issue, recommending the DoE and the Department of Natural Resources to implement policies that establish waste to energy facilities.

The chamber is also asking the government to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). They urge the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to strengthen its mentoring program “to cascade valuable initiatives like corporate social responsibility, occupational safety and health, disaster risk reduction and management, strategic thinking and planning.”

PCCI’s taxation resolutions are made up of a threefold recommendation to the Department of Finance (DoF). They are asking the department to issue guidelines on the situs or location of tax for better recording of large tax payers by region, and to come up with simplified taxation for MSMEs.

They are also urging the DoF to increase consultations and analyses of the implications of the TRABAHO bill on labor, human capital, internal revenues, business competitiveness, trade performance, health and education and countryside investment.

The TRABAHO bill is now the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act or CITIRA bill, which rationalizes tax incentives while reducing corporate income tax.

For taxation, PCCI is asking the Bureau of Customs to grant the district collector of the major trading hub of the Port of Cebu authorities to approve valuation and mark penalties.

To address transportation and logistics, PCCI recommends a number of infrastructure projects, including the extension and construction of railways, as well as the rehabilitation of roads and highways.

The chamber is requesting for the upgrade of regional airports and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). They are asking the government to study the possibility of constructing a third runway at NAIA.

“This will increase airline and airport efficiencies, enhance passenger comfort and experience and elevate NAIA to become a viable transit hub for the ASEAN region,” PCCI said.

PCCI is likewise urging the government to address Metro Manila traffic, recommending a harmonization of traffic rules in the Metropolitan area. They are requesting the national government to pass a comprehensive Traffic Crisis Act.

To improve the tourism sector, PCCI is requesting the government to certify Senate Bill No. 1756 to create a Boracay Island Development Authority to sustain the island’s rehabilitation.

For urban development, PCCI supports the implementation of initiatives of the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Task Force to create a comprehensive master plan for its rehabilitation and development.

The first day of the 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo will be opened by Vice- President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, followed by a set of plenaries on transforming traditional business models for a digital economy. The plenaries include panel discussions, featuring Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and Senator Pilar Juliana “Pia” S. Cayetano.

The day will end with business matching and networking sessions as well as pitching sessions.

The second day will include a talk by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Following the afternoon’s breakout sessions, there will be a memorandum of understanding signing between the PCCI, DTI, and the Department of Agriculture on an initiative to support farmers.

Mr. Duterte is set to close the program with a keynote speech. — Jenina P. Ibañez