Louise Maureen Simeon – The Philippine Star
September 11, 2022 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The government has provisionally extended, at least for three more days, the 30 percent work from home capacity (WFH) for information technology locators pending the next board meeting of concerned agencies.
In a memorandum released on Friday, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB), led by chairperson and Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, maintained the status quo of the 30 percent WFH set-up for the information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) sector.
Such an arrangement for the IT-BPM sector is bound to expire on Sept.12.
“The provisional extension is effective from Sept.13 until the FIRB decides on the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s request to extend the WFH arrangement,” Diokno said.
In a follow-up advisory, FIRB Secretariat head Judy Danofrata said the next board meeting is slated on Sept.15, or three days after the expiration of the original arrangement.
This means that the IT-BPM sector is assured of three more days of a 30-percent WFH arrangement until the board makes a decision on Sept.15 whether to extend or not.
Any move to extend the WFH arrangement beyond Sept. 12 would need the approval of the Cabinet-level interagency body through a resolution.
Last week, FIRB and PEZA were in another disagreement over the move to extend the WFH set-up after the latter said it is ready to extend letters of authority as the matter is “approved in principle.”
FIRB argued that such a decision has no legal basis as the matter remains up for discussion.
A few days later, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) maintained that the impasse on WFH with the FIRB is detrimental to the country’s positioning as an investment destination for the IT-BPM sector.
The IBPAP has been standing by the PEZA and its power to enable hybrid work for registered business enterprises.
FIRB, on the other hand, maintained that the resolution for extension should be anchored on the extension of the state of calamity or a declaration by President Marcos of an exceptional circumstance.
The Palace already said the extension of the state of calamity would be upon the advice of the Department of Health, but no decision has been made so far.
Diokno earlier said it is important to ensure compliance among the FIRB stakeholders and IT-BPM locators to achieve an effective tax incentives regime in the country.
“It is crucial that the locators in economic zones comply with the ongoing terms and conditions of their registration in order to continue receiving tax incentives as IPA-accredited businesses,” Diokno said.