Taking advantage of the investors who are interested to set up shop in the country, garment manufacturers are asking for more tax incentives to help the industry stand strong again.
Director Ding Buendia of the Foreign Buyers’ Association of the Philippines (FOBAP) said that the garments’ industry need help from the government, especially in terms of subsidizing labor and power expenses, in order to bring down the cost of doing business in the country.
The FOBAP made the call after some Chinese firms expressed interest in setting up shop in the Philippines or partnering with local factories.
He is against the removal of the benefits of tax incentives in the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities (Trabaho) Bill. Instead, he suggested that more should be added to it such as subsidies for skills training, power, and labor enhancement since garments manufacturing is very labor-intensive.
Among the provisions of the Trabaho Bill is the option for up to 50 percent additional deduction in labor expense in case of an increase in direct employment.
A former sunrise industry
According to the Board of Investment of the Department of Trade and Industry, the textile and garment industry considered as a sunrise industry during the 90s and has been competitive in the export market.
However, the industry’s export performance dropped after the World Trade Organization abolished the textile quotas in 2005. Garment and textiles factories in the Philippines closed and downsized in response to the abolition of quotas.
William Ang of the Globe Textiles Industries, Corporation said that the Philippines can be the Paris of Asia but the country’s garment industry is receiving little to no support from the government.
FOBAP President Robert Young, on the other hand, said that the revival of the garments sector will enable it to penetrate more markets, especially the Southeast Asian market, aside from the United States.