55 IT-BPM firms enlist for full WFH arrangement with BOI

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The Board of Investments (BOI) is currently processing 55 projects under the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector that have registered with BOI to adopt up to 100 percent work-from-home (WFH) arrangement.

“As of November 17,2022, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) has endorsed for registration with BOI 163 projects under the IT-BPM sector with a total investment of P13.9 billion,” the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a news statement issued on Monday.

However, the DTI, as BOI’s mother agency, revealed that of the 163 projects, the BOI is currently processing only 55 projects, which it said, have already paid the administrative fee.

The DTI said Registered Business Enterprises (RBEs) that can exercise the option to register with BOI are: RBEs that have remaining tax incentives under Section 311 of Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law; and RBEs with approved incentives on or before September 14, under the CREATE law with the concerned investment promotion agency (IPA), particularly those currently registered with Peza, that intend to register with the BOI.

Pursuant to the DTI Memorandum Circular No. 22-19, supported by the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB), which was issued last October 18, the RBEs have until December 31,2022 to exercise the option to register with BOI.

However, those who did not exercise the option shall no longer be allowed to register and shall be covered by Section 309 of CREATE.

Section 309 of Republic Act No. 11534 or CREATE law states: “A qualified registered project or activity under an Investment Promotion Agency administering an economic zone or freeport shall be exclusively conducted or operated within the geographical boundaries of the zone or free port being administered by the Investment Promotion Agency in which the project or activity is registered.”

IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President Jack Madrid said last June that the continued study and eventual amendment of Section 309 of CREATE can better address the long-term implementation of the work from home (WFH) or hybrid work.

Section 309 applies to RBEs registered with Peza. Meanwhile, the BOI is the only IPA not affected by the boundary constraints or zone limits.

Within 30 days from the issuance of the BOI Certificate of Registration, the DTI said covered RBEs shall submit to the concerned IPA the following: list of equipment and/or other assets brought out of the economic or Freeport zones, including the number of laptops, desktops, or other assets; acquisition cost, book value, and year of acquisition of the equipment and other assets; and the total number of employees and number of employees under the WFH arrangement.

While some RBEs have availed of the paper transfer registration from Peza to BOI, the Peza noted in October that it would retain the monitoring and reporting of the subject locators’ performance and for other compliance requirements.

“As these covered RBEs will not cancel their registration with Peza, the agency will be kept whole with its investment facilitation and revenue generation functions,” Peza said in a news statement issued last month.