Developers of Vista Place Campus Tower 1 will not get fiscal and non-fiscal incentives even if the property and the land it stands on have been declared a Special Economic Zone by President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said.
Emmanuel Cortero of PEZA Ecozone Development Department issued the response when sought for comment as to why the PEZA Board of Directors recommended the declaration of Vista Place Campus Tower 1 and the land where it stands as Special Economic Zone by the President.
Cortero said the developer/owner of the Vista Place Campus Tower 1 — Vista Residences, Inc. (VRI) — applied for the declaration of Vista Place Campus Tower 1 as Special Economic Zone (IT Center) since it is intended to host PEZA-registered IT export service companies.
“VRI as developer/operator of the proposed economic zone being located inside Metro Manila is not entitled to any incentives, fiscal or non-fiscal,” Cortero said in an emailed statement sent to GMA News Online.
“Only those IT Export companies that will be located inside the proclaimed ecozone (IT Center) will be eligible for incentives subject to separate application and approval by the PEZA Board,” he added.
The developers of Vista Place Campus Tower 1 are led by former senator Manuel Villar Jr. whose son, Mark Villar, is a member of Duterte's Cabinet as secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways. The former senator's wife is incumbent Senator Cynthia Villar.
VRI is one of the wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. (VLL Inc.) headed by President and Chief Executive Manuel Paolo Villar, also a son of Villar, who sits as chairman of the VLL Board of Directors.
Cortero, in his statement, said the VRI's application for the declaration of its Vista Place Campus Tower 1 -- located along C5 Road and Levi Mariano Avenue, Barangay Ususan, Taguig City -- as a Special Economic Zone (IT Center) was evaluated by PEZA “in accordance with Section 6 of Republic Act 7916 as amended or the PEZA Law and the requirements provided under Section 3 Rule IV of the Rules and Regulations implementing R.A. No. 7916, as amended, and by PEZA Board Resolution No. 00-411 dated December 29, 2000, as amended by Resolutions Nos. 11-066 dated February 17, 2011, 15-240 dated May 13, 2015 and 17-472 dated August 24, 2017.”
“On the basis of the said evaluation, the PEZA Board, under Resolution No. 17-176 dated April 6, 2017, approved the aforesaid application of VRI,” Cortero said.
Based on Cortero's narration of events, the PEZA Board approved VRI’s application in April 2017, a date ahead of the issuance of PEZA Board Resolution 17-472 dated August 24, 2017, which amended PEZA’s December 2000 Resolution “to include the land where an IT building is situated or to be located (plot area) in the coverage of the Presidential Proclamation.”
PEZA Board Resolution 17-472 dated August 24, 2017 was one of the documents cited by Cortero as basis for granting VRI’s application for its Vista Place Campus Tower as Special Economic Zone in April 2017.
PEZA endorsed VRI’s application to the Office of the President in May 2018 or nine months after the PEZA Board issued the Resolution including the land “where an IT building is situated or to be located (plot area) in the coverage of the Presidential Proclamation.”
“Upon compliance of VRI of all documentary requirements for the issuance for the necessary Presidential Proclamation, PEZA, on May 10, 2018, endorsed such project to the Office of the President through the Department of Trade and Industry for the issuance of such proclamation,” Cortero said.
Duterte has declared the 24,845-square meter Vista Place Campus Tower 1 and the land on which it stands on as a Special Economic Zone as an information technology center last February 18.
The Special Economic Zone Act, enacted in 1995, defines a special economic zone or ecozones as “selected areas with highly developed or which have the potential to be developed into agro-industrial, industrial, tourist/recreational, commercial, banking, investment and financial centers.” —KBK, GMA News