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Clark investors, biz leaders welcome Recto, Go appointments

Investors and locators in Clark as well as local business leaders are upbeat on the new members of the economic team under the Marcos Administration.

They welcome the appointment of former senator Ralph Recto as the new Finance Secretary and Robinsons Land Inc. President Frederick Go as Special Assistant to the President on Investments and Economic Affairs (SAPIEA).

Both Recto and Go took their Oath of Office a few days ago before President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

Romero: ‘Appointments reflect a balanced approach’

“These appointments reflect a balanced approach, combining Recto’s governmental and economic experience with Go’s business acumen, to steer the country towards economic progress,” said business leader Rene Romero in a text message.

Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) president Frankie Villanueva is pinning hopes that Go’s appointment would finally resolve the row on incentives in Clark Freeport.

Villanueva: ‘A little more optimistic’

“I am feeling a little more optimistic that the passage of an acceptable form, CREATE MORE, to address the plight of locators in Clark has a better chance of passage considering that Sec. Go has been one of the prime advocates in the government for the timely passage of CREATE MORE,” Villanueva said in a text message.

CILA has decried the premature removal of some incentives for investors due to the IRR of CREATE Act or Republic Act (RA) 11534 and the imposition of new tax schemes such as VAT.

CREATE MORE or House Bill 8968 is now pending in Congress.

For his part, Romero, a pillar of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAMCHAM), said that Go’s background in the business sector is expected to offer valuable insights to the President.

“His success in business and investments is anticipated to contribute significantly to shaping effective economic policies for the country,” Romero said.

Go has been cited by no less than President Marcos for his “wealth of experience.”

Villanueva recalled the role of Recto in the passage of the Freeport Law that prevented what could have been an exodus of investors in the early 2000s due to infirmities of previous laws that granted tax perks.

“Sec. Ralph Recto, during his term as a senator, was the sponsor for the passage of Republic Act 9400 that restored the fiscal perks of locators in Clark and RA 9399 that absolves locators of tax liabilities arising from a Supreme Court decision that declared fiscal perks of Clark locators as null and void for lack of express legislative grant,” Villanueva said.

On Senator Recto, Romero said that the former NEDA Secretary has “proven expertise in economics and finance… along with his reputation for competence, positions him well for the role of Secretary of Finance. His ability to handle complex economic matters is widely recognized.“

Go’s appointment as investments czar is expected to quell the fears of Clark’s 1,187 foreign and local enterprises that employ about 138,000 workers as of December 2023.