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One strong organization

Ed’s Note:This is the Opening Remarks delivered by Dr. Irineo “Bong” G. Alvaro, Jr. , Director, Clark Investors and Locators Association during the first General Membership Meeting of CILA for 2024.

Today marks a significant day as we gather for our first quarter GMM and induction of new officers. As we come together, we must remember the challenges we have faced as an organization and the dedication and perseverance our leaders have shown in overcoming them.

For almost 27 years, CILA has been at the forefront of investors and locators, providing services and shelter for every issue the organization is confronted with. Our leaders have displayed the qualities of true leaders with a genuine heart of service. Even though they are not compensated, our directors have always continued to support our members, especially during times of need.

However, our organization is currently facing a tough challenge brought about by the unending
changes in taxation laws that negatively affect members of the economic zones. The yearly
changes to the law are not only confusing but apparently turning the landscape into more of a
political battle than an economic one: from TRAIN 1 and TRAIN 2 laws in 2017 to the TRABAHO Bill in 2018 to CITIRA in 2020, to CREATE law in 2021.

Unfortunately, this CREATE law has caused us to suffer heavy lashes due to the IRR’s mismatch from the real intent of the law. It is unjustifiable for BIR to issue memos based not exactly on what the law provides but more on their interpretation and an ardent desire to collect more revenues from the creators of employment, such as the economic zones.

Moreover, the new proposal, the CREATE MORE, instead of just simplifying the honoring of the cross-border doctrine and respecting the Sunset provision in the Economic zones, it even endangers the promotion of competitiveness from our neighboring countries, additionally the new proposal may just prolong the agony of us all in getting what we deserve according to the law.

Despite these challenges, our leaders have never given up on fighting for our rights. Even though
most of the time they received the cold shoulders and ran around, they remained persistent and consistent in our positions. They have continued to work hard to rectify these issues from Clark’s grounds to the halls of Congress and up to the executive branch of government.

Although the battle is far from over, we are confident that our new leaders, who will be inducted today, will continue to exhibit perseverance and determination in fighting to discover resolutions from these issues.

Finally, we must remember that our leaders can only be as strong as the support we provide
them. CILA’s leadership only thrives when we unite as one strong organization. As Mahatma
Gandhi puts it, “Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking.” Let us come
together as one and intensify our passion and zeal to pursue our goals.

Therefore, I urge each of you to show your support to our new leaders and continue working
together in unity. Together, our passion will never wane, and their courage will never falter.
Together, we can overcome any challenges that come our way. Let us start this event with renewed vigor and determination to act as one in the midst of challenges and strain in front of us.