(Malacanang Palace)

(Malacanang Palace)

The government will give incentives to investors wanting to put their money in the Philippines as long as their businesses benefit the consumers and the economy as a whole, a Palace official said on Thursday.

Issues were raised after the Board of Investments (BOI) granted a six-year term tax incentives to a Thai company producing meat products. But the local hog and poultry industries complained that it negatively impacted on their businesses.

In a press conference at Malacanang on Thursday, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang said striking the balance between foreign investors’ interests and those of the local industries is the real challenge for the government.

“Exactly that’s the challenge—striking the balance. Certainly, no one will doubt that a large investment in our agricultural sector is something that we’re encouraging and it may or may not have negative effects on some of the players,” Carandang said.

“But in the end, if it leads to, first of all, better consumer prices, more stability, and a more reliable supply, and if it leads to more export earnings, then that’s something that we would weigh against the possible negative effects.”

Carandang also said that the fact that the BOI has issued the incentives to the Thai company means there has already been a process for weighing the positive and negative effects of its business.

Asked if the government is adopting similar policies of other countries, he said the premise is not really based on whether or not the Philippines is giving incentives but how to prioritize the grant of support.

Among the government’s priority areas include tourism, agriculture and infrastructure, he said.

“We have chosen these areas because these are areas where we believe that investments and jobs will do most to alleviate poverty. There are certain sectors kasi na ‘pag nag-invest ka diyan you won’t generate as many jobs as, say, other sectors,’” Carandang said.

“Agriculture is one sector where we feel that there’s a strong anti-poverty component so we’re encouraging that. It has nothing to do with whether or not other countries are granting similar incentives but it has everything to do with whether we want the economy to grow in a more inclusive way,” he added.