The Macroeconomy and Finance Committee (MFC) XI conducted its 2nd quarter CY 2021 meeting on June 3, 2021 via Zoom, which was presided by Regional Development Council (RDC) XI Private Sector Representative (PSR) for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and MFC XI Chairperson Atty. Samuel R. Matunog.

During the meeting, Mr. Simeon Marfori of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) presented to the Committee the recommended enhancements to Republic Act No. 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009. DCCCII recommended to revisit the Agri-Agra Law to address issues on lending to Smallholder Farmers and Fisherfolks (SFFs) such as collateral requirement and limited financial literacy. Acting Director Jane Gonzales of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Davao Region informed the Committee that House Bill 6134 was recently passed proposing enhancements to Agri-Agra Law. With this, the Committee agreed to gather relevant data and research for the recommended policy review of the Agri-Agra Law.

Meanwhile, Jose Recon S. Tano of the BSP presented to the Committee about the Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA), which is a voluntary retirement savings program for Filipinos. This program supplements the retirement benefits from the Social Security Services (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). Dir. Tano informed the committee that Filipinos as young as 18 years old and have a Tax Identification Number (TIN) are qualified to apply for the PERA program. The maximum annual contribution per individual is at PhP 100,000, while Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can contribute to a maximum of PhP 200,000. PERA also offer tax benefits to its contributors such as a 5 percent income tax incentive on the actual PERA contribution and tax exemption on the income earned from the investments. BSP is encouraging the Committee members to avail and inform other of the PERA program.

On the other hand, Director Gonzales of BSP Davao also requested the Committee to encourage small-scale miners in the Region to sell their gold produce to the BSP Davao Gold Buying Station to avail of the tax incentives offered by BSP’s Gold Buying Program.

Pamela N. Yparraguirre, NEDA XI