FIRB upholds non-extension of WFH scheme for IT-BPM enterprises, moratorium on new ecozones in Metro Manila

In sync with the government’s strategy to safely reopen the economy and stimulate business revival in the country, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has upheld FIRB Resolution No. 19-21, allowing the work-from-home (WFH) arrangement not exceeding 90 percent of the total workforce of registered Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) enterprises only till March 31.

“The WFH arrangement is only a time-bound temporary measure adopted during the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the increasing vaccination rate of Filipinos nationwide, we can now undertake safe measures for physical reporting of employees, including those working in the IT-BPM firms operating within ecozones and freeports,” Finance Secretary and FIRB Chairman Carlos Dominguez III said during the recent FIRB meeting.

“The employees’ return to the office would provide more opportunities and pave the way for the recovery of local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that depend on IT-BPM employees for their livelihood,” he added.

The decision of the Cabinet-level interagency board to stand by the FIRB Resolution No. 19-21 denies the request of certain groups to implement extensions to the adoption of the WFH arrangement for the IT-BPM sector until after March 2022.

The FIRB meeting was held last Feb. 21.

Meanwhile, the FIRB also disapproved the request for the lifting of the moratorium on ecozone development in Metro Manila.

The Board stood firm on the Duterte administration’s thrust to increase investments outside Metro Manila, and emphasized that Administrative Order (AO) No. 18 still complements the government’s strategies and policies on rural development, aligned with the objectives of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.