House urges Duterte to exempt BIMP-EAGA from travel tax

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives has adopted a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to grant travel tax exemptions to passengers traveling from Mindanao and Palawan to any destination within BIMP-EAGA.

BIMP-EAGA refers to the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area. This is a subregional economic cooperation initiative by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

House Resolution 1463 seeks to grant the travel tax exemption "to help enhance trade, tourism, and investments in the said area," a December 22 statement from the House of Representatives said.

The House resolution noted that revenue losses from the proposed travel tax exemptions can be compensated by "the projected economic and social gains to Mindanao and Palawan, and the country as a whole."

According to members of the Lower House, the collection of travel tax "runs counter to the sub-regional objective of promoting the connectivity and accessibility of EAGA focus areas as well as facilitating freer movement of people, goods, and services."

The House resolution said providing necessary incentives, such as travel tax exemptions, will help the government capture the interest of travel service providers to invest in Philippines-EAGA routes.

Sponsors of the adopted House resolution include House committee on tourism chairperson Lucy Gomez, as well as Representatives Mercedes Cagas, Gil Acosta, Frederick Siao, Glona Labadlabad, Maria Lucille Nava, and Makmod Mending Jr.

In 1994 and 1995, former president Fidel Ramos issued memorandum orders granting travel tax exemptions to passengers traveling from Mindanao and Palawan to any destination within the BIMP-EAGA. –

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.