The 28th national CREBA convention in Cebu
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - October 9, 2019 - 12:00am

Today is the start of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association’s (CREBA) 28th annual and national convention from October 9 to 12. This annual convention is primarily designed to generate valuable business interactions and to deliberate on workable measures to address the country’s major real estate and housing concerns. It also aims to foster fellowship and networking among all industry stakeholders and members. They were also our special guests during yesterday’s 888 News Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza.

Call it timely that yesterday when I opened the business section of The Philippine STAR, I read the news that the country’s largest business group, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is coming up with recommendations to improve the ease of doing business in the country and rally support for the agricultural sector, as well as transportation and logistics.

As the report said, these recommendations will be submitted to President Duterte during the 45th Philippine Business Conference and Expo later this month. This makes me wonder what the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. is also doing to ease the burdens of Cebu-based businessmen.

Perhaps, Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella does not realize that our family’s company was checked for business permits for our two other buildings, which, in fairness to us, we really expected to happen. However, the City Hall people were now asking for business permits from our two other buildings which during the time of our previous, harsh mayor was never an issue that troubled us for a long time that we’ve been in business simply because we only have one corporation that operates other buildings that we lease to clients. So the big question is, why is this happening to us today?

At this point, I have already asked CREBA Cebu Chapter President Robert “Bobby” Pacaña to bring this issue to the attention of the CREBA Convention. Perhaps it is a matter of interpretation or misinterpretation, from the new Cebu City treasurer, but it certainly creates a new bureaucracy in getting business permits from Cebu City. I certainly hope that the metro cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, or Talisay don’t do these things to trouble their business enterprises.

Meanwhile on the issue of taxation, some PCCI members want more consultations on the implications of the proposed Comprehensive Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act, which seek to gradually reduce the corporate income tax rate to 20 percent from 30 percent, and bring in changes to the incentives system. All I can say is that why is it that every time there is a new kid on the political block, issues on building permits often change? In my book, these business practices should remain constant and not subject to change at the whims of the new people who are now in power. If we were not forced to get a business permit per building under our corporation before, why are we now being asked to get this?

* * *

It seems that the Department of National Defense, through Director Arsenio Andolong of the DND Public Affairs Service, has proposed to purchase two new aircraft for the use of the president, a Gulfstream G280 and an Airbus C295. As Director Andolong said, “The G280 will primarily serve as platform to carry our senior leaders and commanders in the event of, example, a crisis situation or in foreign trips within ASEAN. It can be used by the chief of staff, secretary of national defense, our major service commanders, and the president.”

In a DND press release dated October 2, 2019, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced that the Philippine Air Force has a contract through the United States government for a Gulfstream G280, including parts, tooling, and contractor logistics support. The aircraft will be configured for command and control missions and is slated for delivery in 2020.

The new aircraft can fly eight hours non-stop and can connect Dubai to Hong Kong, and Singapore to Melbourne or Dubai.

Director Andolong said the aircraft has the speed and capability to land on short runways, which cannot be done by other aircraft of the PAF. He said the existing C295 of the Air Force is not able to land on small runways. In my book, the DND needs to have its own such aircraft instead of borrowing private jets from our big-time billionaires, which for me is a no-no!

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