House bill seeks to declare Philippine Arena a tourism enterprise

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone is seeking to pass a law that will declare the Philippine Arena of the Iglesia ni Cristo a tourism enterprise.
Evardone filed House Bill No. 4786 seeking to declare the world’s largest indoor arena as a tourism enterprise under existing laws, and to exempt it from the payment of application and similar fees and other requirements.

The lawmaker said he has filed House Bill 4786 mandating the Department of Tourism (DOT) in coordination with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to immediately take steps to facilitate and assist in the formulation and implementation of a tourism development plan.
Evardone, Vice-Chairperson of the Committees on Appropriations and Public Information, said the arena will not only hold major church gatherings, it will also operate as a multi-use sports and concert venue, capable of holding a range of events from boxing and basketball to live music performances.
He said the overall vision of the master plan would eventually see inclusion of shopping centers, a hospital and large-scale residential developments.

Evardone pointed out that a tourism enterprise is entitled to certain tax incentives, including payment of five percent of gross income in lieu of all national and local taxes and 100 percent Customs duty exemption for equipment importation.

Under current laws, fiscal incentives that may possibly be enjoyed by registered tourism enterprises include six-year income tax exemptions and/or holidays; net operating loss carry-over incentive; payment of five percent of the gross income taxation in lieu of all other national and local taxes, license fees, imposts and assessments; 100-percent tax and customs duties exemption from importation of capital investments and equipments; transportation equipment and spare parts tax and customs duties exemption; social responsibility incentive.

Evardone said non-fiscal incentives that may be enjoyed include employment of foreign national; special investor's resident visa incentive; foreign currency transactions incentives like repatriation of investments, remittance of foreign exchange, incentives involving foreign loans and contracts; non-requisition of investments; lease and ownership of land.

The Philippine Arena, which has been built on a 99,200 square meters of land and has a dome of 36,000 square metres is located at Ciudad de Victoria, a 140-hectare tourism enterprise zone in Bocaue and Santa Maria in Bulacan.

Designed by Australia-based Populous, the Philippine Arena has a seating capacity of over 55,000 people and is considered the largest indoor arena in the world.
The DOT is also directed to include the arena in its overall tourism master plan.
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