CEZA Remits P241M to PH Gov’t in 2016

By Raymon Dullana (The Northern Forum) August 4, 2017

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) remitted P241 million of dividend payment to the national government in 2016, officials said.

In a press release, CEZA spokesperson Joyce Calimag said the amount represented the 50% percent of its 2016 income, a percentage required for government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to remit to the National Treasury.

Calimag said the 2016 remittance is 2.6 per cent higher than its 2015 remittance, or P6 million higher than 2015’s P234.296 million.

For this remittance, CEZA placed 11th out of the 20 state corporations and financial institutions in the Philippines that remitted so far this year.

Since 2005, the 22-year old economic zone had remitted over P1.4 billion to the government coffers.

CEZA said around P816 million of the agency’s income tax went to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and about P612 million in dividends went to the national treasury.

CEZA was first established in 1995 through the enactment of the Republic Act 7922 or the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Act of 1995, authored by former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

‘Success’

Now former CEZA administrator and chief executive officer (CEO) Jose Mari Ponce said the remittance is another “milestone” for the agency as it showed its success for the past several years.

“Our remittance to the National Treasury marks another milestone for CEZA because it reveals success in our journey despite the trials that have come along the way. We are not just surviving but earning and, for that, contributing significantly to the national coffers,” Ponce said.

“CEZA has become a consistent remitter to the national coffer with over P816 million worth of total remittances in dividends,” he added.

Earlier, Ponce also admitted that the past years have been “challenging” for CEZA as it was faced with controversial issues.

One of the biggest controversies the agency is facing right is the alleged overpriced breakwater in Port Irene. The same breakwater made headlines in 2014 after Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago ordered the Department of Justice to look into the involvement of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile for its alleged overpriced cost.

The breakwater, which runs in 1-kilometer stretch, cost the government more than P5 billion.

The import of cars and the shipping of blacksand mining were among the controversial issues the freeport faced.

Ponce was also once accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of receiving P300 billion kickbacks from the gaming industry. Ponce had since denied the allegations.

“The past couple of years have been a challenging time for CEZA as it faced major challenges that brought a dramatic decrease in its income but the organization’s resilience, flexibility and the management’s responsive rebranding strategy have collectively contributed to the ecozone’s positive performance,” Ponce said. Northernforum.net