February 2021

EY hosts ASEAN Tax Webcast Series   On 5-6 May, EY hosted an ASEAN Tax Webcast Series that provided participants with tax, finance and legal insights to help them understand the tax implications, risks and opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The first webcast of the series discussed the specific COVID-19 related challenges affecting the tax functions in ASEAN markets. Speakers then presented a case study to examine common tax and business issues affecting organizations with regional operations. Speakers included CCO, EY ASEAN and Malaysia Tax Leader Amarjeet Singh, and EY Tax Partners Sockalingam Murugesan, Chester Wee, Nick Muhlemann, Tracey Kuuskoski and Su San Leong.     FKS and CCO presenting at the ASEAN Tax Webcast  In the second webcast, the speakers discussed stimulus measures and other changes introduced by governments across ASEAN to alleviate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 disruptions. They shared strategies to help participants navigate key government measures and implications for companies with regional operations; manage increasingly complex tax compliance obligations amidst new policy changes and leverage government support for businesses; and manage payroll issues arising from the disruption. Speakers included FKS, EY ASEAN Global Compliance and Reporting Leader Julian Wong, and EY Tax Partners Nathanael Albert, Farah Rosley and Chai Wai Fook. 
SGV and the Davao City Government launched the Doing Business in Davao investment brochure last 29 January. Developed by SGV in close collaboration with the Davao City Investment Promotion Center (DCIPC), the brochure is a comprehensive guide for potential foreign and local investors looking to set up business operations in Davao City. DCIPC Head April Marie Dayap welcomed guests to the virtual launch, including officials from national government agencies, the diplomatic corps and chambers of commerce, and business organizations. SGV Davao Partner-In-Charge Jose Raoul J. Balisalisa (JJB) discussed the history of the Doing Business in the Philippines series and presented an overview of the major sections and highlights of the Doing Business in Davao brochure. SGV Chairman and Country Managing Partner Wilson P. Tan (WPT) delivered a message about how Davao City is an ideal business hub and center of growth. He also shared that he hopes the brochure will encourage more investors to explore business opportunities in the city. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte thanked SGV for its valuable and continuous support over the years. The Firm has assisted in amending the Davao City investment incentive code in 2007, developing the first edition of the brochure in 2011, and facilitating a conference on the development of the city’s economic outlook document in the last quarter of 2020. With the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Mayor Duterte mentioned that the timely publication of the brochure will help rebuild and create a more promising future for the city. Doing Business in Davao is the latest edition of SGV’s Doing Business in the Philippines series. The brochure presents an economic overview of Davao, taxation rules, investment policies, incentives for investors and essential information on the city’s assets. The brochure is set to be translated into three languages. 
SGV Chairman and Country Managing Partner Wilson P. Tan (WPT) was re-elected as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) during the PBSP Annual Membership Meeting last 26 January. Tax Partner and PBSP Visayas Regional Committee Member Cheryl C. Ong (CCO) led the opening prayer; and Tax Partner, SGV General Counsel and PBSP Corporate Secretary Carolina A. Racelis (CAR) participated and acted as the secretary for the meeting. As longtime members of the PBSP, WPT, CAR and CCO will continue to support the PBSP in its vision to lead the business sector’s efforts to reduce poverty in the country. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, PBSP is the largest business-led non-governmental organization (NGO) at the forefront of strategic corporate citizenship and business sector leadership, contributing to sustainable development and poverty reduction. Congratulations, WPT! 
SGV’s Government and Public Sector (GPS) Team and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) held a forum on unlocking the potential of financial technology and innovations in advancing agricultural development in the Philippines last 29 January. The forum featured sessions on financial systems and FinTech applications in agriculture of major financial and government institutions. SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio welcomed participants from financial institutions, government agencies, farmer associations and cooperatives, NGOs, and the agricultural industry and academe. SGV FSO Consulting Partner and GPS Leader Christian G. Lauron (CGL) discussed financial services challenges and opportunities in agriculture, emphasizing the importance of smallholder access to financial services. He described technological innovations in agriculture and credit risk assessments for agricultural value chains. He also spoke on how machine learning and spatial techniques and satellite imaging can be embedded for agricultural credit granting and investing. FSO Consulting Associate Director Larisa Jane Salaysay led a discussion on green financing and provided an overview of the ASEAN green bond market. She explained the Philippine landscape for green financing and the role of FinTech in green finance. FSO Consulting Senior Director Christian Edmund Chua then discussed blockchain technology and how it can help drive the agenda of the agricultural sector, increase efficiency and support digital transformation. He also spoke on the challenges in implementing blockchain applications.  The discussions were followed by an open forum moderated by FSO Consulting Associate Director Paul John Gesta. Other speakers at the webinar included Land Bank President and CEO Cecilia Borromeo who gave an overview of the Philippine agricultural financial system, and DOST Supervising Science Research Specialist Roel de la Cruz who discussed the different space technologies for mapping and monitoring of agricultural areas. SEARCA’s Operations Consultant and UP Los Baños Associate Professor Dr. Rico Ancog delivered the closing remarks and discussed the ongoing digital divide and the importance of finding financial systems and solutions to improve access to capital, information systems and cost efficiency of supply chains.
The EY Ripples Team in SGV held two mentoring sessions last 8 and 29 January through the JA Business Skills Pass program. Co-organized with Junior Achievement Philippines (JAPI), the program allows senior high school students (Grades 11-12) to create registered mini companies, and gives SGV volunteers the opportunity to mentor them by providing insights on accounting, raising capital, marketing and selling their products. Volunteer mentors included Assurance Leader Martin Guantes, Consulting Leader Rossana Fajardo, Assurance Partners Christine Vallejo and Shane Tanguin, FSO Partner Veronica Balisi, and Consulting Partner Allan W. Ocho (AWO). In the second session, AWO and Consulting Senior Associate Cora Gonzales led a plenary session on the role of technology in business enterprises. The plenary session was followed by breakout sessions where the students presented their business plans, and the mentors provided feedback and insights for the success of their businesses. Once their business plans are established, the students will sell their products in an online marketplace managed by JA and compete for the title of Best Company. Two group winners will then represent the country to compete in the Asia Pacific finals for the JA Asia Pacific Company of the Year Award. EY Ripples is a global corporate responsibility program that provides EY professionals with opportunities to use their knowledge, skills and experience to positively impact millions of lives by working with impact entrepreneurs and supporting the next generation to develop the mindsets and skills to find and sustain meaningful work.
Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and SGV Senior Adviser Ambassador Delia D. Albert (DDA) was among the speakers at the Southeast Asia Women’s Watch (SEAWWatch) Beijing on my mind series: Breaking the Glass Ceiling - Watch Out for the Broken Glass last 28 January. The webinar focused on the Beijing platform for Action, a critical area for women in power and decision-making. Speakers discussed female representation in public leadership and the difficulties women face at various stages of their careers. DDA spoke on her experience as a career diplomat who broke the glass ceiling  as the first woman Secretary (Minister) of Foreign Affairs in Southeast Asia and the challenges women face in foreign service. She emphasized that men and women should progress together as gender equality is not a zero-sum game.
SGV Davao Partner-In-Charge Jose Raoul J. Balisalisa (JJB) and Tax Partners Thyrza F. Marbas (TFM) and Saha A. Bulagsak (SAB) led a webinar titled Navigating BIR Audit Amidst Pandemic with Updates on 11 February for members of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) Mindanao. JJB welcomed participants to the webinar, emphasizing the importance of tax compliance during the pandemic. TFM discussed the BIR audit program and the tax audit process, particularly latest tax practices and guidelines that may impact key business functions. She also shared insights on how taxpayers can better prepare for a BIR audit by leveraging on innovative solutions and practical methods. SAB then provided updates on recent BIR developments and releases. The webinar concluded with a Q&A portion led by the speakers and Market Group 4 Leader Carolina A. Racelis (CAR).
SGV Tax Leader Fame K. delos Santos (FKS), Tax Partner and PICPA Southern Metro Manila Chapter President Maricris U. See (MUS), and Consulting Partner Kaye S. Macaisa-Peña (KSM) were among the speakers at the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) 2nd National Summit of CPAs in Commerce & Industry last 28-29 January. Held in partnership with the Association of Certified Public Accountants in Commerce and Industry (ACPACI), the summit aimed to discuss strengthening accountancy’s commerce and industry sector for future challenges. MUS served as the emcee during the summit’s first day. FKS discussed the salient features of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill and its proposed tax and fiscal incentives. He also shared insights on how to maximize the incentives under the bill. He then discussed the BIR requirements for the submission of an Information Return on Related Party Transactions (BIR Form No. 1709). KSM moderated the session titled “The Role of Finance in Navigating Through a Crisis, and Beyond” on 29 January. Other speakers at the session included executives from the food and capital markets sectors.