Do not block tax reforms, Duterte says

By Leslie Gatpolintan

July 23, 2018, 8:59 pm

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said his administration’s tax reform program should be implemented to achieve sustainable growth, as he urged Congress to immediately pass its second package seeking to lower the corporate income tax and creating millions of jobs for more Filipinos.

“Some have incorrectly blamed our efforts toward a fairer tax system for all the price increases in the past months, and some irresponsibly suggesting to stop TRAIN’s implementation. We cannot and should not. We need this for sustainable growth that leaves no Filipino left behind,” the President said during his third State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) delivered before Congress.

President Duterte pointed out that the timely passage of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) by Congress has made funds available to build better roads and bridges, improve health and education, and strengthen the country’s safety and security.

The Chief Executive said the second package of the TRAIN will lower income taxes, especially for small businesses.

“Lower taxes mean they will have more money to invest and create more jobs. More than 99 percent of our businesses are micro, small, or medium enterprises (MSME) and employ around 65 percent of our workers. The enactment of the Package 2 is what stands between today and millions of jobs in the near future,” he said.

President Duterte expressed hope that Senate will immediately follow suit after Congress filed its versions of Package 2 last March.

“This matter is urgent. Do not be part of the problem by ignoring it. I hope to sign Package 2 before the year ends. I urge Congress to pass it in a form that satisfies our goals and serves the interests of the many, not just the wealthy few,” he said.

The President is also optimistic that all five packages of his administration’s tax reform would have been submitted to Congress by the end of this month.

Apart from TRAIN, rice tariffication and Package 2, President Duterte said these include the mining, alcohol, and tobacco tax increase, reform in property valuation, reform in capital income and financial taxes, and an amnesty program.

"I urge Congress to take them seriously and pass them in succession, for there is no chance that we can deliver our promises without an equitable tax system,” he added. (PNA)