MANILA -- Finance Secretary Carlos said he is optimistic about the passage of the remaining tax reform measures because of the support of lawmakers and most Filipinos.

“The confidence level is very high,” he said in a panel discussion during the 2019 pre-SONA economic and infrastructure forum at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on Monday.

Tax reform measures that are still awaiting lawmakers’ approval include the cut in corporate income tax and fiscal incentives rationalization.

The Finance chief explained that, in the past, many lawmakers who supported tax reforms failed to get the people’s vote in their reelection bids as such measures are unpopular.

An example of this is former Senator Ralph Recto who authored the increase of value added tax (VAT) from 10 percent to 12 percent in 2001.

Dominguez, however, pointed out that times have changed since all those who supported the recent tax reform measure won in the May 2019 mid-term polls.

Among these lawmakers are Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, who sponsored the first package of tax reform, which eventually became known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

TRAIN reduced workers’ income tax rates and exempted those earning PHP250,000 and below annually from paying income tax.

Dominguez said Angara’s success in the recent polls show that voters recognize the importance of a tax reform measure if they see that they will benefit from it.

“I’m very confident that given the lessons in this last election where no one who supported the tax reform lost will resonate in the minds of the legislators,” he said.

“The message of the electorate is that if the tax reform is fair, and if the money is not stolen, and is used for their benefit—infrastructure and education— they will win,” he added. (PNA)