Press Release
April 16, 2010

New taxes are a last resort - Villar

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar declared that slapping new taxes to boost government revenues will only be a last resort under his presidency.

"There are measures that need to be drawn up first before we even talk about slapping new taxes. All of these things need to be studied to find out where we can improve and which policies will need to be streamlined or reformed," Villar said.

For starters, Villar vowed to implement a massive revenue collection improvement program to fuel an infrastructure investment binge.

"We will improve tax administration, simplify taxation for small businesses and the self-employed, and rationalize fiscal incentives," he said.

The NP standard-bearer is a passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, which he says is the key to the country's economic growth.

"The fiscal sector is deteriorating and is confronted by dilemmas rather than opportunities. We have a ballooning budget deficit which can be traced to poor revenue collections," Villar explained.

Earlier, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves warned that the next administration will need to prioritize tax reforms as he called for a higher value-added tax rate and lower corporate and income taxes.

Teves recommended that the next Congress approve bills rationalizing fiscal incentives, restructuring excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol products, and simplifying net income taxation.

But Villar cautioned against prematurely raising taxes and said a thorough assessment of the impact of tax reform measures on the poor must be prepared.

"We are ready to provide the mechanics for better tax administration and collection, anchored on increased efficiency on the part of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs, and streamlined special fiscal incentives," he said.

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