Press Release
July 26, 2019


In the government's push to implement the second tranche of its comprehensive tax reform program, Senator Sonny Angara advised the Department of Finance (DOF) to consult all of the stakeholders in crafting the final version of the bill that will be submitted to Congress.

President Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address last Monday, called on Congress to "immediately pass Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program or the TRABAHO bill."

The bill seeks to lower the corporate income tax and rationalize fiscal incentives, the proceeds of which, the President said, would augment the government's funds for its poverty-reduction programs.

Angara, who was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the 17th Congress, told the officials of the DOF, led by Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua, that the Department should exert all efforts to consult the various stakeholders in pushing for the TRABAHO bill "because there's a lot at stake."

"There are a lot of sensitivities there and it's not only jobs, it's also the reputation of the Philippines. So as companies are leaving China because the cost of labor is going up, and trying to diversify, we have to work to try to get on top of that because mababa po yung ating FDI, foreign direct investments, so mababa rin po yung trabaho rito sa atin although it's somewhat improving," Angara said.

"But manufacturing really needs a shot in the arm. And a lot of our manufacturing is in our ecozones so we have to be careful on how we tweak our incentives," Angara added.

In crafting the sunset provisions for the grant of fiscal incentives, Angara suggested that the DOF consider the "quality of investments" in its decision.

He said there are locators that may have millions of dollars invested in their operations in the country but "are not producing."

Angara explained that the investments the DOF should be targeting are those that "produce quality products that bring home Filipino employees from abroad."

"Yung mga naka-enjoy na ng incentives for over 30 years, puwede na sigurong pakawalan yun. Pero yung mga bagong pasok lang, and have made financial projections over the next few years, maybe they deserve a little leeway. Definitely the reputation of the Philippines as an investment destination is at stake there," Angara said.

Angara, who was elected chairman of the Committee on Finance for the 18th Congress, was keynote speaker at the Legislative Evaluation on Tax Reform event of the DOF held at the Senate yesterday.

Angara lauded the administration for taking the courageous step to overhaul the country's tax system after close to two decades.

He said that while there were a lot of sacrifices that had to be made in passing the first round of the tax reform program or the Tax Reform for Inclusion and Acceleration (TRAIN), the results are already being felt on the ground.

"The government has added funds for the Build, Build, Build program, added funds for increased spending on education, on health, and other worthy programs. It has increased the salaries of our soldiers and our policemen and soon will be increasing all of the salaries as mentioned by the President with the next round of the Salary Standardization Law or SSL," Angara said.

"It has started a virtuous cycle and to be fair, this virtuous cycle of fiscal discipline and fiscal management began even in previous administrations, except this administration has taken a very courageous step of actually really doing an ambitious overhaul of our tax system. I think it deserves credit for the courageous step. It takes a lot of political will," he added.

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