Press Release
August 16, 2022

Highlights of Senator Pia S Cayetano's manifestations
Senate Committee on Ways and Means hearing

On CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act)

I wonder if it would be beneficial for us [senators] to have maybe even just a briefing, not a hearing [on CREATE] to include the members of the economic team? We passed CREATE in 2021, and there were high hopes to bring in new businesses. So if we could, it's just a suggestion that we could get a briefing with the whole team, so we can look at the whole picture

As the author and sponsor of CREATE, which you all know, was highly, highly debated, when I read things in the news [calling for its amendment], it's a bit disturbing, [because] we want to give it a chance to work, obviously, right? And it can only work, obviously, in principle, if we put what we thought were the pillars of the tools that are needed. But we also want to give it a chance to work. So the briefing will help us defend this further, or if it comes from the secretaries themselves that we need some amendments, then we're also here to listen to them.

On the POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations) Tax Law

I have the same question about the POGO Tax Law, and I do understand that [target revenues] probably were not met because of COVID-19, but I also heard reports that there were businesses coming in. So same question with Sen. Nancy [Binay], if there's nothing beyond that, then let's just be updated, maybe even quarterly, send us a report so that we know.

And then on CREATE, and this question again might be better addressed by the economic team when we do have a briefing with all of them. I really wanted to know if there are any efforts to target any industries, because that's what we talked about. We talked about having a base for manufacturing that works both ways: it brings in income [and] creates a lot of jobs.

But on the other hand, we also talked about incentivizing innovation, innovative products, especially during this pandemic. Again, it was revealed that we could do well if we focused on science and technology, research and development, and so on and so forth. So I don't know if this team can provide this answer, but that's why I think the briefing with the whole economic team will be very important.

On 'ukay-ukay' businesses

As I was just saying about the 'ukay-ukay' [used clothing resale businesses], I agree that it's time to revisit that policy. But as your Chairman of the Committee on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), Innovation, and Futures Thinking, I'd like to point out two things.

On one side, it addresses SDG 8, which is Decent Work. Madaming nabubuhay sa pagbebenta ng ukay-ukay and it ends up being a product very useful to a lot of people. Secondly, it is really responsible consumption, that's SDG 12, because instead of producing new products, we are able to reuse these products. And it's actually a thing now, even social media influencers, they are very into 'pre-loved.' They sell their pre-loved items and a lot of people buy them. My kids love pre-loved items. So that's the plus side.

On the downside, I've seen a documentary where these ukay-ukay products are literally clogging rivers in some African countries. It's really bad because parang nahahalo diyan sa ukay-ukay, some are usable, and some are just really garbage, not usable at all, so they end up clogging the rivers. So on that note, I support the call for [the Chair] revisiting, but we really have to have a full-blown hearing on this.

And maganda rin ang sinabi niyo Mr. Chairman na from your experience, these are vendors who actually pay for their permits to sell, even right in front of city hall, and the plazas, and all that. So it's a valid concern that we really need to look into.

On exempting medical equipment from taxes

The other thing I wanted to mention from a sustainable and comprehensive outlook is [tax exemption for medical equipment]. I know that as a general rule, DOF is against exemptions. I understand that, I chaired the committee [on Ways and Means in the 18th Congress], so I understand. But what I would like to ask [Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno] and the team is, can we get your quick opinion, but can we also be assured that the department is looking at these issues holistically?

I'll give a specific example, the President, in his SONA (State of the Nation Address) included the need for specialty hospitals in other parts of the country. And I support that, I have a bill on that. But the most efficient way to do that is to attach the speciality services to existing regional hospitals instead of building new ones.

But on that note, on the tax issue, my question is, would the department be at least willing to consider limited time for a tax-free, duty-free, VAT-free importation of medical equipment? Because we cannot put up these specialty hospitals without these specialty equipment.

[Note: responding to Sen. Cayetano, DOF Sec. Diokno commits to study the proposal]

That was short, but good enough for now, because I do know the previous positions of DOF, not just in the past administration, but in general. But the point, Secretary, is I'd like the assurance that your team will always look into the comprehensive impact of these things. I am not one to just recommend an exemption, having been the Chairman. But I also want all the departments to work together for a comprehensive and consistent program. Actually, just to expand that, I used the example of specialty hospitals, but any health advocate will agree that the most important aspect we should focus on is basic healthcare. Although I used the example of the President's SONA mentioning specialty hospitals, therefore, I linked it to the specialty equipment, the most basic are still the most important, like x-ray machines, etc.

On Sin Taxes

My last question is with regards to Sin Tax. I just wanted to know because I think I read something in the early days of the Secretary's appointment that they will be reviewing Sin Tax rates? Tama ba? And I just wanna know, for any of the sin products, is this being reviewed? No changes for now, or what?

That's it for now. Thank you.

News Latest News Feed