Press Release
December 20, 2017

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

Q: On the BBL hearing

SFMD: So far from what I have seen, they seem to have addressed and they were conscious of these constitutional limitations. We'll see how it will actually be framed in the draft law. I haven't read it in detail but from the presentation, I would appear that they were conscious of the limitations under the 1987 constitution.

Q: It would be easier to deliberate on BBL?

SFMD: My initial observation is they have addressed it. We will rise above political partisanship in order to support this measure, because we believe we need the Bangsamoro Basic Law to provide stability. Para po ito magkaroon ng stability at kapayapaan sa Mindanao, kailangan natin ng isang BBL na tanggap ng lahat at kailangan natin. Kami bilang oposisyon ay makikipag-cooperate and we will rise above partisan politics in order to pass this measure.

I want to examine first in detailed the proposed BBL. I want to examine everything.

Q: Sa Christmas truce lang with the NPA?

SFMD: We support the Christmas truce. But I hope that there'll be more consistency...(inaudible).

That's why we need a little more consistency. There should be some more clear signals.

Q: Do you have concerns about the entry of China telecom?

SFMD: We need competition. But we should be conscious that we should make sure that our national security is addressed carefully. The issue on national security should be carefully addressed.

Q: You are calling for the review of the business tax incentives?

SFMD: The President just signed the TRAIN. It cannot be denied that there are additional burdens to the people, particularly the increase in the fuel price. I voted for the bill. I had reservations but in general, I said this could do us well. But having said that, I urge the administration to exercise the political will that the President showed when he forced a businessman to pay the airport dues due to the government; when the President was able to collect P25 billion from a cigarette company for the unpaid taxes. I would like to see the same political will in pushing Congress to pass the rationalization of fiscal incentives. This rationalization has been tried for several congresses already but because of the very strong lobby, it has not been enacted. There are over 180 laws that grant various income incentives to companies. The rationalization of these incentives has always been resisted. The best that we could go in the last congress was the TIMT A law, which requires transparency in incentive-granting agencies. We require the companies, to which incentives were given, to submit to the board of investment and the department of finance the incentives that they receive, the benefits the public gets out of these incentives. We now have this baseline. Magkano ba talaga ang nawawala sa kaban ng bayan dahil sa mga insentibo na binibigay sa kumpayan we are not opposed to this but it must be commensurate to the benefits the public gets out of these incentives. On the basis of the data on the basis of the TIMTA, we should now be able to rationalize these tax incentives so that only those really serve the purpose by which the incentives were granted will continue. Hindi po yung patung-patong yung mga incentives to the prejudice of the national treasury.

Q: May estimates magkano ang nawawala sa gobyerno?

SFMD: Noon the estimate was around P30 billion.

Q: Yung sa China, national security problem ba siya?

SFMD: I'm not saying it's a problem. I'm just saying that it should be addressed.

Q: Do you agree na best Christmas gift ng Presidente yung TRAIN?

SFMD: I do not know. You ask the ordinary folks, yung mga nangingisda, yung mga bumibili ng diesel, yung namamasahe dahil posibleng tumaas ang pamasahe, hindi ko alam kung sasangy-ayon sila. But maybe in the long run this could be beneficial to the country.

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