22 March 2017
VP Leni supports Duterte’s tax reform
Vice President Leni Robredo says she supports the Duterte administration’s tax reform program, despite being criticized and being threatened by President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
In a forum in Naga City on 18 March 2017, Vice President Leni Robredo encouraged her constituents in Naga City and Camarines Sur to be actively involved in the shaping of the comprehensive tax reform legislation, considering that said reform is one of the crucial and urgent measures.
“It’s important for us to have this discussion especially among this mix of business groups and civil society. I’m very thankful that we have DOF here to discuss this reform. We have invited them here to address any questions that you may have on their proposal. I believe that it is essential for the people to better understand the tax reform package because once we do, it will be easier to give one hundred percent support both for the passage of the bill and its implementation. Rest assured you can depend on our support,” according to Vice President Robredo.
Action for Economic Reforms (AER) organized the forum in Naga City to reach out to the stakeholders in Bicol and provide the Department of Finance with a venue to explain the merits and discuss the challenges of the tax reform program.
“We welcome this effort from the Vice President to open the discussion in Naga on this very important reform that will help the Duterte administration fund its ambitious agenda to sustain the high-growth momentum, dramatically cut poverty and transform the country into a high middle-income economy by 2022,” added DOF Assistant Secretary Teresa Habitan.
Jo-Ann L. Diosana, AER Senior Economist said the forum facilitated by VP Robredo is an opportunity to show the joint commitment of civil society, the private sector  and government in securing a fair, equitable, progressive and efficient tax system through legislation.
The comprehensive tax reform package consists of several packages. Package 1 consists of 1) the reduction of personal income tax rates to 25 percent and below, except for the richest one percent of the population while exempting close to three-fourths of the population from paying income tax; 2) the increase in the excise tax of petroleum products to adjust for inflation, which has not been done since 1997; 3) the expansion of the value-added tax base to remove loopholes and increase efficiency; and 4) an increase in the excise tax for automobiles, used by the richest 10 percent of the population.
“We hope our political leaders will listen. This is good politics, given that the people will see the gains from tax relief and increased spending for infrastructure, education and health,” Diosana added. (END)