Senate ways and means panel holds first hearing

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Pia S. Cayetano is set to lead the body’s organizational meeting on Thursday (August 15) to discuss an overview of the government’s tax reform measures.

The meeting will focus on the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), a primary component of the Duterte government’s strategy to achieve its growth targets under AmBisyon 2040, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Resource persons from different government agencies were invited, including officials from the Department of Finance (DOF); Department of Budget and Management (DBM); Department of Health (DOH); Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR);

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA); Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); Bureau of Customs (BOC); Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF); National Tax Research Center (NTRC); Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB); and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). 

The department officials are expected to discuss President Rodrigo Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda, in relation to pursuing the remaining tax reforms under CTRP, following the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law in 2017.

The remaining packages include the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) bill, also known as Package 2, which seeks to lower the corporate income tax (CIT) and rationalize the tax incentives given to businesses in the country.

An additional component of the second package is the Sin Tax Reform bill (Package 2+), which seeks to impose higher excise taxes on alcohol products and e-cigarettes. 

Cayetano said Package 2+ is an important health measure that will not only discourage the consumption of unhealthy products among Filipinos, but will also help fund the government’s Universal Health Care (UHC) Program.

The other CTRP proposals will also be generally discussed during the hearing, which include reforming the property valuation system (Package 3); and rationalizing capital income taxation (Package 4).

Furthermore, Cayetano said she will ask officials of the executive department to provide updates on the TRAIN Law to assess whether it has achieved its purpose of funding the government’s social services and infrastructure programs for the benefit of the poor. #

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Senator Pia S. Cayetano

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