Vice President Jejomar Binay said his first task as a president if he wins in next year’s election will be to give tax relief to Filipinos.
He vowed to revise tax rates to account for inflation rates, resolve the infrastructure gap, and address poverty.
“(Tax relief) will restore purchasing power to the working class and expand demand in the local economy. This will reduce pressure for raising wages that will make the entire economy uncompetitive,” he said at the 41st Philippine Business Conference and Expo held Monday in Pasay City.
“The corporate tax rate should likewise be reduced to be at par with the rest of the region. This, by far, will serve as the best incentive for investments in our economy. The increased investments will offset the initial loss in revenue,” he added.
Binay said the adjustment in individual tax rates and reduction of excessive corporate tax rates will not amount to half the potential revenues lost to rampant smuggling. It is also just a pittance compared to the more than P500 billion underspent funds in state coffers.
He also vowed to give priority to a massive infrastructure program, particularly the building of efficient transport systems.
“We need a comprehensive national transport system, including modern ports, airports and rail systems to move products cheaply and disperse economic activity. We need a more modern road system delivering farm products to the markets more efficiently. It will enable our companies to operate more efficiently to compete in an open regional market. It will unlock the potential of our agricultural sector and help bring down our excessively high food price regime. That will create jobs and reduce poverty,” he added.
“This will increase the competitiveness of Filipino businesses. It will ease the traffic congestion that wastes billions in economic potential each day. It will revive our exports. It will resurrect our agriculture. It will create more jobs and disperse economic activity.”
“Our platform of government shall address the concerns and harness the strengths of all stakeholders, including the business sector, our partner in nation building. Notwithstanding, there are more ideas I wish to bring to you for improving our business environment and making private investments the spear point of our people’s progress,” he told businessmen that included some big names in the industry.
Binay lamented that President Benigno Aquino 3rd delivered little from his many promises because his administration failed to boost the agriculture, infrastructure, food security, transportation, and tourism sectors.
“The Philippine economy, over the past few years, has been a paradox. We have posted a rather respectable GDP growth rate but our poverty rate has worsened rather than improved. We have experienced a property boom, but the housing backlog worsened. Some of our best companies generated good profit, but local business conditions did not lead to a healthy reinvested rate. To the contrary, our best companies decided to invest abroad,” he said. “The key to explaining the paradox afflicting our economy is ineffective and incompetent government.”
One of the failures of the Aquino regime, he said, is the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) program because most of the infrastructure projects under this scheme remain on the drawing board. He pointed out that only one project will be completed before Aquino steps down – the four-kilometer Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX).
Donald Dee, the chief operating officer of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said their group was generally pleased with Binay’s aspirations for the country.
“He seems to be very clear with what he will do. He has covered most of the area (that we are concerned about),” Dee said.