Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd sees the Department of Finance (DoF) playing a central role in a “revolutionary” period of growth for the Philippine economy as he renewed his call for the swift passage in Congress of the pending tax reform bill.
In his speech before employees of the DoF during its 120th anniversary rites on Monday, Dominguez stressed the need for rapid modernization of the country’s infrastructure and the simultaneous overhaul of tax policies to attain true economic liberation for Filipinos,
The Finance secretary made a fresh call on Congress to pass the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) to ensure a “robust and recurrent” revenue stream that will let the government “stimulate the economy without sacrificing prudence.”
“If we are able to achieve a breakout, a shift to a higher plane of economic growth, the DoF should have played a truly revolutionary role,” Dominguez said.
“We will help redefine what government can do. We will help liberate millions from poverty. We will shift our economy so that it becomes truly inclusive,” he added.
The DoF was founded on April 24, 1897 with Baldomero Aguinaldo as the first director of Finance.
Like its predecessor in the Philippine revolutionary government, the current DoF can help the government accomplish this grand mission if it is infected “with a certain degree of audacity,” Dominguez said.
“We must test the limits. We must think out of the box. We must accomplish our tasks with zeal and determination,” Dominguez said as he congratulated DoF employees for their good work and profound commitment to the good of the nation.
“I urge all of you to continue working to improve the way we do things in this organization. Let us aspire to be at the cutting edge of modern governance. That will enable this agency to meet the great challenges we must surmount,” he said.
The CTRP, submitted by the DoF to the Congress less than 90 days after the Duterte administration took office, aims to accomplish “several things in one blow.”
These include lowering personal income taxes to strengthen the purchasing power of consumers while encouraging investors to come in, and supporting the government’s ambitious program to accelerate spending on infrastructure and social investments, especially in training “a large demographic wave of young Filipinos” to be globally competitive.
The CTRP, Dominguez said, would make sure the government could carry out these goals without endangering the country’s fiscal sustainability.
“In order to achieve our infrastructure goals, our fiscal policy needs to be expansive,” he said. “While we may accept a certain level of deficits, those must be properly managed. A robust revenue stream will ensure that public borrowing will not spiral out of control.”
Before the Lenten break of the Congress, the House Ways and Means Committee chaired by Quirino Representative Dakila Carlo Cua agreed in principle to tackle the CTRP bill as a package, which puts to rest concerns that the Congress might abandon revenue-generating measures and approve only the revenue-eroding portion, particularly the lowering of income tax rates.
Besides ensuring fiscal stability, Dominguez said the DoF is also taking the lead in reducing government red tape “to unclog the flow of investments” into the economy and in modernizing the Department’s procedures to incorporate the more extensive use of information technology.
He said the department was recently awarded an ISMS 27001:2013 certification, which attests to the quality of its internal information technology use and ability to ensure information security within the DoF organization.