• Duterte bats for passage of tax reform bill

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    President Rodrigo Duterte has given his full support to the Finance department’s tax reform plan, saying the government needs additional revenue for infrastructure spending.

    In a joint press conference with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in Malacañang on Monday, Duterte batted for the passage of the tax reform bill being pushed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd.

    “I don’t know. Sila ‘yung nag-usap, hindi naman ako. But ipinatawag ko dito si Dominguez tapos silang dalawa [Alvarez and Pimentel] . . . Apparently it’s a rough sailing for the reform law ni Dominguez,” the President told reporters.

    “We’re trying to make or break, tayo, dito sa ating buhay ngayon, eh. There has to be change. Kaya ‘yung change na ‘yan, kailangan magkaroon ng . . . within the possible time,” the President said

    “The Chinese guys are coming in very fast. They are offering airports, and itong mga wharves i-upgrade nila. So, we have accepted it all,” he added.

    The President said he believes the proposed measure will be passed despite the difficulties involved.

    “We’re not really odious. May resistance. Kasi ‘yung, ang ano naman kasi, ang trabaho ng congressman is ang pera ng tao. But I think that if people will realize that the money would be put to good use and really spent for the purpose for which is being envisioned to be collected. And then, give us time. Kasi may mga pangako nga ako na dapat matupad,” Duterte said.

    “Government runs on taxes. Iyon ang gasolina ng gobyerno. We cannot collect any other, except taxes. We do not go into business. Walang profits ang gobyerno, except taxes. We do not compete. That’s why government is prohibited from putting up proprietary entities. Kasi we cannot compete with the private sector, that’s not allowed,” he added.

    Duterte said he is also willing to accept criticisms from taxpayers.

    “Well, to the Filipino people, I said I made promises. Few, far in between the campaign days, ginagawa ko. And if you think that it’s out of order, then tell me. Why did you vote for me? I told you na gagawain ko kung anong pinagdadaldal ko dito. So, gagawain ko. So, ginagawa ko lahat. Nakita naman niyo, simple things,” he said.

    “We’re just trying to get the money on time to start on the things that we plan, we envision to have this year,” the President added.

    Earlier, the Department of Finance decided to divide the proposed reform measure into five packages to make it more acceptable to legislators.

    The first one includes a cut in personal income tax, higher oil excise levies and lower value-added tax exemption. It aims to raise an additional P200 billion in revenues.

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