IF the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd failed to enact legislation to reduce income tax during its term, Sen. Grace Poe would make the measure a priority if she is elected into office in 2016.
Senator Francis Escudero, the running mate of Poe, said if given a chance to lead the country, Poe will make sure that the proposal to lower income tax will be a priority of her administration.
She “said in her declaration speech that no sector or region would be left behind, and that it is the government’s duty to exhaust any means possible to lighten the load of our people. She has also repeatedly stressed that lowering the income tax would be one of her priorities, and that is the essence of our call, Walang maiiwan [No one will be left behind],” he added.
Poe, in her speech last month, noted that her goal is to lower taxes in the country, considering that the Philippines “has one of the highest tax rates in the world.”
“Everyone needs a helping hand. Shouldn’t this be the measure of a responsive government and society, how it uplifts everyone and leaves no one behind?” she said.
Escudero also assured that the Poe administration will support the proposal to lower income tax without any condition.
According to him, while he appreciates that “the administration, or the LP [Liberal Party], or whoever Secretary Edwin Lacierda [Malacanang spokesman] speaks for, has acknowledged the need for tax reform,” he said the government “need not impose conditions before it can support measures to lower the income tax.”
The LP standard-bearer, Manuel Roxas 2nd, rejected the proposed measure to lower income tax, saying the government would need to stop some projects to allow passage of such measure.
Roxas insisted that the issue on lowering income tax should not be discussed during the elections as it will be politicized.
“Lowering the income tax is justifiable in and by itself, and should be acted on now, not later. There is an opportunity now to right a wrong and help those in need, why should they deny our people that? That is why we repeatedly say we really need a government with a heart,” Escudero pointed out.
He said some members of the LP are saying they favor tax reform, but these are hollow sentiments that are contradicted by allies of the administration who say here is not enough time to pass the proposal seeking lower income tax.
“All this talk about support for tax reform is just lip service on their [LP] part, their words will not put money in the pockets of our overtaxed citizens,” Escudero added.
Even Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, a staunch supporter of the tax measure, seemed to have given up hope on it after announcing that he will just refile the measure in the next Congress under the new administration.
“We respect their decision. It’s a tough decision-making environment they are operating in. If the House doesn’t pass it, the Senate can’t pass it,” Angara said.
Angara was referring to a provision in the 1987 Constitution and the origination clause, which states that all revenue measures must originate from the House.