THE non-passage of the Duterte administration’s tax reform bill won’t derail the government’s planned infrastructure projects, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday.
Diokno made the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, called on the Senate to pass his proposed tax reform bill in full — a measure that would raise taxes on fuel, sugar sweetened beverages and socialized housing.
Diokno said that even with a delay or non-passage of the bill on tax reform, which was expected to generate P130 billion in government revenues, there would still be a lot of elbow room for the implementation of the administration’s projects.
“None of the majority projects will be sacrificed. In such an event [that the Tax Reform bill is not passed], the implementation of the projects will continue because there will be mitigating measures. After all, that is just P100 billion of the P3.8 trillion proposed budget,” Diokno said.
“If we would wait for the money [form tax reform], the projects will not be finished or half-finished. A half finished projects is useless, a waster of money,” Diokno added.
Diokno, however, remains hopeful that the tax reform bill we be approved in the Senate.
“We are optimistic that it will pass by the end of the year. We can’t go on complaining that there’s traffic jam, there’s lack of healthcare, and yet we do not want to pay more taxes,” Diokno said.
“Who gets to benefit from an improved transportation [due to infrastructure projects]? The free healthcare? It is the majority,” Diokno added.