The Philippines needs to pour more resources into the education sector, a Cabinet official yesterday said, noting that the country was lagging behind its Southeast Asian neighbors.
“The percentage of GDP [gross domestic product]spent in education in the past 10 years only ranges from 2.8 percent to 2.9 percent. It’s only recently that we’ve spent 3 percent of the GDP for the education sector. This is lower than Asean countries’—like Vietnam and Thailand’s—allotment of more than 5 percent of their GDP,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said during a government briefing yesterday on the economy.
“If we want to improve, we need to have 5 percent spending in education and another 5 percent in infrastructure, and the remaining 3.6 percent of the GDP should be allotted in healthcare, defense, administrative purposes etc.”.
Government revenues should also increase in line with this, Purisima noted, pointing to the need for further taxation reforms.
“We need revenue to make sure we attain our targets. The tax system of the Philippines needs to be fixed. We cannot just focus on one aspect. We cannot just lower income taxes, but I think we should have a holistic solution and basis to the problem,” he said.
The finance secretary reiterated that with taxes accounting for the bulk of the
government’s funds, proper compliance — a dearth in payments by the self-employed was noted — and administrative reforms were necessary.
What can help, Purisima said, are the “easing of bank secrecy law for tax purposes as well as turning tax evasion as a predicate crime in the country.”
“I support lower income tax rates. But this decrease should be replaced by another revenue [source], and also give us the means to collect the revenue to achieve the goals we’re saying,” the finance chief said.