The Philippine government will need a comprehensive tax reform program to achieve Filipinos’ aspirations under the 25-year long-term vision for the country called “AmBisyon Natin 2040,” the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a media forum in cooperation with the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines on Tuesday.
AmBisyon Natin 2040 represents the collective long-term vision and aspirations of the Filipino people for themselves and for the country for the next 25 years.
Data from a survey showed that 79.2 percent of the 10,000 respondents aspire for a simple and comfortable life. A small segment or 16.9 percent of the respondents aspire for an affluent life, while 3.9 percent said they want to be rich.
A ‘simple and comfortable life,’ according to the respondents means that they own a car; have enough money for day-to-day needs; own a medium-sized home; all their children are college-educated; are able to relax with family and friends; are business owners; and are able to take occasional trips around the country.
NEDA said the government would have to implement a comprehensive tax reform program to achieve these aspirations.
“We already presented in the executive technical board of DBCC [Development Budget Coordination Committee] the comprehensive tax reform program. It doesn’t have to be radical all at once,” said NEDA Deputy Director General Rosemarie Edillon.
Edillon said this kind of tax policy is a measure or strategy to improve Philippine competitiveness, promote equity and efficiency.
Besides the tax policy, NEDA added that strategic fiscal spending program including a tax and non-tax investment incentive program is also needed to address capacity constraints, increase competitiveness, encourage innovation, reduce inequality, and build up economic resiliency.
Lauding the passage of the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, Edillon said the aforementioned laws are very important legislation.
“These are all revenue-positive measures. What we can probably look at now is on the collection side, we still have some revenue-positive legislation and we can aim for revenue-neutral measures,” she added.
Meanwhile, outgoing Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra said the 10-point economic agenda of the new administration is consistent with the aspirations under the AmBisyon Natin 2040.
“We see it as being consistent with what will replace the outgoing administration. There is a promise that the growth momentum will continue,” he said.
Among the 10-point agenda of the Duterte administration that were aligned to AmBisyon Natin 2040 according to Esguerra were the continuation of current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary, and trade policies; the institution of progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection, indexing taxes to inflation; increasing competitiveness and the ease of doing business; investing in human capital development, including health and education systems, and match skills and training to meet the demand of businesses and the private sector; promoting science, technology, and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity towards self-sustaining, inclusive development; and improving social protection programs, including the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program, to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks.