DOF assures PH fiscally secure

MANILA-- The Department of Finance (DOF) on Thursday assured that the country is fiscally secured and is on track to meet its targets.

In a press briefing in MalacaAan, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III noted that the government has collected more revenues, citing the reforms during the first year of the Duterte administration.

Dominguez cited that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has expanded its Large Taxpayers Service for closer monitoring of large businesses while the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has strengthened its anti-smuggling capabilities, reflecting in dramatically improved collections.

From July 2016, when we took over, to May 2017, government collected about PHP2.09 trillion in revenues. That is seven percent higher than the same period the previous year. For this, credit should go to the administrative reforms in our main revenue agencies that substantially improved our revenue effort, Dominguez said.

The Finance chief also said the government is ready to fund the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, a flagship program of the Duterte administration.

The "Build, Build, Build program, Dominguez said, will ensure robust growth for the economy and more inclusive growth pattern and dramatic reduction in poverty incidents by 2022.

Dominguez also lauded the passage of the Tax Reform Package in Congress, saying that it is the first time that the country is passing a tax reform for the future.

In the past, all tax reforms were passed when we had problems, when we had the big deficits, we passed a tax reform; when we had big debts, they passed a tax reform. This is the first time we are passing a tax reform for the future, Dominguez said.

The package accomplishes the dual goals of increasing disposable income for our workers and increasing spending for the poor. It is a win-win package for our people, he said.

In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said claims by Muslim leader Aga Khan Sharief are not verified, stressing that the position of President Duterte is not to negotiate with terrorists.

Because this constitutes rebellion, because they submit to a foreign leader, and hold to a dangerous ideology that is inimical to the well- being of all Filipinos, including Muslim Filipinos. And because most Muslim Filipinos disagree with the extreme interpretation and application of the Muslim belief system, Abella explained.

The President is committed to what is just, fair, and equitable; and he stands against what is criminal, corrupt, and dangerous to the people, and to the next generation, he added.

In the same briefing, Abella mentioned the plan of the Philippine National Police (PNP) deployment of Marines to replace the Special Action Force (SAF) personnel in the Bilibid following the resurgence of illegal drugs inside the national penitentiary.

The discovery and neutralization of drug syndicates operating in the national penitentiary is one of the highlight accomplishments of the government's war against illegal drugs, Abella said.

The reported resumption of the drug trade and the involvement of SAF in the Bilibid Prison underscored the enormity of the drug problem and the need to destroy the entire drug apparatus to fully succeed in our campaign, he added.

Abella also stressed that the Duterte administration will continue to be relentless in eradicating the illegal drug problem.

Investigation is now underway to probe drug-related activities and collusions, if any, of authorities, he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency