Former economic execs back Duterte admin’s tax plan

19 former officials of the Department of Finance (DOF) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) endorse Duterte administration's inclusive growth and poverty eradication-targeted tax reform plan.

In a statement, the DOF on Monday said 12 former DOF and NEDA chiefs and seven undersecretaries had signed a manifesto that "fully endorsed" the current government's tax proposals, citing its ability to help the Philippines become a "prosperous, predominantly middle-class society" by year 2040.

"We, the former Secretaries and Undersecretaries of the DOF and the NEDA fully support the DOF's comprehensive tax reform program as a long needed corrective to our tax system's structural weaknesses and as a tool to achieve inclusive growth and transformative poverty reduction in our country," the statement said.

"Overall, tax policy reforms are needed to make the tax system fairer, simpler, and more efficient, to put more money in people's pockets, and encourage investment, job creation, and poverty reduction, while making our country more competitive regionally," it said.

Among the signatories to the manifesto are former Finance Secretaries Cesar Virata, Jose Isidro Camacho, Jesus Estanislao, Roberto De Ocampo, Jose Pardo, Cesar Purisima, and Juanita Amatong.

Former NEDA Directors-General Arsenio Balisacan, Emmanuel Esguerra, Cielito Habito, Felipe Medalla, and Romulo Neri also signed the manifesto.

The DOF submitted to Congress the first package of its series of tax reform proposals. The first package involves reduction in personal taxes to help wage earners and other low- and middle-income workers.

To counter the proposed tax cut, the DOF suggested the increase of excise tax for fuel and automobiles as well as expansion of the value added tax (VAT) from the current 12 percent.

The manifesto said cut in personal income tax "is long overdue and is a welcome move."

"This needs to be complemented by revenue enhancing measures to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are provided better education and health services, as well as benefit from better infrastructure," it said.

"We support the increase in oil and automobile excise taxes as a very progressive means of raising revenues and addressing the negative externalities of pollution and traffic congestion as families optimize the purchase and use of cars," it added.

Source: Philippines News Agency