House’s swift passage of tax reform, investment bills hailed

MANILA House Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. on Tuesday hailed the swift passage of two important measures � the Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act (PIFITA) and the amendment of the Foreign Investments Act (FIA).

This is another record-breaking feat of the House of Representatives which was made possible under the leadership of Speaker (Alan Peter) Cayetano, Villafuerte said.

With 186 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and two abstentions, the House of Representatives approved on third and final PIFITA (House Bill 304) on Monday (Sept. 9). The measure aims to impose additional excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and vaping products.

On Monday, the House also voted 201-6 with seven abstentions to pass on third and final reading the amendments to the FIA (HB 300), seeking to amend Republic Act 7042, otherwise known as the Foreign Investment Act of 1991, by allowing foreigners to practice their professions in the Philippines, and reducing the required number of local hires for certain businesses.

Villafuerte said both measures are very important and timely, describing PIFITA as a fourth package of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program of the Duterte administration; and the FIA as among the House's legislative priorities.

Because of our effective legislative process, the PIFITA and amended FIA bills were thoroughly discussed and debated upon prior to their final approval, Villafuerte said.

Principally authored by committee on ways and means chairman Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda (2nd District, Albay), the PIFITA bill seeks to amend the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1997 and reform the financial sector in the Philippines.

Salceda said the enactment of PIFITA will allow the country to compete better in attracting capital and investment, which is urgently needed to fund infrastructure, create more and better jobs and boost inclusive and sustainable growth of the economy.

The inclusion of the capital income and financial services in the current administration's comprehensive tax reform program provides a window of opportunity to achieve the much-needed reform in the financial sector, he said.

The FIA amendment bill, on the other hand, was principally authored by Rep. Victor Yap (2nd District, Tarlac).

Rep. Sharon Garin, chairperson of the House committee on economic affairs, said in the last 10 years, foreign direct investments to the country have continuously remained at low levels, averaging USD3.93 billion.

Allowing skilled professionals to work in our country would boost the competitiveness of our human resource. By working with professionals from more advanced countries, Filipinos gain fresh perspectives and new knowledge, broadening the skills set they may already have, Garin said in her sponsorship speech. (PR)

Source: Philippines News Agency