Newly elected Speaker of the House Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said on Tuesday that the House of Representatives will be focusing on measures seeking to rationalize and modernize the Philippine’s corporate tax system.
Arroyo’s statement came in an ambush interview held before her meeting with officials of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC). The meeting’s agenda was to discuss the proposed 2019 national budget, as well as how to appropriately address inflation.
Arroyo said “”Yes, remember in the SONA (State of the Nation Address) of President Duterte, it’s (Package 2 of the CTRP) there and I said in my very short statement upon assumption, the first and foremost job I have as a Speaker, is to carry out the legislative agenda of President Duterte,”
She then said that she preferred not to be explicit about the timeline, but clarified that it, corporate tax reform, is a priority.
Arroyo clarified to say she prefers to call the coming measures “corporate income incentives reform”, rather than Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) 2 as the later term is “misleading”. Her statement comes preemptive to correct any possible misconceptions about the proposed second package of tax reforms.
“It’s not called TRAIN 2 because TRAIN 2 is misleading. It’s called corporate income incentives reform,” Arroyo said.
Package 2, whether you call is TRAIN 2 or corporate income incentives, would aim to cut corporate income tax (CIT) to 25 percent from the current 30 percent. This would affect some 95 percent of businesses, while at the same time retaining and providing new fiscal incentives for deserving recipients of the program. The package comes in hopes that this will add to national development and aid in the generation of pro-poor investments and employment opportunities.
In the Philippines, more that 99 percent of businesses are categorized as MSME or micro, small, or medium enterprises. Together, these employ about 65 percent of the country’s workers.
In Duterte’s 3rd SONA, referenced above by Arroyo, the President said that the enactment of Package 2 is the what stands between today and millions of jobs in the near future.
“I hope to sign Package 2 before the year ends. I urge Congress to pass it in a form that satisfies our goals and serves the interests of the many, not just the wealthy few,” he said.