Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Monday the acceleration of infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program is a major priority in the second half of the Duterte administration.
Dominguez said in a message to reporters that these projects were “on track and will be delivered as scheduled.”
“First is to accelerate the implementation of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program. We have, for the first time in history, exceeded 5 percent of GDP [gross domestic product] in spending on infrastructure and we are on track to achieve 7 percent of GDP in three years’ time,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the second priority is the implementation of the remaining tax reforms to ensure sustainable financing for the infrastructure program. He said five major tax packages remain.
Under Package 1B are the Motor Vehicle User Charge, the lifting of bank secrecy laws and the automatic exchange of tax information. The Package 2 or Trabaho bill includes the reduction of corporate income tax rates and the rationalization of fiscal incentives.
Under the Package 2+ is the increase of the excise tax on alcohol to provide additional funding for Universal Health Care. This also includes higher government’s share from mining.
Package 3 involves the broadening of the tax base of property taxes of the national and local governments to raise government revenues without increasing the existing tax rates or devising new tax impositions.
Package 4 includes the rationalization of capital income taxation to address the multiple rates and different tax treatments and exemptions on capital income and other financial instruments.
Dominguez said that to attract more foreign direct investments, economic reforms should be pursued in the remainder of the Duterte administration. These include the amendments to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act and Retail Trade Liberalization Act.
Dominguez said there was a need to improve the implementation of existing reforms such as national ID system, ease of doing business, universal health care and rice tariffication.
“Fifth and finally is to improve the productivity of agriculture, including distribution of individual titles to land reform beneficiaries,” he said.
He said all these would ensure faster GDP growth, lower poverty and open more opportunities to “all law-abiding Filipinos.”
“They will also complete the president’s promise in the zero to ten-point socioeconomic agenda,” he said.
Dominguez said that financing the president’s commitment to making unprecedented investments for all law-abiding Filipino people was a challenge.
“Implementing these reforms similarly rests on well-designed implementing mechanisms and robust communications and engagement strategies,” Dominguez said.