April 19, 2021 at 09:00 pm
Julito G. Rada
The government vowed to ensure ample financial resources to fund the protracted battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and parallel efforts to reinvigorate the economy, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Monday.
Dominguez, speaking during the DOF’s 124th anniversary, said there should be a continued effort to push for the passage of the remaining tax reform packages to raise funds for the government.
He said with the DOF’s bigger task of putting in place the necessary measures to help the nation recover from the pandemic, he was expecting “continuous innovation and excellence from this agency that has proven time and again its ability to bring about positive change.”
Dominguez cited a few of the agency’s accomplishments last year, including the hard work of engaging with the Congress in crafting fiscally responsible economic stimulus packages, its lead role in implementing the Small Business Wage Subsidy program, and its strong advocacy of infusing additional capital in government financial institutions to broaden lending to pandemic-hit enterprises.
The department also worked hard to raise revenues for the national effort to defeat the pandemic, seek international funding to reinforce the healthcare system, purchase the needed medical equipment and vaccines and fund the government’s economic recovery program, Dominguez said.
“The essential role we played benefited from the fiscal discipline we maintained and the reform measures we won over the last five years of this administration,” Dominguez said.
“We entered 2020 with a strong fiscal position and a manageable debt profile. We had won the highest credit ratings ever. Our series of tax reforms provided the country a reliable revenue flow. Our record of fiscal discipline eased access to urgent financing as we battled the pandemic,” he said.
He said that even with the pandemic, the DOF was able to accomplish its goal of continuing to reform the tax system as proven by the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, “which makes our Comprehensive Tax Reform Program nearly complete.”
“Passing this measure was particularly hard during the pre-pandemic times, but pushing for its enactment at the height of a crisis was even more difficult,” he said.
Dominguez cited the administrative reforms achieved by the DOF-attached revenue agencies—the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs—particularly the rapid digitalization of their systems and processes, which anticipated the broader shift to contactless transactions during the pandemic.
He said that beyond these remarkable achievements, the DOF should work on the passage of the remaining CTRP packages, which aim to reform the property valuation system and tax passive income and financial intermediaries.
The department should also continue its efforts to further broaden and deepen the financial sector to help drive truly inclusive growth; mobilize enterprises to help build resiliency; and deploy “the powerful instruments of financial technologies to accomplish good things for our people—from more efficient governance to the mitigation of climate change,” Dominguez said.