Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chairman of the committee on ways and means, on Sunday said the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, military pension reform and tax enforcement would be the prioritiy bills that the House panel would take up.
“We are trying to avoid new taxes, unless they are for sectors that won’t get hurt by taxes, like Philippine offshore gaming operations or e-sabong. Our focus now is really to secure the legacy of President
Duterte’s tax reforms and to work on what we still can with the final year,” he said.
Given “both the fiscal importance and the support of the executive,” he said the committee would continue to hold regular meetings and is even ready to meet an extra time every week to finish its priorities.
The main priority “is ensuring CREATE is implemented well. The Department of Finance committed to an IRR date of May 17. I hope we get it by then, because CREATE is only really as good as implementation,” he said.
Salceda said his House Bill No. 9271, or the Fiscal Framework for Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) Pension has the support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team and of the House leadership. “MUP pension reform will be painful but crucial. It’s some pain now or very big pain in the future. The unfunded pension liabilities, according to the Government Service Insurance System, amount to some P9.6 trillion pesos based on 2019 data. It’s a serious threat to our economic prospects in the long-term,” he noted.
The Albay representative said his committee would defend in the plenary four crucial tax bills—the fiscal regime for mining, value-added tax administration reform for the digital economy, Ease of Paying Taxes Act and general tax amnesty with automatic exchange of information, subject to the Department of Finance’s revisions.
“Everything is ready, except the language on general tax amnesty with AEOI. We’re waiting on the DOF for that one,” he said.
“We will continue to be busy until the last day of our term. In fact, this final year is important, because it’s the last chance under President Duterte’s administration to smoothen out the implementation of already enacted reforms, and to pursue the remaining packages,” he said.