Duterte to lawmakers: Pass second round of tax reforms

President Duterte gives his 4th State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives on July 22, 2019. Screengrab RTVM

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called on Congress to pass a bill that will reduce corporate income tax rates and update fiscal incentives, the second tranche of his planned tax system overhaul.

Known as the TRABAHO or Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher-quality Opportunities bill, the measure seeks to bring down the corporate income tax to 20 percent from the current 30 percent. 

The measure will “energize” small medium and micro enterprises which make up the bulk of businesses which provide jobs to Filipinos, he said.

The President also asked Congress to pass other revenue measures, including the sin tax reform bill. 

“I’m also asking Congress to pass the remaining packages of my administration’s tax reform program and the bills that will further raise excise tax on tobacco and alchohol,” Duterte said. 

“Sinong naninigarilyo dito (Who is a smoker here)?” he asked the audience. “They should be exterminated from the face of the earth.”

Several business groups had earlier said that removing fiscal incentives would make the country less attractive to foreign investors and could lead to job losses. 

The Department of Finance meanwhile has sought to allay the worries of exporters and said that investors would get “superior incentives” with TRABAHO Bill.

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