AmCham backs tax reform plan
The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) has expressed its support for the first package of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
In a statement on Friday, the DOF said the package had passed the business group’s criteria of being highly progressive and consumption-based. It was also said to provide incentives for people to work, save and invest.
There are two different versions of the tax package filed in both chambers of Congress. The House of Representatives passed its version of the first package, filed as House Bill No. 5636, last May.
Then, last Sept. 20, the Senate forwarded its own version of the bill for plenary approval, tweaking its version in a way that may appease some industries that have raised their concerns over the first package as filed in the lower house.
One of the noticeable changes that Senate Bill 1592 introduced from HB 5636 is that, unlike the latter, the upper house’s version opted to retain the tax incentives enjoyed by the IT-Business Process Management industry.
DOF said that AmCham supports the bill not only because the additional revenues will be used to put up badly needed infrastructure program, but it will also help fund social initiatives in education, transportation and healthcare.
In this regard, AmCham cited the government’s promise to spend the additional tax revenues collected from the bill to do the following: build 113,553 more classrooms; hire 181,980 more teachers between 2017 and 2020; and improve 3,714 kilometers of national gravel roads, 10,4732 kilometers of national asphalt roads, and 30,209 kilometers of local gravel roads.
Moreover, according to DOF, the government also plans to irrigate 1.3 million hectares of land, upgrade 704 local hospitals and establish 25 new ones; upgrade or relocate 263 rural/urban health units; build 15,988 new barangay health stations and 2,424 new rural urban health centers; achieve 100 percent PhilHealth coverage with higher quality services, and hire 176,922 more health professionals.
Besides AmCham, among the supporters of the tax program from the foreign business community are the Nordic Chamber of Commerce, the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, and the Korean Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines.