Tax reform bill hurdles Senate

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2017 06:28 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2017 10:05 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Senate on Tuesday passed its version of tax reform, moving one of President Rodrigo Duterte's priority economic measures closer to being enacted into law.

With 17 yes votes and 1 no vote, Senate approved the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Bill on third and final reading.

Workers earning P250,000 a year will be exempted from paying income taxes under the measure, the office of Sen. Sonny Angara, one of the authors of the bill, said in a statement.

Around 6.8 million income earners will be exempt from taxes while up to 7.5 million individual income taxpayers will enjoy lower tax rates, Angara's office said. 

The TRAIN bill projects to raise P100-130 billion in revenues to finance the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration. 

The Senate now needs to reconcile its version of the bill with the one passed earlier by the House of Representatives. 

"We hope that with its swift action on the measure, the two chambers of Congress can soon sit down in the bicameral conference committee to thresh out a reconciled version of the bill that would provide the most benefit for majority of the Filipinos," Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez said in a statement. 

Government economic managers hope to implement the tax reform measures next year.

Duterte is seeking to fulfill a campaign promise to lower personal income tax rates, which will be offset by higher duties on fuel, cars and sugar-sweetened products.

"TRAIN is an important part of our expansionary fiscal policy," Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno said in a statement.

Additional revenue from tax reform will also help fund the President's P8-trillion infrastructure program, which includes the first subway in Metro Manila and railway in Mindanao.

-- With reports from Sherrie Ann Torres