MANILA, Philippines - Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo is pushing for lower income tax rates for individuals and corporations as an anti poverty measure amid a fresh Pulse Asia poll which saw an increase in the dissatisfaction with the government's poverty and economic programs.
In a Pulse Asia survey earlier this month, the leading urgent national concerns among Filipinos are controlling inflation (46%), increasing the pay of workers (44%), and fighting corruption in government (40%).
A second set of urgent national concerns include poverty reduction (37%) and job creation (34%) while a third cluster is comprised of criminality (22%), peace (22%), and rule of law (19%).
Disapproval is the plurality sentiment as far as the administration’s efforts to reduce poverty and control inflation are concerned (40% and 41%, respectively).
Gunigundo said the House ways and means committee has formed a technical working group to consolidate the 13 bills lowering the income tax rates, which may go from 32 percent at the highest to just 15 percent.
Gunigundo said the lower income taxes will encourage investments which will have long term effects on the economy as the country goes into ASEAN integration this year.
He said the Bureau of Internal Revenue need not worry because their revenue targets will be revised by any new law.
"Magkakaroon ng marginal differences (on the budget deficit). Tignan natin ang long term effect ng income taxes sa bansa. It will provide better economic position for the country, gaganda demand kasi tataas purchasing power ng Pilipino," he said.
"Syempre naniniwala kami makakatulong ito para mabawasan kahirapan sa ating bansa. Naniniwala tayo ang kasalukuyang income tax rates na tinakda nung 1997 eh hindi na makatarungan," he added.
Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said the latest survey results "is a stark contrast to the claimed achievements of the Aquino government."
"Indeed many Filipinos suffer from high prices of utilities and basic goods while their wages are nailed to the floor. They do not feel the so-called economic growth. They do not feel the growth in the same way as the Pinoys in the Forbes billionaires list. The Conditional Cash Transfer program and other cosmetic approaches to poverty have obviously failed," he said.
For Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said the urgent concerns of Filipinos like inflation, increase workers' pay and even corruption have not been addressed by the Aquino administration.
"These issues should have been solved by the admin but instead it aggravated it by increasing MRT/LRT fares, allowed power rate hikes, even the prices of water and other commodities are geared to increase. The wage hike was very minimal and the anti-corruption drive is selective," Colmenares said.