MANILA - Anyone who will serve as the country's president and his family should set a good example when it comes to paying taxes, an expert said Monday.
The Philippines needs to pay P12.68 trillion in debt which ballooned due to COVID-19 and infrastructure borrowing. Analysts have earlier said this should be a priority.
But in an interview with ANC, Asian Consulting Group's founding chairman and chief tax advisor Mon Abrea said there are other steps to raise funds before an additional tax burden should be explored.
"Honestly, increasing taxes will not be a good move for the new administration considering that they still have to wean the taxpayers and help boost the economy. Burdening the small business even more that would be contrary to that," Abrea said.
"I think in good faith, the president-elect should resolve first their tax issues. Moral ascendency dictates that the president and his family has no tax issues. Second, setting a good example, we should really run after big tax evaders," Abrea said.
Presumptive president Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr and his family are embroiled in a P203 billion estate tax liability on top of other issues on ill-gotten wealth.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue should also "implement the full force of the law" in running after tax violators before the government should consider adding more taxes.
House Committee of Ways and Means Chairman Joey Salceda earlier said the tax laws pending in Congress could help pay for the government debt.
He proposed the passing and enactment of several measures such as the digital sales tax, e-sabong regulation, taxes for the use of plastic bags, gambling tax and taxes on luxury goods, among others, which could help raise funds for debt payment.
Salceda said the country needs about P326 billion annually to cover the principal and interest of its debts.
The Philippines' debt-to-GDP ratio ballooned to 63.5 percent in March 2022.