Duterte to lawmakers: Pass second round of tax reforms


Posted at Jul 22 2019 06:44 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2019 12:04 AM

President Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on July 22, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED)- 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. 

"We have to pursue tax reforms to fund our poverty reduction programs. I, therefore, call on Congress to immediately pass Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program or the TRABAHO bill which will lower corporate income tax and rationalize, improve fiscal incentives."

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.