MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed a bill seeking the creation of a Regional Investment and Infrastructure Coordinating Hub (RICH) in Central Luzon, according to a document obtained exclusively by ABS-CBN News on Thursday.
Proposed by Sen. Richard Gordon, RICH aims to bring in jobs and capital to the region and help decongest Metro Manila by offering tax incentives to investors. The hub was supposed to replace the existing Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council.
Duterte, in a veto letter to the Senate dated March 13, said the bill "has several provisions which would pose substantial risks to the country and are thus inimical to its economic growth."
The bill "significantly narrows our tax base with its mandated incentives applicable to registered enterprises in an entire region," he said.
"This renders the whole system incapable of generating a yield sufficient to sustain the country's social and economic infrastructure, and this would necessitate finding new sources of revenue through additional taxes or borrowings in the future," Duterte said.
"In the end, it is the taxpayers all over the country, who are excluded from the tax incentives, that will bear the brunt of the burden," he added.
The President also noted that the bill would maintain the proposed fiscal incentives for 50 years, which will "unnecessarily burden future generations."
Duterte in 2017 signed the tax reform law, which slashed personal income tax rates while raising duties on fuel, sugar-sweetened drinks and cars.
Report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News