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Drilon to Duterte’s economic managers: Plug revenue leaks first before proposing new taxes

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Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon on Thursday slammed President Duterte’s so-called economic managers for coming up with proposals introducing new taxes instead of reviewing fiscal incentives as a way of increasing government revenues.

“If our aim is to increase revenues, then the government should look at reviewing the various laws on the grant of tax incentives and plug the leakages in our tax system,” he said.

“We should not pass the buck and shift the burden to our people,” Drilon added.

The senator was obviously referring to the proposal imposing new taxes on petroleum products to finance the ambitious infrastructure program of the Duterte administration, which, according to Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno would require P8 trillion to P9 trillion.

The Departments of Budget and Management (DBM) and Finance (DOF) and Trade and Industry (DTI) should focus its efforts in supporting measures such as the proposed rationalization of tax incentives to general additional revenues to help offset projected dip in revenues that may arise from income tax cuts, he said.

Drilon, who authored a bill in the Senate seeking to review the government’s system of granting incentives to business enterprises in the

country, recalled that the DOF admitted during the 16th Congress that the rationalization of tax incentives could generate a whopping P30 billion around a period of time if passed into law.

“I hope that our economic managers will work closely with Congress for the long-sought rationalization of fiscal incentives law instead of spending its time on a tax hike on petroleum products that will surely negatively affect our people,” he said.

At present, Drilon said there are about 186 laws on numerous fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and subsidies in the country including income tax holidays, deductions, exemptions, credits or exclusions from the tax base.