To prevent a possible stalemate or deadlock, lawmakers deliberating on the proposed tax reform bill have decided to take up the so-called less contentious provisions in the proposed tax reform bills of the House and the Senate.
“No, we’re not starting on the contentious provisions. In fact, we’re planning to set them aside. We want to build trust between the two panels,” Sen. Sonny Angara,told reporters before the start of the initial bicameral meeting on the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, said.
The Senate ways and means committee chair and bicam co-chair assured that they would try to cover as much as they could to come up with the final version of the bill the soonest time possible.
“Ideal would be to get it done by next week so that we can ratify each version and then sent to the Office of the Pres. ‘Yan ang maganda, that’s the idea by next week sana (it’s done already),” he said.
Among the contentious issues are the proposed excise taxes on fuel and automobiles; imposition of taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages; budget cuts; higher taxes on documentary stamps, and coal or mining sector.
“Yeah I see long debates kasi ang dami nito eh. Sa totoo lang it’s a comprehensive tax reform so hindi maiiwasan talaga na may pagkakaiba ng pananaw, ng ibat ibang kongresista, iba yung pananaw ng isang kongresista galing sa isang rural area kesa galing sa syudad. Yun ang kagandahan ng kongreso din, maraming opinion at hopefully gaganda yung panukala,” he said.
“I don’t want to say it’s very contentious pero medyo magkaiba yung version ng Senado at Kamara…Kung hindi kami mag agree ngayon, eh may next week pa naman. Iiwasan namin syempre kasi kung deadlock, hindi tayo magkakaroon ng batas di ba?” he said.
Asked if the lower house would insist on their version of the bill, Angara said they’re willing to listen to their counterparts.
“Let’s see. Let’s wait baka naman may magandang argument di ba? Saka may magandang pambawi why not? It’s favorable to the taxpayers eh,” he said.
As to why the bicameral meeting was being held behind closed doors, Angara said:”Pag madami masyado nag-uusap, you want to keep it manageable.”
Angara said that in the subsequent bicameral meetings could be made public.
“The bicams I’ve been involved with hindi naman talagang open to the public lahat eh. They open certain sections to the public. Pero nga to come to an agreement, kasi whether we admit it or not eh medyo nag iiba yung behaviour di ba?” he said.