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Mahaba ang pasensya ko pero…: Salceda tells Cabinet Secretaries to settle dispute over CITIRA bill

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Some Cabinet members are fighting over the tax measure which will reduce corporate income tax rates and rationalize fiscal incentives for companies, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Albay Rep. Joey Salceda has revealed.

In a lengthy message shared with reporters of the House of Representatives, Salceda urged Cabinet members to settle their issues on the proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Otherwise known as House Bill 4157, the measure is expected to be passed by the House on second reading soon.

Without naming anyone, Salceda urged Cabinet officials “not to export their disagreements, admittedly mostly arising from their differing mandates and constituencies.”

“I concede these are honest disagreements but please do not use Congress as playground for your policy battles, or worse use us as proxies or mercenaries for your skirmishes, because you are all alter egos of one President,” he said.

Salceda accused the Cabinet of “sowing confusion” and “sending wrong signals” about the bill, which he said has led to creating uncertainty among investors.

“Mahaba ang pasensya Ko from Roxas Blvd to Buendia to Commonwealth pero yung kayo na mismo ang nagpapahirap at napapahaba- magnilaynilay po tayong lahat, tumayo, ilagay ang kanang kamay sa dibdib at kantahin ng paaigaw ang Lupang Hinirang,” he said.

“Why do I have to keep rejecting this or that agency when the proposal came from the President?” Salceda asked.

Earlier this week, the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) supported the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) exemption from the CITIRA bill’s coverage.

The bill seeks to reduce corporate income tax from the current 30 percent to 20 percent over the next years.

It will also remove the fiscal incentives that companies enjoy redundantly and without limit.

Salceda said his committee has already “negotiated vigorously” with the Department of Finance (DOF) to improve its version of the measure.

He said companies which perform well can re-apply for the tax perks they receive after an initial period for availing them.

“Freeport zones like Subic and Clark will retain their duty-free status. Exports will remain zero VAT (Value Added Tax),” Salceda added.

The lawmaker maintained that the provisions in the CITIRA bill are all based on policies and risks which have been thoroughly studied.

“In our most reasonable estimate, CITIRA is good for our country, good for our people and it is the right thing to do. Cabinet members know their options, too. After all the policy noise for almost two years, it is time for them to speak with one voice,” Salceda said.

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