MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated the need for a comprehensive tax reform program and echoed his economic managers' sentiments that the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law cannot be stopped.
In his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 23, Duterte went on to applaud the "timely passage of the TRAIN law."
"Some have incorrectly blamed our efforts toward a fairer tax system for all the price increases in the past months, and some irresponsibly suggesting to stop TRAIN's implementation. We cannot and should not. We need this for sustainable growth that leaves no Filipino left behind," the President said.
Duterte wants the remaining 4 out of 5 tax reform packages submitted to Congress before July ends.
He called on lawmakers to pass Package 2 of TRAIN in 2018, saying that he hopes to sign it before the year ends.
Package 2 aims to rationalize or remove certain tax incentives of companies and reduce the corporate income tax from 30% to 25%. The Department of Finance (DOF) proposed to make incentives performance-based, targeted, time-bound, and transparent.
Business groups earlier warned that the removal of incentives would scare away potential foreign investors.
Duterte also called for reforms in mining taxes and further increasing levies on alcohol and tobacco.