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Palace pushes TRAIN Act

By: Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Malacañang said that the Philippines’ investment grade rating hangs in the balance until Congress, particularly the Senate, passes the Duterte administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Package.

The American Chamber of Commerce has expressed support to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act which is now set for plenary deliberations in the Senate.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, during the Bangon Marawi-Mindanao Hour press briefing yesterday, expressed hope that aside from the AmCham, Congress will also see the benefits from the tax reform program.

“We hope, as we believe the American Chamber and other business groups, will also agree that the final tax reform bill to be approved by Congress will deliver all revenues needed to fund the President’s agenda for ambitious investments in both our fiscal capital and our human capital,” Abella said.

According to the Palace official, he hopes that the Senate realizes the consequences if they choose to not pass the TRAIN in full.

“Without these revenues, we would have to incur even more debt to finance our economic growth agenda, thereby endangering our investment grade rating, raising our borrowing cost, and limiting our access to financial markets,” Abella said.

“We therefore hope that the Congress, especially the Senate, realizes these consequences from any wrong decisions that they may make,” he added.

Abella reiterated the earlier statement of Duterte’s economic team that the poor and the vulnerable are at the heart of the tax reform.

“The new tax measures are expected to raise P133.8 billion in 2018 to fund the administration’s infrastructure and anti-poverty programs,” he said.

“With better infrastructure and social services, we would improve productivity and living standards of our people,” he added.