Business groups support TRAIN 2

MANILA, Philippines — While consumers and several other sectors are blaming the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law for the steady rise in the prices of basic goods, various business and civil society organizations have expressed their support for the second package of the measure which they want to see implemented as soon as possible.

The Department of Finance (DOF), through its Strategy, Economics and Results Group (SERG), identified the organizations as the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (Phil.) Inc. (FICCI), Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII), Rural Urban People’s Linkages and the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, among others.

Package 2 of the measure contained in the comprehensive tax reform program or CTRP seeks to reduce the corporate income tax rates in the country, while rationalizing the fiscal incentives system.

In a letter to the DOF, the MAP said there is a need to rationalize and modernize the country’s tax incentive system to make them time-bound, performance-based and simpler.

MAP, through its president Ramoncito Fernandez, also said it agrees that Package 2 of the CTRP will help the country become more competitive by lowering corporate income taxes from the current 30 percent, the highest in Southeast Asia.

“(Package) 2 is another milestone initiative for the government and a bold move that we believe will create a positive impact for all. The MAP commits its continuing support for the passage of (Package) 2,” MAP said.

The FICCI, for its part, said it also supports the proposal to lower corporate income tax rates and rationalize incentives to broaden the tax base and increase the government’s revenues to support its key programs.

In a statement signed by its president Rakesh Daryani, the group said it believes Package 2 will potentially address issues regarding the country’s competitiveness in the world market, low revenue efficiency, and the current uneven playing field between local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and foreign multinational companies.

FFCCCII president Domingo Yap also said the business group is waiting for approval of the new tax package, as it would “put the country’s tax rate at par with those imposed by its neighboring countries.”

“We express our support for the efforts of the DOF to improve the tax and customs systems in our country. We hope to help the government reach out to our people so that it can increase its revenue collections needed to help support social services for our people, and the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program that will spread growth across the country,” Yap said.

The FFCCCII, according to Yap, has teamed up with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in conducting dialogues and seminars to educate the public about the TRAIN Law and the Build, Build, Build program.

The Rural Urban People’s Linkages, through its executive director Jayson Cainglet, said the group supports the DOF’s position on the need to rationalize tax incentives.

Cainglet said the group reiterates the “need to look into the seeming wanton granting of tax perks by the different incentive-giving agencies.”

Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura chairman Rosendo So said they also support investments and incentives meant to boost the agriculture industry, increase productivity, promote rural livelihoods and ensure the country’s food self-sufficiency.

Various organizations representing civil society, academe, and the business sector under the Participatory Governance Cluster-Open Government Partnership (PGC-OGP) have also backed Package 2.

“We anticipate the growth in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and countryside development this reform will encourage. We also welcome efforts in reducing the high number of special laws that complicates our tax system,” they said in a statement.