Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Wednesday reiterated his call for Congress to pass the remaining economic reform measures of the Duterte administration which aim to further liberalize the economy, institute additional reforms in the tax system and deepen the Philippines’ capital markets.

In his remarks at the 7th general membership meeting of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Dominguez pitched for the approval of amendments to the Foreign Investments Act, the Public Service Act, and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act.

“We get nothing from a closed-minded attitude towards foreign investments. With the continued globalization of supply chains, we either liberalize at a quicker pace or risk getting left behind,” he said.

“Our economy should no longer labor under the weight of dead economic orthodoxies. We must open up to the most mutually beneficial arrangements we can get from the rest of the world,” he said.

The Finance chief added that to secure the country’s fiscal stability and boost the resilience of the Philippine economy against future economic shocks, Congress should also pass the remaining comprehensive tax reform packages, namely the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act or Package 3 and the Passive Income and Financial Intermediaries Taxation Act or Package 4.

Package 3 is designed to broaden the tax base used for property-related taxes of the national and local governments and adopt internationally-accepted valuation standards, while Package 4 aims to make passive income and financial intermediary taxes simpler, fairer, and more efficient.

Dominguez also said the Department of Finance (DOF) will also engage with Congress in passing the Military and Uniformed Personnel Pension reform that will keep the system fundable, manageable, and fiscally sustainable for the long term, along with the proposed Capital Market Development Act that aims to further deepen the domestic capital markets by building a sustainable corporate pension system for Filipino workers. 

“This array of proposed reforms complement the other game-changing measures already in place to keep the economy back on the path of high growth,” he said.

Dominguez said these measures include the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act that will allow banks to unload non-performing loans and assets to strengthen their lending capacity and the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, which will not only leave more cash resources for firms to sustain employment or use for investments, but will also position them to be more regionally competitive and attractive to foreign capital infusion. 

The Finance chief emphasized that the government has adequate resources to acquire more than enough vaccines to inoculate 100% of the adult population and children, along with providing booster shots if these are needed.

“The only thing holding back our vaccination program is tight global vaccine supply,” Dominguez said.—LDF, GMA News

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