Finance chief Diokno lists bills for economic growth

·2 min read
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno delivers a speech in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Philippine Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno speaks during an economic briefing following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's first State of the Nation Address, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 26, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who is also President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s economic manager, presented to the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday (August 16) a list of bills that are meant for vigorous economic growth.

Here is a rundown of these bills:

  • Real property valuation and assessment reform bill

  • Passive income and financial intermediary taxation bill

  • A bill that imposes 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) on digital goods and services

  • A bill that imposes P20 per kilo excise tax on single-use plastics

  • Rationalization of the mining fiscal regime

  • Military and uniformed personnel pension reform bill

  • Amendments to the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) charter

  • Livestock development and competitiveness bill

  • Capital market development bill

  • Amendments to the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. charter

  • A bill that institutionalizes Local Government Unit (LGU) income classification

  • LGU property insurance bill

  • Amendments to the LGU Code of 1991

    • For simplifying the rate structure of local business tax

    • For revisiting situs provision

    • For assigning more revenue-productive taxes

    • For creating a mechanism for administrative recourse in case of disputes with LGU taxing power

“The [Medium-Term Fiscal Framework] proposes measures that will improve tax administration, enhance the fairness and efficiency of our tax system, and promote environmental sustainability to address climate change,” Diokno said. “These reforms include specific measures that will help local government units attain fiscal sustainability.”

Specifically talking about the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Bill, the finance chief mentioned that it will increase revenues collected by the government “without raising existing tax rates or devising new tax impositions.” It aims to have what the Department of Finance describes as “a just, equitable, and efficient real property valuation system.”

“The bill’s urgent enactment will assist the LGUs in optimizing revenue collections, which in turn, will promote genuine local autonomy,” he said.

Under the proposed income classification, the finance secretary will have the authority to decide on the income ranges and perform regular reclassification for LGUs once every three years. The last income classification was established in 2008 and is now outdated, according to the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF).

LGUs were also urged to insure public properties locally through the LGU Property Insurance Bill to protect the government from “significant losses of scarce resources.”

The Marcos Jr. administration will not be reviewing sin taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vapes, and alcoholic drinks.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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