Presumptive President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte bared his 8-point economic agenda anchored on reforms on tax collection which would include eliminating corruption in the revenue-generating agencies, easing restrictions on investment policies, and strengthening the basic education system.
In a press conference in Davao City on Thursday, May 12, Duterte’s presumptive economic adviser Carlos Dominguez detailed Duterte’s business plan for the country over the next six years:
1) Continuing and maintaining current macroeconomic policies
Dominguez said in the case of tax revenue collection, reforms would be instituted at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) by “eliminating corruption in these revenue-generating agencies”.
“This means that this is the fulfilment of the President-elect’s promise of less corruption in the government,” said Dominguez.
2) Accelerating infrastructure spending by addressing, among others, bottlenecks in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, maintaining the target of setting aside 5 percent of the country’s gross national product (GNP) to infrastructure spending which, in turn, will mean creating jobs and injecting economic activity into the country.
3) Ensuring the attractiveness of the Philippines to foreign investors by addressing the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution and enhancing the competitiveness of doing business in the country.
Dominguez said this meant following the Davao City model where the government helped businesses establish themselves.
4) Pursuing a genuine agricultural development strategy by providing support services to small farmers to increase their productivity, improve their market access, and develop the agricultural value chain by forging partnerships with agri-business firms; encouraging more agricultural processing in the agricultural areas itself; promoting tourism in the rural areas as part of the strategy for rural development.
“Our county is beautiful and we want to show this to the world. Every tourist dollar has a large effect on the economy,” said Dominguez.
5) Addressing the bottlenecks in the land administration and management system to increase coordination among the land titling agencies in the country and increase the security of land tenure, therefore encouraging investment in the rural areas.
Dominguez said while there were four land titling agencies, namely the Land Registration Authority (LRA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) NCIP for ancestral areas, and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), there was “very little coordination and cooperation” among them.
6) Strengthening the basic education system and providing scholarships for tertiary education which are relevant to the needs of private sector employees; providing adequate training particularly in communication, mathematics, and logical thinking; addressing the issue of underemployment by matching what is taught in the schools with what is demanded on the field.
7) Improving the income tax system to make it progressive and to enable those who earn a little to have more money in their pockets; indexing the tax collection to the inflation rate to balance tax collection.
For example, Dominguez said the tax tables made many years ago were no longer applicable today. He cited that the peso value of an employee who earned P500,000 and who would be subjected to a 32 percent tax deduction a month many years ago was no longer the same for an employee who earned the same amount and was still subjected to a 32 percent tax deduction.
“The P500,00 salary then may be equivalent to P1 million now so the tax bite should be lower,” said Dominguez.
8) Expanding and improving the implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT) by also indexing the CCT to the inflation rate to maintain the real value that is being received by the beneficiaries of the program.
Based on the unofficial count by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), Duterte maintains a wide lead over his rivals in the presidential race with more than 90 percent of the election returns having been transmitted to the Comelec transparency servers.