Press Releases

Salceda lists ten ‘low-hanging fruits’ for last months of Duterte admin; House tax chair vows continued reforms, says PRRD term will ‘finish strongly’

December 31st, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) issued a white paper containing a list of ten ‘low-hanging fruits’ that the Duterte administration and Congress can pursue during the final six months of the government’s term in office.

In a document titled “Finishing strong, starting anew in 2022,” Salceda listed a set of priority legislative and executive reforms that he described as “ripe for picking.”

“These reforms are both crucial and relatively easy and achievable. That’s why we should do them first thing in the new year,” Salceda said in subsequent comments.

The reforms Salceda listed are:

  1. The completion of the FDI liberalization agenda and the passage of the Public Service Act amendments;
  2. Enactment of Packages 3 and 4 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program;
  3. Financial inclusion reforms such as the Fair and Inclusive Credit Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act, as well as allowing OFWs to invest in Philippine equities while in abroad;
  4. Agricultural reforms in Salceda’s 5Fs framework (farms, fisheries, forestry, feeds, and fertilizers);
  5. Portable Philhealth through a single-patient, single-record system and a free national telemedicine hotline;
  6. The passage of the Department of Disaster Resilience Act and the amendments to the National DRR Law requested by President Duterte;
  7. Anti-smuggling efforts by both Congress and the Bureau of Customs, particularly against fruit and vegetable smuggling, ecozone smuggling, and illicit trade and tobacco and fuel;
  8. The issuance of the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan which will enable the full implementation of the CREATE Law;
  9. Reforms to lower the costs of medicine, by expediting customs processing of VAT-free medicines, bulk procurement of medical supplies in public hospitals, and guidelines for medical bill transparency; and
  10. Job creation in infrastructure through ‘frontloading’ the infrastructure program and exempting public works from the election ban on government spending and hiring.

Proposals to make tax reform pass

Salceda also suggested new proposals to make Package 3 of the tax reform program more acceptable to stakeholders.

“I am proposing amendments to the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform, or Package 3, to support economic recovery,” Salceda wrote.

“First, I support removing productive equipment from taxable real properties. This will stimulate mechanization and modernization in businesses and agriculture. Second, I propose a transition period for local government units to comply with modernized valuation standards to cushion the impact of sudden tax increases due to higher real property values. Third, I propose a progressive tax system for housing – tax luxury, low-density housing higher, and tax socialized and low-cost housing lower,” Salceda explained.

Salceda says that he believes the Duterte administration has “enough political will and commitment” to pass the remaining portions of the president’s reform agenda.

Duterte ‘finishing strong’

Salceda also said that President Duterte will end his administration’s term on a high note.

“I thank President Duterte for the trust and the confidence he and his government have given me as principal sponsor and author of his Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, his investment liberalization agenda, and his key reforms in health, education, infrastructure, public safety, and governance. By working with champions in legislature such as this representation, he will end his term having accomplished more of his promised reforms than any other President in recent memory,” Salceda said.

“The tax reform program he entrusted to me and my committee, and his cooperation and support for tax reforms that I or my committee initiated, has been game-changing for the country,” Salceda added. (end)

Other Press Releases
Statement on the pronouncements against the Public Service Act amendments (RA 11659)
Read More
Statement on the February 2024 jobs report
Read More
Statement on the March 2024 inflation figures
Read More
The problem of access to Senior Citizen healthcare is structural, but it should be addressed alongside other issues with Senior Citizen welfare.
Read More