Sen. Bam Aquino expressed support behind the Senate leadership’s plan to convene as a committee of the whole to discuss the tax reform package being pushed by the Duterte administration.
“There are a number of concerns that need to be addressed with the current version of the tax reform package,” said Sen. Bam, vice chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, ““I will support the move of our Senate leadership.”
The senator said that the committee of the whole can give senators a venue to raise these concerns.
Earlier, President Duterte asked Senate to pass the government’s tax reform package in its entirety during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
However, Sen. Bam said the Senate owes it to the people to go over the measure with a ‘fine-toothed comb” to determine the impact of each provision to prices of commodities, jobs and other economic issues.
“Ang pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin ay seryosong bagay at nararapat lang na gawin ng Senado ang aming tungkulin bilang kinatawan ng taumbayan na suriin ang mga panukalang ito,” said Sen. Bam.
“Interesado ako sa mga probisyon na posibleng makapagtaas sa presyo ng bilihin tulad ng bigas. We don’t want our people to suffer from higher prices of commodities,” he added.
Sen. Bam also promised to scrutinize provisions that will affect employment of Filipinos, such as business process outsourcing or call centers, and the competitiveness of industries and the agriculture sector such as the sugar industry.
“Some farmers groups have already raised concerns on excise tax on sugar and sweetened beverages because it will affect their livelihood,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam also wants to determine the economic impact of each provision of the tax reform package and not just the projected amount of tax that will be collected from it.
As part of his efforts to reduce personal income tax rate, Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 697 that seeks to revise the current income tax bracket set by the National Internal Revenue Code, which was passed in 1997.
The measure seeks to amend Section 24 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, by adjusting the levels of net taxable income and simplifying the nominal tax rates for the purposes of computing the individual income tax.
Sen. Bam is also pushing to lower taxes for small business through Senate Bill No. 169 or the Small Business Tax Reform Act.