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Duterte: Corporate, personal taxes to be lowered

President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the Batasan Pambansa, the seat of the House of Representatives, where he would deliver his first address to the joint session of Congress on Monday, July 25, 2016. Presidential Communications/screenshot

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte in his first State of the Nation on Monday vowed to pursue the long-delayed reform of the corporate and personal tax system.

"We will lower personal and corporate income tax rate," Duterte said, whose proposal was met with applause inside the plenary hall of the House of Representatives.

Duterte said his administration will pursue a "more equitable and more efficient" tax system to "foster investment and job creation."

At the household level, families should also have sufficient income for basic needs, Duterte said.

The current income tax brackets were set in 1997 under the National Internal Revenue Code, wherein earnings of P500,000 a year and more suffer deductions of 32 percent. Critics say average income earners suffer the most under the scheme.

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Duterte also asked Congress to relax the bank secrecy law. Republic Act 1405, or The Law on Secrecy of Bank Deposits, prohibits the disclosure of or inquiry into deposits with any banking institution.

The law has long been criticized for protecting authorities from investigations into assets of wrongdoers. — Camille Diola; Video editing by RP Ocampo

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