Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Duterte administration has proven its steadfast resolve and capability to shepherd tough reforms and to carry out big-ticket infrastructure projects on time and within the targeted budget deficit ceiling.
KJ Rosales/File
DOF commits to push ‘game-changing’ reforms
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2019 - 12:00am

Dominguez trumpets gains in Washington forum

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) has committed to pursue game-changing reforms by leveraging on the broad and deep popular support as well as the strong political will of President Duterte.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Duterte administration has proven its steadfast resolve and capability to shepherd tough reforms and to carry out big-ticket infrastructure projects on time and within the targeted budget deficit ceiling.

“We are very fortunate to have a President whose latest approval rating is 79 percent. We have a President who has a large fund of political capital, and he knows that by using his political capital, it actually increases it rather than bring it down. That is the most fundamental factor we have,” Dominguez said during a recent business forum in Washington.

These measures include the first package of the tax reform program, which slashed personal income tax (PIT) rates for the benefit of 99 percent of individual taxpayers while adjusting excise taxes on fuel, automobiles, mining and non-essential products; a new law further strengthening the central bank, the national ID system, adoption of digital technologies and new platforms to improve governance and improve the ease of doing business, and a  law liberalizing rice trade in order to pull down the cost of the staple.

Dominguez added the government carried out such reforms absent of a crisis and without any external influence compelling it to implement them.

“We have a very tough President, and one popular enough to face down entrenched interests. That’s number one,” Dominguez said.

 In the latest survey done by the independent polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS), President Duterte’s net satisfaction rating went up from plus-60 in December 2018 to plus-66 in the first quarter, which is within the “very good” range.

The survey found 79 percent of adult Filipinos satisfied with the President’s performance, and only 13 percent dissatisfied and eight percent undecided.

Dominguez said another key factor is President Duterte given his broad experience in governance, having managed one of the Philippines’ largest cities—Davao—as mayor for 20 years.

Among the reforms implemented under the watch of Duterte, rice tariffication will not only bring down the cost of the Filipino’s food staple and push down inflation, but will also “greatly add to the flexibility of the economy, and open the door to dramatic changes in the  agriculture” sector, Dominguez said.

Tax reform, meanwhile, has cut PIT rates for most individual taxpayers, increasing their spending power as indicated by “rising demand and improved profitability of domestic enterprises across the board.

Moreover, this tax reform law attained 108 percent of its revenue target in its first year of implementation and improved revenue flows for the government, with the Philippines’ tax effort now at 14.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

 The Philippines recently bagged an outlook upgrade to positive from stable from Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) and a one-notch rating upgrade from S&P Global Ratings.

Both debt watchers assigned a BBB+ rating on the Philippines, a notch below the much coveted A scale and two notches above minimum investment grade.

CARLOS DOMINGUEZ III DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with