During his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, Duterte called on lawmakers to speed up the passage of bills creating the Department of Disaster Resilience and the Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission.
Krizjohn Rosales
Gov’t readies funds for 3 new departments
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - July 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government is ready to provide funds for the establishment and operation of three new departments being pushed by President Duterte, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

During his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, Duterte called on lawmakers to speed up the passage of bills creating the Department of Disaster Resilience and the Department of Water Resources and Water Regulatory Commission.

He also called for the establishment of a Department of Overseas Filipinos to ensure the protection and welfare of Filipinos working abroad.

“We fully support the initiatives of the President to improve services to the OFWs, to properly manage our water resources and to prepare for natural disasters. Funds will be provided for these priority programs,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a text message.

Budget Secretary Janet Abuel committed to provide funding support to the government’s priority programs, as enumerated by Duterte during his SONA, taking into consideration the government’s limited resources.

“We have heard all the priority programs and projects of all our agencies, consistent with the priority of the President. Of course, our role would be to support that with the aim of balancing it with the finite fiscal resources that we have and also considering the macroeconomic assumptions, our medium term growth assumptions, as well as long-term fiscal sustainability,” Abuel said.

“So we commit to work with all of our agencies, the secretaries, in order to be able provide in the most efficient manner their budgets for 2019, as well as the requirements for 2020 and the succeeding years,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dominguez said the DOF would speed up the digitization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Social Security System (SSS), in line with the directives of the President.

He said the DOF is also putting in place measures to make the Philippine Tax Academy fully operational to further professionalize employees of the BIR and BOC, plus the Bureau of Local Government Finance.

“As we are widening the tax base, thereby increasing revenues, we are also strengthening enforcement and improving tax administration to raise revenue collection, maximize efficiency and minimize leakages and weed out corruption,” Dominguez said.

The finance chief also expressed hope that Duterte’s call for the passage of the remaining packages of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) would encourage lawmakers to approve these reforms within the year.

 “We are hoping that the President’s latest pitch for tax reform in his 4th SONA would serve as a strong impetus for the members of the 18th Congress to act on the remaining CTRP packages along with the new excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol products before the year is over,” Dominguez said.

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE RODRIGO DUTERTE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS
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