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MAP priority issues

BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) - March 9, 2017 - 12:00am

The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) is one of the leading business organizations in the country. Its membership is composed of more than 1,000 CEOs, law and auditing partners; and other very senior officials of the largest business enterprises.

Last Tuesday, the MAP national issues committee, chaired by Perry Pe, held its first meeting of 2017, to prioritize the national issues that MAP will focus on during the coming year. The initial decision was to work with other Philippine business groups and joint foreign chambers of commerce to push the Duterte administration to approve certain reform measures.

Last January, 15 business chambers sent a letter to Executive Secretary Medialdea. A partial list of the signatories included the following organization heads: Marife Zamora, Management Association of the Philippines; Ed Chua, Makati Business Club; Nestor Tan, Bankers Association of the Philippines; Benedicta Du-Baladbad, Financial Executives of the Philippines; Dan Lachica, SEIP; Bruce Winton, American Chamber of Commerce; Guenter Taus, European Chamber of Commerce; Yoshio Amano, Japanese Chamber of Commerce; Ho-Ik Lee, Korean Chamber of Commerce; Julian Payne, Canadian Chamber of Commerce; and, Tom Grealy, Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce.

In the letter, the major business organizations listed the 12 most urgent  reform  measures that were chosen, through voting, by the representatives of the business groups. The list, ranked according to the number of votes received, were the following:

• Constitutional Amendments (foreign equity restrictions);

• Comprehensive Tax Reform Package;

• Apprenticeship Program Reform;

• BOT Law amendment;

• Corporate Code amendments;

• Public Service amendments;

• Telecom reforms;

• Water Service Reform Act;

• Bank Secrecy Law amendments;

• Emergency measures to address traffic crisis;

• Retail Trade Act amendments.

During the meeting of the MAP National Issues, the group decided it would focus on five of the 12 measures and agreed to prepare position papers on each of the five issues. These five reform measures chosen for a more detailed discussion included: Cc); comprehensive tax reforms; telecom reforms; emergency measures for the traffic and transportation crisis; and, the BOT law amendments.

During the discussion on proposed constitutional amendments, members expressed apprehension that the Constitutional Assembly would focus on the issues on federalism and other political issues rather than on economic issues like the amendments to the foreign equity restrictions.

The groups also discussed proposals for MAP to set up its own commission to study the issue of federalism and its impact on business. It was pointed out that the issues of federalism will center on two main topics. The first will be the determination of the number and boundaries of the states. The second topic is more complex. This is the determination which powers will be devolved to the states and which one will be retained by the central government.

It was also pointed out that the issues of organizational structure and division of powers should not be left to lawyers and justices. These are decisions that should require inputs from people with different areas of expertise. There should be a conscious and organized effort to consult other sectors like business, academe, civil society and other professionals.

It was mentioned that it seems the first stage of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Measure was about to be passed. Among its provisions would be the reduction of personal income and inheritance taxes. The measure would also include the increase of taxes on oil products and cars.

There was general agreement to support the tax exemption base of P250,000 for wage earners. Among the other topics were to support exemption for the family home from estate tax, the decrease of the estate tax from 20 percent to 6 percent. But there were also a proposal that family homes would be totally exempted from estate taxes.

There were other topics left for future discussion. One topic is the possible entry of the Philippines in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement among the ten ASEAN member states and six other countries including Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand. However, there is also another initiative from countries like Japan, Canada, and Australia to continue with another free trade agreement – the Trans Pacific Partnership- even without the United States.

The year 2017 promises to be a very busy year for MAP and its national issues committee.

Common Train Station

MAP is presently studying a draft statement for the expeditious construction of the common train station on EDSA. Here are excerpts from the draft statement:

“ The (common) site is an optimal solution as it will be situated between the large shopping malls, favoring none while being fair to both and much more to the commuting public. The Agreement is most laudable as it represents an important breakthrough in the almost decades long impasse in the construction of a vital mass transportation hub in Metro Manila and coming so soon after the Duterte administration took over.

“The grand station will finally close the loop consisting MRT3, LRT1 as well as incorporate the recently approved MRT7, which is now under construction. This hub will serve and be for the common benefit of the over a million daily commuters in the three main lines. The design calls for a much larger and more spacious station with a total floor area of 13,700 square meters...it will accommodate three train lines compared to just two in the original plan.”

The proposed common train station will require cooperation among the three train operators and additional investments. This proposal is considered as a vital component in addressing the current traffic crisis.

Creative Nonfiction Writing Class for Adults with Marites D. Vitug on March 11, 2017 at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street.  For registration and fee details text 0917-6240196 or email writethingsph@gmail.com.

 

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