Philippines: No more tax reforms to make it out of 17th Congress

  • The 17th Congress will likely end with enactment of the anti-terrorism, the security of tenure and the expanded anti-wiretapping measures, but without any of the remaining tax reforms wanted by the Executive, Senate leaders signalled on 20 May 19.
  • Lawmakers reconvened for the remaining session days of the 17th Congress spanning 20 May 19 – 7 Jun 19. Any measure that fails to make it out of Congress by then will have to start from scratch in the 18th Congress that opens on 22 Jul 19.
  • Senate Bill No. 2204, or the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act is designed to amend Republic Act No. 9372, or the “Human Security Act of 2007,” by redefining terrorism acts punishable by law and easing restrictions for law enforcers.
  • SB 1826, or the proposed Security of Tenure and End of Endo Act, will amend Presidential Decree No. 442, or the Labor Code of the Philippines, by expanding the list of banned forms of contracting.
  • SB 1210, or the proposed Expanded Anti-Wire Tapping Act, will expand coverage of the anti-wiretapping law by prohibiting use of electronic and other modern equipment to listen into or record private communications.
  • These measures await second-reading approval in the Senate, while their counterparts in the House of Representatives had been approved on final reading, except for the anti-terrorism bill which is still in a committee.
  • Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri also said senators planned to question measures proposed by the Department of Finance, after President Rodrigo R. Duterte vetoed bills like the one establishing the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund and the reconstitution of the Philippine Coconut Authority, due to perceived insufficient Executive role, among others.
  • Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto said he will oppose any more tax reforms in the remaining weeks of the current Congress.

External Link: