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DOF to support 3 key economic bills in 2018.

By Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) would help in pushing for the passage of proposed measures aiming to raise taxes on "sin" products, slapping import duty on rice and the national ID system.

While they will prioritize the Duterte administration's tax reform package II next year, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the fiscal authorities will support these three bills now pending in the Congress.

"We told them that we will be really focusing on package two which is lowering CIT [corporate income tax tax] together with reviewing fiscal incentives. We would also support review of the sin tax law for both alcohol and tobacco," Dominguez told reporters at the DOF headquarters.

Along with higher excise tax on tobacco and alcoholic beverages, Dominguez said the DOF will also support the tarriffication of rice and the national ID.

Asked about the chances that these measures may be delayed given 2019 is an election year, Dominguez said the passage of the these three-pending bills will depend on the legislators' judgment.

He, however, said the lowering of CIT, higher excise on sin products, slapping a 35-percent tariff on rice, and the national ID could be among the priority measures of the Duterte administration in 2018.

"We understand that there may be other distractions from legislation, that will come up, [but] we want to push this legislation onward," Dominguez said.

The increase in sin taxes was originally included in the DOF's tax reform package five or the so-called "health package."

"I think we have to accelerate it [increase in excise tax]," Dominguez said when asked if the sin tax law is no longer included in the DOF's package five.

The government is considering to slap a 35-percent tariff on rice while providing subsidies to farmers.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) that majority of economic managers were supporting the plan to remove the Philippines' quota on rice importation, as the government moves to lower the prices of the staple food.

Economic managers have been pushing the amendment of the decade-old Republic Act No. 8178 or the Agricultural Tarrification Act of 1996, which had put the rice import quota in place.

In 2014, the World Trade Organization allowed the Philippines to extend its QR on rice until June 30, 2017, in a bid to buy more time for local farmers to prepare for free trade in the light of the government's goal of achieving rice self-sufficiency.

Since the government imposes a quota on rice imports, domestic prices are vulnerable to shocks resulting from meager supply.

The QR puts the burden of rice supply and demand to the government, whereas the market forces are being limited by the quota system.

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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Dec 11, 2017
Words:451
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