Fears of a looming debt crisis were immediately allayed last Tuesday by Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M Angara after getting strong assurance from Finance Minister Benjamin Diokno that the Philippines would not go the way of Asian countries, including Sri Lanka and other nations. Asian neighbor.
“There was a lot of speculation about our debt, with Sri Lanka cases and some of these reductions,” Senator Angara noted but quickly sought “strong assurances” from our finance officials and our economic directors that we would not go this way, and that the debt was still at a manageable level. ?”
The senator raised the issue during the organizational meeting of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means that included a briefing from Treasury officials chaired by Minister Benjamin E. Diokno, who emphasized that the country had “always been careful in its loans.”
Diokno also credited tax reform laws passed by Congress, saying these “were critical to keeping the economy afloat” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I can assure you, with honors, that we will not go the way of Sri Lanka,” the chief of finance told the Senate committee.
Tax evaders and smugglers
At the same hearing, Senator Maria Lord “Nancy” S. Benay also to confirm whether the government is winning the campaign against tax evaders and smugglers.
Binay said she was curious to see if BIR and BOC had caught the “big fish” in their respective campaigns.
“I asked this because there is an impression that our campaign against tax evaders and smugglers is not a deterrent simply because no one knows how many have been convicted of these crimes.”
Benay noted, “It’s easy to file a case but an actual indictment of smugglers and tax evaders, I think, is something our campaign lacks.” This immediately resulted in a response from the BOC and BIR officials present who confirmed that they would “make a detailed report” on the cases brought by their agencies, including the “actual number of cases won” by the two agencies.
Meanwhile, Senator Pia S. Caetano for the tax-free import of hospital equipment during the regulatory meeting of the Senate Ways and Means Committee also on Tuesday.
He recalled that President Marcos had stressed in his State of the Nation (SONA) address the need to establish specialized hospitals in other parts of the country.
“I support that; I have a bill on that,” the senator said. “But the most effective way to do that is to connect these specialty services to existing regional hospitals rather than building new ones.”
In this note, Caetano added: “On the tax issue, my question is, will it be the Ministry of Finance [Department of Finance] At least be willing to consider, for a limited time, the tax-free and duty-free import of medical equipment? “
In turn, Dyukno confirmed that the Ministry of Finance “will consider importing equipment for specialized hospitals as an exemption from the rule for granting tax exemptions.”
Meanwhile, Senator Sherwin T. Gachalian, who chaired the organizational meeting of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Tuesday, confirmed that the committee will perform its functions as the “legislative guardian of the taxpayer.”
As such, Jachalian pledged to “balance the interests of government and stakeholders, ensuring that government revenue is effectively allocated to economic and social developments.
Gatchalian said: “With the passing decades of many tax measures that have upheld and strengthened the government’s right to demand and collect taxes from the people, it is time to enact legislation and adopt policies that will enhance and protect the rights and privileges of those on whom it is taxed, and these are none other than the taxpayer. Dear ones.”