By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Thursday appealed for support from the business community for the government’s post-COVID-19 plans to accelerate the recovery of the country’s economy.
“The businessmen can help by investing in the provinces. [And] the government will be giving incentives to encourage you to invest,” Go said in his opening speech during a virtual meeting with the officials and key members of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII).
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, also asked the private sector to support the government’s fight against corruption.
“I am also asking you to help us with President Duterte in the fight against corruption in government,” he said.
“If somebody will approach and coerce you or ask for bribe, please tell us. Do not tolerate it and do not just keep it for yourself. Rest assured that we will protect you and your businesses,” he said in Pilipino.
He detailed plans the government has formulated to respond to the socio-economic effects brought by the pandemic.
“First, the government will restart and accelerate its ‘Build, Build, Build’ (BBB) Program, subject to strict health standards to protect its workers,” Go said.
To further intensify the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID19), Go said that the government would do mass hiring of contact tracers.
The senator from Davao also explained the existing government programs aimed to combat the health emergency.
“The government is balancing everything. Of course, the health of the Filipino is still the priority. But, we cannot also set aside the economy which is the lifeline of the country,” he said in Pilipino.
Go also detailed the various assistance provided by the government to help Filipinos get through the emergency, among them the COVID19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises Program through the Department of Trade and Industry, COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program of the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Small Business Wage Subsidy Program through the Social Security System.
He stressed that the government seeks to attract foreign investors to relocate from other countries to the Philippines by passing Package 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program, which include flexible tax and non-tax incentives as proposed by the Department of Finance (DOF).
As a lawmaker, Go said that he would study the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Bill or CREATE Bill.
“Once passed into law, the CREATE bill can help the businesses,” he said in Pilipino.
“The CREATE bill would require corporations to pay only 25 percent corporate income tax starting July 2020, instead of a gradual decrease of one percent per year from the current 30 percent corporate income tax rate, as provided in the CITIRA (Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act),” he further explained.
To further boost the economy, the government will stimulate consumer spending by reviving manufacturing of products that have strong, inelastic demand, especially food production and logistics, according to Go.
To further help the country recover from the pandemic, Go shared the vision of the government’s Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, of which he is the main proponent.
Through the program, Go said that the government hopes to achieve equitable development in all regions, not just in Metro Manila and other metropolitan areas.