CREATE bill should precede Charter Change –Sen. Cayetano

Published January 27, 2021, 6:15 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

If House lawmakers want to push for economic reforms, the first step is to pass the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE bill), Senator Pia Cayetano said on Wednesday.

Sen. Pia Cayetano (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)

Cayetano, during the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws hearing on the various Charter change proposals, said that if lawmakers are bent on improving the economic conditions in the country, inviting more foreign investors to the Philippines and make it easier to transact business with the government, the passage of the CREATE bill would help resolve the matter.

“The first step there would have been (the) CREATE bill. If that is the objective, the first thing that could have been done was to pass CREATE,” Cayetano said during the panel’s virtual hearing.

“We have all the support, not just from the finance team, the economic team of the government, but also from the foreign chambers, that they now support the version of CREATE. So that would have been the first step,” she pointed out.

The CREATE bill primarily seeks to lower the corporate income tax from 30 to 25 percent and for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) earning less than P5-million, 20 percent.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee chair further said the bill also provides more liberal and generous incentives, which are competitive with other Asian countries.

“(Passage into law of CREATE) would really have been the easy step. So I cannot help but wonder, if that is the objective, then why could this bill first not be taken up?” she pointed out.

Cayetano earlier lamented the delay in the passage into law of the CREATE bill which both the Senate and House ratified last year.

According to Cayetano, their counterpart in the Lower House has submitted a “57-page matrix of the changes they want in CREATE (bill)” even after both houses have agreed to adopt the Senate’s version of the measure.

“It’s not for me to judge what the objectives of the House (were), but if that was the objective—to improve the economic conditions (for our people), then this is what would have happened. And it could have happened right away,” the senator stressed.