PCCI pushes for economic reform bills

The incoming government should continue to build on the Duterte administration’s legacy by instituting reforms that would tap the full potential of a competitive business environment to encourage more investments, create more jobs and sustain the country’s economic recovery, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said.

To solidify and further strengthen the country’s economic gains amid the challenges of current geopolitical situation, the Legislative Committee of PCCI has set out the priority legislative agenda for the 19th Congress, in consultation with PCCI’s sectoral committees and partners from the Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport) and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP).

These priority measures are Package 2 (Poverty Valuation and Assessment) 3 Capital Income and Financial Taxes of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program; Capital Market Development Act; Open Access in Data Transmission Act; Better Internet Act 5. Amendment to the Philippine Qualifications Framework Act; Amendment to the Dual Training System Act; Apprenticeship Act; Successful Farmers Development Act amending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL); Magna Carta for MSMEs Act Amendment; Philippine Warehouse Receipts Act Amendment; Amendment or Repeal of the ASIN Act; National Quality Infrastructure Act; and International Trade Maritime Act.

Benedicta Du-Baladad, PCCI’s Director for Legislative and Taxation said the remaining packages in the tax reform program will help the administration to strengthen government’s fiscal position and meet urgent calls on public funds.

However, PCCI Digital Innovation and Science and Technology Committee Chairman Perry Ferrer raised the concern of exporters on the DOF’s proposal to remove the VAT on imports and other tax exemptions seeing these to be detrimental to business. To this, Alberto Fenix, Jr., chairman of the PCCI Human Resource and Development, called for the revival of the PCCI-BIR Tax Consultative Group, where such issues could be discussed.

On the other measures, internet connectivity has been made more urgent as the digitalization process started at the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns accelerate.

Ferrer said the priority bills will allow more market players to participate in building the country’s digital infrastructure, especially in the countryside Under Education Fenix, voiced the significance of the Amendment to the Philippine Qualifications Framework or RA 10968. He also put emphasis on raising TESDA and CHED on to a national level instead of being just a commission.

For the Agriculture and Food Committee, Chair Paul Cuyegkeng, said they will support measures on land reform that promote economies of scale and food security for the country. For the SME and Exports, the sector has pushed for credit access to MSMEs through the Amendment to the Magna for MSMEs and the Philippine Warehouse Receipt Act to improve credit access to MSMEs, and exports’ competitiveness through the National Quality Infrastructure Act, the Amendment to the ASIN Law, ad the drafting of the Customs Amnesty bill.

The Committee also agreed to help the Environment Committee and the ECOP in giving voice to the private sector’s concerns on various measures that could have added costs to business.

Jess Reyes, chairman of the Environment and Climate Change Committee said, they are monitoring the bills on Single-Use Plastics, Extended Users Responsibility and Waste-to-Energy

On labor, Roland Moya of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) informed the committee that ECOP is monitoring various bills proposing security of tenure and abolition of the regional tripartite wages and productivity or nationalization of the wage rates, and the Pension Reform Law.