Marcos admin has enough non-tax options to fight inflation, says Salceda

Published August 19, 2022, 6:51 PM

by Seth Cabanban

House Ways and Means chairman and Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda says that there is about P180 billion in non-tax options available to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his administration to counter inflation.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda (Photo from Salceda’s Facebook page)

“There are funds available for him to deploy, to fight inflation, take the first steps towards food security, and protect the country’s economic recovery…at least 180 billion in non-tax sources that are not in the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Funding or BESF can be mobilized quickly,” the economist-solon said in a speech during the first tax symposium of the SyCip Gorres Velayo (SGV) professional services firm on Friday, Aug. 19.

The House tax panel chairman, in his speech, enumerated some of these options, which include:

-Equity withdrawals from government financial institutions after the purpose of such infusions had lapsed under Bayanihan 2

-The discontinuance of undistributed unconditional cash transfers from the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) Law.

-The sale of bunked gas from the Malampaya field to the Ilijan Power Plant

-The privatization of the now-defunct Legazpi Domestic Airport

“PBMM [Marcos] can also undertake a cash sweep similar to what PRRD [Rodrigo Duterte] did in 2019, the privatization of casinos under PAGCOR [Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation], and the streamlining and renationalization of approvals for reclamation projects,” Salceda added.

He clarified that even with an estimated P180 billion in non-tax options, new taxes would still need to be imposed to support the administration’s “aggressive” national infrastructure program. He mentioned increasing taxation on pre-mixed alcoholic beverages, gambling, and mining.

“Our tax make-up is also still heavily on income, at around 53 percent of total internal revenue take. We need to increase our share of tax revenues from taxes on bad habits,” he said.

Salceda added that his committee would do its part to ensure that Marcos could enact his administration’s “Marcosian-sized” public investment programs.

“These efforts will make sure that the President has enough fiscal space to pursue a more ambitious public investment program. We need big visions from President Marcos. His surname evokes largeness. Marcosian means massive. Things like a bridge from Matnog to Allen, from Guimaras to Iloilo, from Mindanao to Leyte. Of course, the larger the vision, the larger the fiscal space needed. My committee will do its best to give him that need,” he concluded.