Palace thanks Congress for passing budget, tax bills

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque (PCOO image)

Malacañang on Thursday, December 14, thanked Congress for ratifying two key measures that would provide sufficient funding for the administration’s priority programs aimed at creating real change in people’s lives.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. in a press briefing expressed gratitude to Congress for approving the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill.

Roque noted that the TRAIN bill, together with other complementary measures to be passed in early 2018, would yield more than P120 billion worth of revenues during its first year of implementation.

He said these added revenues are essential for the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” Program that aims to ramp up government’s infrastructure spending, with the end goal of easing congestion, spurring trade and investment, and reducing poverty.

The Spokesperson further said revenues collected from the new tax package would be used to fund various social protection programs on health, education, and housing.

“The administration is a government of ‘tapang at malasakit’. We will thus ensure that the benefits of tax reform will also be felt by the poor, vulnerable and marginalized,” he said.

The Palace also welcomed the decision of Congress to ratify the P3.767 trillion national budget for 2018, as it reiterated the President’s commitment to using the budget as a tool for change.

With the approval of the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA), the Palace hopes to provide enough funds for the administration’s thrusts, which include reducing inequality, maintaining sustainable development, increasing the country’s growth potential, and enhancing the social fabric.

“The 2018 National Budget is a budget that seeks to reform and transform… we assure everyone that we will use people’s money to good use,” Roque said as he thanked government officials who worked diligently on the measure.

Roque also reiterated the President’s assurance that the problem of underspending during the previous administration will be addressed under his leadership. In the last Cabinet meeting, President Duterte directed the different departments to give reports on their spending levels, Roque announced. p: wjg