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Following the successful consultation dinner of the Kapatid conglomerates with President Duterte two weeks ago, I arranged a meeting with Department of Finance Secretary, Carlos Dominguez, together with the big brother conglomerates. The meeting happened yesterday early morning. It was an insightful meeting which focused on a number of things including taxes, budget allocations, investments, and most importantly, the projects concerning areas of extreme poverty.
Prior to the meeting, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and his team have identified their top 10 areas in the country experiencing extreme poverty. Through the Special Areas of Agricultural Development Program (SAAD), the areas chosen for 2018 will follow 4-3-3 scheme wherein four identified places will be from Mindanao, three from Visayas and three from Luzon. These are: in Mindanao – Sulu, Bukidnon, Compostela Valley and Sultan Kudarat; in Visayas – Siquijor, Southern Leyteand Leyte; and in Luzon – Masbate, Catanduanes and Sorsogon. The mission of Go Negosyo’s Kapatid program is to bring socio-economic development in these areas through infrastructure, food and income security, and capacity building. Secretary Dominguez has assured that the government will be in full support of these programs. He also mentioned that there will be a budget supporting programs for the development of ARMM.
Secretary Dominguez also asked for the support and cooperation of Kapatid conglomerates for his tax reform bill. There are many proposed developments on our country’s tax system. This includes the adjustment of personal income tax bracket, and lowering the donor’s tax rate and estate tax rate to six percent. The Kapatid conglomerates asked for more information and clarification on these tax reforms to which he gladly discussed in detail.
One of the proposals for tax is to have a flat tax. According to him, this proposal is good; however, unconstitutional. In the 1987 Constitution article VI, section 28, paragraph 1 states that “The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation.”
There are a lot of economic developments under President Duterte’s administration. He has created an exemplary economic team composed of Secretary Ramon Lopez, Secretary Carlos Dominguez, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno. Together with the rest of the Cabinet secretaries, they are doing a great job in boosting the economy. Even the Kapatid conglomerates applaud these men for their work on completing the 10-point economic agenda of the government. Tessie Sy-Coson, SM vice-chairperson, even suggested to boost these good business and investment updates so that we will attract more international attention that can lead to more investments.
There are also upcoming projects which will be implemented in the coming years. Investments and foreign trade partnerships are being fostered as well. The government have established an investment coordinating committee composed of Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Tugade, Secretary Ernesto Pernia, and Secretary Carlos Dominguez for all transactions and negotiations with investors which includes China.
The meeting was attended by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Corp.), Teresita Sy-Coson (SM Investments Corp.), George Barcelon (Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Erramon Aboitiz (Aboitiz Equity Ventures), Doris Magsaysay Ho (Magsaysay Group), Alfred Ty (GT Capital Holdings), Cong. Arthur Yap, Ernest Tan Mantiong (Jollibee Food Corp.), Federico Lopez (First Philippine Holdings), Lance Gokongwei (JG Summit Group), Josephine Gotianun-Yap (Filinvest Corp.), Michael Tan (LT Group), and Merly Cruz (Go Negosyo).
We are only seven months in this administration and we are experiencing great developments. We are currently one of the fastest growing economies in the world and have actively played in the global economic arena. As we host this year’s ASEAN, we look forward to a more active business progress in the region. Indeed, positive change has come!
These Kapatid conglomerates are now part of the movement to bring about inclusive growth in the country. We are one in the mission of providing prosperity for all. Our constant communication and close coordination with the President and his government officials strengthen the private-public partnership that we have established since the beginning of his term.
Yesterday, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the appointment of Secretary Ramon Lopez for Department of Trade and Industry and Secretary Manny Piñol for Department of Agriculture. Both secretaries are partners of Go Negosyo in the mission of micro, small, and medium enterprise development.