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CITIRA can boost interest in COVID-19 response industries –Sen. Cayetano

The proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act (CITIRA) may be used to encourage the business sector to invest in industries that would be needed in the Philippines as it grapples with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Senator Pia Cayetano said on Tuesday.

"I see the opportunity for CITIRA to be used to incentivize the industries that we need right now," Cayetano, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said in a virtual conference.

She acknowledged that some parts of the bill would need to be recalibrated in line with the health emergency situation.

"We might have to go back to the drawing board kasi there's a new situation 'di ba? So obviously mai-incentivize din 'yung mga company that would be investing in products that would make us self-reliant. For example, 'yung makagawa tayo ng sariling PPEs natin 'di ba," she explained.

Cayetano said that under the proposed CITIRA, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board—led by the heads of the Department of Finance and Department of Trade and Industry—would determine these sectors that should be given incentives.

Further, the senator said that the measure could also complement the proposed Balik-Probinsya program by giving incentives to investors who would support rural development.

The said program was being pushed by Senate Committee on Health chair Christopher "Bong" Go to decongest Metro Manila once the health situation stabilized, and to prevent the occurrence of other outbreaks like COVID-19.

Other considerations on the corporate income tax reduction side of the proposed CITIRA may also be discussed with the economic managers, according to Cayetano.

Under the bill, the corporate income tax rate for domestic and resident foreign corporations would gradually be reduced from 30% to 20% by 2029.

"Kailangan i-project ni DOF kung ano ang effect given na COVID 'di ba? So I have to get the signal from them," Cayetano said.

President Rodrigo Duterte certified the CITIRA bill as urgent last March. — DVM, GMA News