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Ralph Recto: No plans to impose new taxes

The Department of Finance (DOF), under the leadership of newly appointed Finance Secretary Ralph Recto, will not pursue the imposition of additional taxes.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Recto said that since additional taxes are "inflationary as well" and with a high inflation environment, "I don't think now is the time to impose."

"Frankly speaking, there are no plans on imposing additional new taxes," the Finance chief said.

With a goal of collecting P4.3 trillion in revenues this year, the chief economic manager of the Marcos administration said that without imposing new taxes, "our first job is to collect what is on the table."

Collection efficiency through expediting the implementation of Ease of Paying Taxes, digitalization initiatives of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC), and an intensified anti-corruption drive will be the focus of the DOF to achieve the government's collection goal.

While no new taxes will be pushed, Recto said that he will continue to pursue the passage of the tax measures pushed by his predecessor, former finance secretary Benjamin Diokno.

"[B]ut we will refine them. In fact, we are putting a lot of work in the few days," the Finance chief said, noting that the DOF will be presenting its "fine-tuned" proposals to the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).

"We're tweaking them… so the fine-tuning we are doing is… it is fairer, easy to collect, practical," Recto said.

Among the tax measures pursued by Diokno are the Package 3 of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), or the Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform (RPVAR), Package 4 of the CTRP or the Passive Income and Financial Intermediaries Taxation Act (PIFITA), as well as the rationalization of the mining fiscal regime and the Motor Vehicle Road User's Tax (MVRUT).

Diokno also proposed additional excise taxes on sweetened beverages and junk food, and single-use plastics (SUPs).

Recto, however, said the proposed increase in MVRUT will be tempered "because I think that, you know, motorists pay a lot of taxes… there are excise taxes and (value-added tax) on oil, there are excise taxes, duties, and VAT on vehicles."

Regarding the proposal to impose additional excise taxes on sweetened beverages and junk food, the Finance chief said the previous DOF leadership already scrapped it.

"I don't intend to put it back. The Executive did not prepare a bill anyway, I'm not considering it… inflation is high," Recto said.

The Finance chief made a commitment that no new consumption-based taxes will be pursued. — VDV, GMA Integrated News