Belmonte thumbs down on next admin’s VAT increase plan

MANILA — The economic team of Duterte administration should consider the hike in value added tax (VAT) as the last option in generating funds for various government projects, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., said on Tuesday.

Belmonte said the Duterte economic team should first look on how they can increase collection without creating any additional tax.

“I will not support it. Yung VAT ay binabayaran including the poor. Pag-aralan natin yung rule system kaya ako i suggest na pag-aralan natin ang tax system natin. I think we need some overhauling,” Belmonte told reporters after the inauguration of the new building where the House archives, library and museum can be found..

His reaction is based on the plan of increasing VAT from 12 percent to 15 percent which is being floated by incoming Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno.

Dominguez argued that his recommendation to incoming President Rodrigo Duterte is to assure that there is enough standby funds for future infrastructure projects of the government.

The speaker said he will personally block the idea unless the economic team can substantiate the need of another round of tax increase.

“Instead of taking what could be an easy way out increasing the VAT to 15 (percent) and you can always say in other countries its 15 (percent) and some are 16 (percent) pero it should not be an excuse. Marami sa atin ang cannot afford even the current rates tapos tataasan mo pa yung VAT on all goods and services,” Belmonte explained.

When asked waht could be his suggestion to replace the additional three percent increase in VAT, he said “the incoming budget secretary is a veteran should learn to use their imagination and expertise.”

“Maybe their experienced in governance can guide them look for other avenues other than increasing VAT,” he pointed out.

For big businesses he said, will only exercise the “pass on attitude” and the loser is the end consumer, mostly the common people. Sammy Martin/PNA/