Manila, Philippines – The government will not propose new taxes this year despite its resolve to attain inclusive economic growth in the country, a Malacañang official said yesterday. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said President Benigno S. Aquino III will keep his word to refrain from imposing new taxes,
a promise he made when he assumed office in 2010. “Sinusundan pa rin po iyong commitment noong kampanya pa ni Pangulong Aquino sa hindi pagdadagdag ng buwis,” Coloma told reporters in the Palace. [We will abide by the campaign commitment of President Aquino not to increase taxes.] “At sa halip iyong pagpapahusay na lang ng pamamahala para iyong dating natatagas dahil sa corruption ay ma-channel po sa benepisyo ng mga mamamayan,” he added. [Instead, we will improve governance so that funds previously lost to corruption will be channeled to benefit the people.] Coloma acknowledged though that the Aquino government has pursued sin tax reforms to help expand the country’s health services. Also, Coloma said the government was able to raise the budget of government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health, and the Department of Education from 2010 to 2014 “by several multiples without need for raising new taxes.” He explained that government was able to expand services to the public not by new taxes but prudent management of funds. Coloma also affirmed that the government is focused on attaining the goal of inclusive growth by creating more employment and extending social protection to the most needy. He said the implementation of the public-private partnership program has also picked up momentum, citing the successful bidding of some infrastructure projects. “We acknowledged that there are those who differ with us in the way they view the economy. As the President said in his New Year’s message – and I quote – ‘Our minds remain open and we are always ready to listen to those with meaningful ideas and proposals that can help to expand and make permanent our reforms’,” Coloma said.