The Department of Finance has batted for the inclusion of key economic reforms—including new mining revenue and fiscal incentives bills—in the list of legislations the President will ask the 16th Congress to pass, a Cabinet official said over the weekend.
"We're in the process of getting the inputs of all the members of economic clusters. On our part, the DOF have bills we'd like to push," said Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima.
The Finance chief was referring to updates on the drafting of the new Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council's (LEDAC) list of priority bills.
Purisima said his department's pet bills include the "mining revenue regime, the revised one, [and] the rationalization of incentives."
The Executive has already finished its version of the mining revenue regime to be presented before the Chamber of Mines, a key private sector stakeholder in the minerals industry.
"What we're looking is one that will result in fairer, more equitable sharing of revenues," said Purisima.
It is also "something that is simple and easy to implement... [and] something that has the flexibility to reflect increases and decreases in metal prices," he added.
If the Chamber agrees with the new regime's condition, it will then be submitted for President Benigno S. Aquino III's nod.
"In between now and the third week of July, we should be doing that," Purisima said, when asked for the schedule of consultations with the Chamber of Mines.
Last year, Aquino asked economic managers to come up with a bill amending the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 amid heightening issues on revenue sharing between the national and local governments.
A new Executive version of the fiscal incentives bill, meanwhile, could be agreed upon soon. "We're very close to agreeing in principle," said Purisima.
The so-called fiscal incentives bill—aimed at streamlining tax breaks given to businesses—was at the forefront of the LEDAC, but did not prosper during the 15th Congress.
On August 19, 2011, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 4935, granting tax breaks to exporters but limiting income tax holidays for domestic enterprises to four years.
But the Senate was not able to pass a counterpart measure, as it was waiting for a unified Executive version. Earlier, the Finance and Trade departments locked horns over the length and type of incentives.
In an interview last February, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the mining and incentives bills are likely to be drafted into the LEDAC.
The DOF has, likewise, thrown its support behind the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas's bid to amend its Charter.
The Charter amendment could include putting more teeth to regulatory powers and fresh capitalization in the central bank, which has suffered losses in the last three years.
Purisima said other measures his department wants passed include the transparency and accountability bill and the amendment of the Build Operate Transfer law.
Currently, legislators are on break in the run-up to the May 13 elections, on Monday. They will resume for a short, week-long session in June.
Work, however, is only seen to go full-swing when the 16th Congress opens and new legislative leaders are sworn in.
(Source: BM, GMA News)