Duterte’s SONA: Music to businessmen’s ears

July 28, 2016 at 09:00

Duterte’s SONA: Music to businessmen’s ears

by Bernie Magkilat | July 26, 2016 (updated)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's first SONA/MB File

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s first SONA/MB File

The first State off the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte generated strong support from the business community, calling the President’s directives and policy pronouncements music to every businessman’s ears.

Francis Chua, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP) and chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), cited the President’s candidness in his address to the nation.

Notably, he said, the President has ordered to reduce business registration to only three days.  He also ordered the reduction of income tax rates for both individual and corporations. Likewise, the President has called for the relaxation of the economic restrictions in the Constitution to allow more foreign investments into the country.

“The President has again reiterated that ease of doing business as mandatory, reduction of personal and corporate income tax, clean government. All of these are music to the business sector’s ears,” said Chua.

The Makati Business Club, which was critical to Duterte during the presidential campaign, lauded the

President’s very comprehensive SONA.

“We believe that the SONA was very comprehensive and was able to detail a clear vision for the next few years. He was able to set a strong tone from the top that while there will be a strong stance against criminality and drugs, abuse of authority will not be tolerated. We welcome the inclusion in the SONA of priorities critical to doing business and furthering the country’s competitiveness, including significant reduction in red tape, tax reform, massive infrastructure investments, and improvement of current macroeconomic policies. We greatly appreciate that recommendations from the Sulong Pilipinas consultations were included, which illustrates the administration’s commitment towards dialogue and partnership. We hope that this process continues and that it will be expanded to include civil society and other cause-oriented groups,” said MBC Executive Director Peter Angelo Perfecto.

“The President has again also made clear his commitment to address crime and bring about peace. The declaration of a unilateral ceasefire and the call to correct historical injustices is a very bold move and sends a strong signal that the government is serious about ensuring permanent and lasting peace.

Significantly, he was able to effectively show that he cares for improving the people’s welfare, whether in the small aspects of eliminating long lines, extending the validity of licenses and passports, and opening communication outlets for Muslims and indigenous peoples,” Perfecto said.

PCCI President George Barcelon lauded the President for his policy to move forward and to leave the past behind. Duterte said in his SONA that “Vindictiveness is not in my system.”

Barcelon said that businessmen reacted very positively on his directive to reduce income taxes because the Philippines has one of the highest income tax rates in the region. This will not only mean higher income but will also improve the competitiveness of businesses, he said.

“One third of his speech is about drugs and he is accomplishing that,” he said adding that businesses also lauded the President’s decision to solve traffic crisis in Metro Manila. He also outlined his vision to put up more railways in Luzon, Davao and Cebu.

With that Barcelon said PCCI will be supporting Duterte’s call for Congress to grant him emergency powers to solve the traffic crisis in Manila.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation, said the President delivered a very comprehensive in his one a half-hour SONA.

“What was expected to be the shortest SONA ended up to be one of the longest but there is nothing that he did not dwell on from peace and order to economy to OFWs, tourism, education, traffic anything,” Ortiz-Luis said.

“He got carried away but he carried everything in other portions of his speck. I would think that by all standards the business community agrees with the President,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Sonny Angara said cited the President’s statement to lower both corporate and individual income tax rates.

“If I am given the leadership of the ways and means committee, we will prioritize these measures but we will need the help of the Lower House since all tax measures must originate from them under our Constitution,” said Angara.

Source: https://www.mb.com.ph/dutertes-sona-music-to-businessmens-ears/

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