Secretary Carlos Dominguez III thanked Friday his fellow workers in the Department of Finance (DOF) for their “excellence, passion and commitment” in working for the passage of the Duterte administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) and other vital measures to help prepare the Philippines for the new economy.
On the occasion of the DOF’s 125th anniversary, Dominguez also thanked the Department’s officials and employees for helping the government maintain fiscal discipline and transition the country’s revenue agencies to digitalization.
“This is the last anniversary of the Department that I will be participating in as your Secretary. However, it is too early to bid you goodbye. There is still much work we have to do together in the coming months before the current presidential term ends,” Dominguez said this morning at the start of the DOF’s anniversary activities.
Dominguez said this work in the last two months of the Duterte presidency includes finalizing a comprehensive fiscal consolidation and resource mobilization plan for the next administration to ease the transition and keep the momentum of the Philippines’ economic recovery from the pandemic.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for the excellence, passion, and commitment you have contributed over the past six years and even more. During this period, the Department of Finance broke through many fronts to prepare our economy for this new world. No secretary can say this with as much conviction as I can: I have had the honor of working with the best agency of this Republic,” he said.
Dominguez said the DOF worked together to complete the country’s “most comprehensive tax reform program ever” that is remarkable for its simplicity, fairness and efficiency, and for benefiting the Filipino people the most in the form of lower tax rates and higher government revenues.
“Several other reform bills are now in the final stages of legislation. We will certainly work hard for their enactment until the last hour of the Duterte administration,” Dominguez said.
The DOF was also able to maintain fiscal discipline and the Philippines’ high credit ratings despite economic difficulties triggered by the pandemic and other external shocks, he said.
Dominguez also cited the rapid digital shift of the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and of Customs (BOC), which enabled the continuous flow of revenues despite the pandemic.
“The DOF plays an indispensable role in moving the Philippine society forward. I am confident that this agency will continue as it has done over the past 125 years: as the core of patriotism and excellence in our country’s governance,” Dominguez said.
The other reforms that the DOF worked on include the Rice Tariffication Act, Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act, Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act and the Amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA), Public Services Act (PSA) and Foreign Investments Act (FIA), Dominguez said.
“Together, we advocated for the passage of vital reforms in our economic policy. The game-changing measures prepare our economy to meet the challenges of this new world,” he said.
Dominguez also recognized the DOF’s key role in resolving the outstanding issues that finally led to the full implementation of the long-dormant Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Law.
The implementation of the REIT Law aggregated capital in the property development sector, widened financial inclusion among Filipinos, and supplemented the other innovative bond offerings designed to broaden participation in the capital market, Dominguez said.
He pointed out that the DOF was able to quickly negotiate urgent financing for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines even before these were tested and approved for emergency use, and for supporting the budgetary requirements needed to provide subsidies to vulnerable sectors and strengthen the public health system.
Dominguez said the DOF also played the lead role in developing “green” financing to help the country address climate change.
“The ground has been broken for us to begin supporting projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Improving our resilience in the face of severe weather events is part of this effort. Averting a climate change crisis is the overarching challenge of the next generation,” he said.
On top of these accomplishments, Dominguez said the DOF also succeeded in recommending the veto of several measures that would have hurt the economy.