Lawmakers uncertain TRAIN 2 will be passed by yearend

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 27) — Lawmakers on Friday expressed doubts that the second package of the administration's tax reform program will be passed this year.

Passing the second package of the tax reform law, also known as Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) 2, within the year was one of the legislative priorities mentioned in President Rodrigo Duterte's third State of the Nation Address. TRAIN 2 aims to lower corporate income tax and reduce fiscal incentives offered to businesses.

Rep. Dakila Cua, chair of the House ways and means committee, said that the recent shuffle in leadership in Congress may affect who would end up having to shepherd the tax reform bill.

Cua said that it is possible that new House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would want to take over committee leadership. He added that as an economist, Arroyo would be able to keenly look into the TRAIN 2.

"That's very possible with the strong leadership and decisive decision-making of the President tsaka with the new leadership in the House that's very well in-depth with economics," Cua told reporters Friday.

He said that despite these setbacks, they are taking steps to follow the President's directive.

"We're working on it. We're moving forward and we're taking the steps to answer the call of the President na i-shepherd yung bill," Cua said.

Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, chair of the Senate ways and means committee, on the other hand, said that the bill will face an uphill battle once it is forwarded to the Senate.

"With the pronouncements of Senator Sotto, Zubiri, I think we need to take time to get a consensus among the senators as to this bill," Angara said.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had previously said that tax reform is not a part of the Senate's priorities.

READ: Charter change, tax reform not included in Senate's priority agenda — majority leader

According to Zubiri, some businesses have told them that they would move out of the Philippines if fiscal incentives are removed.

However, according to the British Chamber of Commerce, lowering corporate income taxes would make it more enticing for British firms to invest in the Philippines.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, British Chamber of Commerce Chair Chris Nelson said that several British firms are looking forward to invest in the country's retail and infrastructure sectors.

"I think reducing the corporate tax, getting companies to do more investments, is a great move. Needs to be balanced, of course, with the fiscal incentives," Nelson said.

CNN Philippines' business news producer Jil Danielle Caro contributed to this report.