Ex-NEDA chief: Marcos should settle his tax obligations to encourage Filipinos to pay taxes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 29) – President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. must settle his tax obligations so Filipinos will be encouraged to pay taxes.

This is the unsolicited advice of former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Ernesto Pernia as the Marcos administration seeks additional government revenues amid the COVID-19 pandemic and rising prices of basic commodities.

“Maybe he should give the example of paying his taxes, so that people will be encouraged to deliver on taxes especially those who are able to evade taxes,” Pernia told CNN Philippines’ The Exchange on Friday.

In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled with finality that the Marcos family owed the government ₱23 billion in estate tax. The tax liability has allegedly ballooned to ₱203 billion due to penalties and surcharges.

The tax debt became a campaign issue for the son of former strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos, who eventually won the presidential race in May.

Marcos’ political party Partido Federal ng Pilipinas agreed that the high court's ruling on the ₱23-billion tax liability is final and executory, but the surcharges over the past years could still be subject to reconciliation.

Pernia said proper tax administration will be the key for the Marcos administration to raise revenues amid the huge national debt brought by the government's pandemic response.

The former NEDA chief agreed that taxing digital transactions is a good source of additional revenues.

“You can get around ₱3 billion from that exercise,” Pernia said.

The country’s total borrowings have reached ₱12.5 trillion as of end-May.

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