The Duterte administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Package is expected to be approved by the House of Representatives before Congress adjourns its first regular session at the end of May, House leaders said on Wednesday.

“We are confident, in the leadership of our Speaker and Majority Leader spearheading the supermajority, almost 100 percent na maipapasa,” Quirino Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua, chair of the committee of ways and means, said Wednesday.

Lower Income Tax, Other Tax Reforms Passed at End of May

Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said the bill would be sponsored in the plenary on Monday next week, with a vote on second reading expected on Wednesday.

They expect approval on third and final reading the following week.

“The Speaker wants it bago kami mag-adjourn ng May 31, para by the second regular session, it will be in the hands of the Senate. Kami budget deliberations na,” Fariñas said.

The leadership called for an all-party caucus on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the measure, which seeks to lower personal income tax rates, while increasing excise tax rates on petroleum products and expanding the value-added tax base as compensating measures.

The substitute bill that the Ways and Means committee approved last May 3 also includes an excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno were present during the meeting, along with Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez, the agency’s spokesperson and daughter of the Speaker.

“The objective was to thresh out the issues para pagdating sa plenary maging smooth-sailing na,” Cua said. “Naging maganda ‘yung usapan; maraming na-enlighten sa issue ng Tax Reform Package.”

Fariñas said lawmakers were given until Monday noon to submit their proposed amendments to the measure.

“If there will be few, then we can introduce it in the plenary. If there are a lot, then we will have a substitute bill,” he said.

Cua noted that the “most contentious” issues during the caucus included excise tax on fuel, as well as VAT exemptions, notably those on cooperatives.

“Sa aking personal [view], I’m not speaking for the majority, sa tingin ko the result of the committee report is the best possible version that can come out. Pero puwede pa namang ma-improve, kaya welcome silang mag-submit [ng proposed amendments],” he said.