If the government needs more funds for programs to help the country deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, selling government assets is preferable to new taxes.
This according to House Minority Leader Benny Abante Jr., who in a media interview said he would oppose any proposal for new taxes when Congress resumes its sessions
“If we can sell those assets… we should prioritize private Filipino companies.”
Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III had earlier announced that the government will attempt to raise P1.1 trillion to cushion the economic fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has infected a total of 4,648 people in the country and claimed the lives of 297 individuals.
Abante, a member of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act joint congressional oversight committee, said that selling government assets is “better than Sec. Dominguez pushing more tax measures to Congress when Congress resumes sessions.”
“I don’t think I will support anymore tax measures when sessions resume.”
The lawmaker warnsthat while the President has the power to realign the budget and reallocate the government’s financial resources, the huge logistical demands of the country’s COVID-19 response would soon strain the government’s coffers.
The legislator said that he was amenable to proposals to sell government assets, particularly those that belong to GOCCs, but he urges the administration to offer to sell those assets to Filipino companies.
“If we can sell those assets… we should prioritize private Filipino companies. Why don’t we offer to Filipinos first before offering to foreigners?”
Abante added, however, that the Philippine Competition Commission should ensure that the sale of these government assets to Filipino companies would not result in monopolies or cartels.