Senator Sonny Angara said the Senate committee would not proceed with its deliberation of the TRABAHO bill unless government can present definitive data on the impact on jobs.
During a recent senate hearing, Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua insisted that more jobs will be created in the long run under the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High Quality Opportunities (TRABAHO) bill or House Bill 8083 passed by the House of Representatives.
However, Labor Department Director Dominique Tutay admitted that the second package of tax reform, which seeks to lower corporate income tax while cutting cut incentives, might lead to job losses.
Tutay said the DOLE and DOF have yet to complete their joint study on the impact on jobs of TRABAHO bill.
“I’m surprised that the Lower House passed this measure even without such study. The government should really take this issue on jobs seriously. Milyon-milyong trabaho at kabuhayan ng milyon-milyong pamilya ang nakasalalay dito. The bill should stay true to its name–that it would create more jobs rather than kill them,” said Angara, chairman of the ways and means committee.
“I’m surprised that the Lower House passed this measure even without such study. The government should really take this issue on jobs seriously.”
The seasoned legislator also expected the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to present its cost-benefit analysis of the incentives before the committee. But no representative from NEDA was present during the hearing.
DOLE revealed that based on their job displacement monitoring, 30,000 jobs in the industry and services sectors were lost in the first quarter of 2018.
Following the passage of HB 8083, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI) has released a statement that the bill would force them to lay off 140,000 workers.
They said several multinationals are now locating their expansions outside the country, largely due to the uncertainty of keeping their tax incentives here.
HB 8083 provides for P500 million to be used for cash grants for displaced workers. An additional P500 million would be allocated for targeted trainings and skills upgrading.
Chua explained that these are just “contingency funds for possible job losses.”
Based on data from the DOF, a total of 1.7 million direct and 7 million indirect jobs were generated by companies registered with investment promotion agencies (IPAs).
The veteran lawmaker has stressed that the primary goal should be to create high-paying jobs especially in the countryside.
“It seems that the grant of incentives is uneven across regions. We want to spread growth and development in the provinces. Ang hangarin po natin ay lumikha ng trabaho sa rural areas para tulungan silang umangat sa kahirapan,” said the senator who is a known advocate of labor reforms, having authored laws that seek to provide job opportunities to Filipinos.
“It seems that the grant of incentives is uneven across regions. We want to spread growth and development in the provinces.”
DOLE said it would be able to complete its study on the impact on jobs in two weeks.
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