Senator Sonny Angara
Senator Sonny Angara

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Senator Sonny Angara spoke before the more than 1,400 students and faculty participants who participated in the 6th Regional Business Summit and 2nd Research Colloquium at the Eastern Visayas State University Auditorium.
The event was jointly organized by the Council of Deans and Educators in Business (Region, Council of Economics Educators (Region, Asian Development Foundation College and the Federation of Junior Marketing Association (FJMA).
“We need to update our tax system for social justice and equity. It’s not an issue anymore of macroeconomics or politics. We must build our working middle class, ensure upward mobility, and enable them to comfortably provide for their families and their future,” said Angara, author of Senate Bill No. 130 which seeks to lower the personal income tax rates to 25 percent to make the Philippines more competitive as the country holds the highest income tax rates in the ASEAN region.
The Department of Finance had submitted last Tuesday a list of its tax reform package proposal, including the controversial plan to lift the VAT exemptions granted to senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
“We will definitely study the proposals with utmost care. Of course the committee will make sure that new taxes are justified, and that the gains should be greater than the pain they will cause,” he said, stressing:
“I am quite skeptical on the removal of tax breaks for the blind, for the crippled, for the perpetually bedridden, for persons with disabilities. Any measure that inflicts harm on PWDs fails the compassion test. Having said that, I’m willing to listen to what the DOF will tell us, and what the stakeholders will say.”
The lawmaker, who is also the chairman of the Senate local government committee, has principally sponsored 21 of the more than 60 Senate bills that have been enacted into law from 2013 up to 2016. This includes, among others, the PESO Law, the 13th Month Tax Exemption Law (or the Balikbayan Box Law) and the PWD Law (the VAT exemptions on our PWDs).
Also a known advocate of educational reforms, Angara has filed the One Family, One Graduate Act that aims to ensure that every Filipino family, especially those living in poverty, has at least one college graduate.
He also authored bills on students’ discount, teachers’ salary hike and the bill of rights for new graduates.
The former acting chairperson of the labor committee also filed anew the Magna Carta of Workers in the Informal Economy and the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers.
Angara is currently the vice chair of the following Senate committees: finance, labor, education, and sports. (PR)