GMA  UNDERSCORES  PALACE-CONGRESS  TEAMWORK  IN  SOLVING  RP'S  PROBLEMS

MALACANANG,  August 17, 2004
(OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY)
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today that the executive branch and Congress will continue to work as a team to strengthen the economy and provide the political will needed to meet the challenges the country faces.

In a statement on the urgent revenue measures proposed by Malacañang, the President stressed that collective leadership is needed for national survival and ensuring stability in an uncertain world.

"The challenges to the economy from the international front are mounting but I am glad that Congress, particularly the House, has consolidated itself to face the formidable tasks ahead," she said.

The government is pushing for new tax measures designed to generate an estimated P80 billion in additional revenues to bolster the government’s finances.

Apart from the imposition of new taxes, the government has also adopted cost-cutting measures through the rationalization of the bureaucracy and instituted reforms in the procurement system that are expected to generate at least P100 billion.

As of June this year, the budget deficit was placed at P80.1 billion as against the half-year target of P79.5 billion.

In a radio interview Sunday, Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said that even if the Bureau of International Revenue (BIR) manages to collect all the P127 billion tax collectibles, still this would not be enough to solve the country’s ballooning budget deficit problem.

"Hindi lang deficit ang hinahabol natin, siyempre tataas din ang ating mga gastusin sapagkat lumalago ang ekonomiya. Kailangan gumawa ng kalye, kailangan magtayo ng mga classroom, magbigay ng siguradong pangkalusugan sa mga mahihirap. (It’s not only the deficit that we are after. Of course, our expenses will also grow because the economy is growing. We have to build roads, classrooms, render health services to the poor)," he said.

Saludo quoted the President as saying that any new tax measures should be levied first on those who can afford them.

"Kaya sinabi niya na iyong mga panukalang buwis, mayroong kumite na tumitingan niyan. Isa sa kanilang tungkulin ay piliin ang mga panukala na hindi magpapabigat ng lubha sa ating mga mahihirap. Sa halip ay ituon ang pagkolekta doon sa mga may kaya (That’s why she said that there is a committee whose function is to look into the proposed measures and select only those taxes that would affect the rich and not be an additional burden to the poor)," Saludo said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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