The Department of Finance urged Congress to pass the remaining tax packages plus other priority reforms of the government to help the country recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

During the virtual Sulong Pilipinas 2021 forum on Monday, April 26, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government is fully committed to restore the pre-pandemic upward trajectory of the economy as well as achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (Photo credit:

“Even with the unprecedented crisis, the Duterte administration will continue to work hard until the last minute of its term to undertake the remaining reforms we had set out to do in our zero-to-ten-point socioeconomic agenda,” Dominguez said.

The finance chief urged lawmakers to pass the bill seeking to deepen the domestic capital markets by building a sustainable

corporate pension system, along with another measure that aims to save the Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) pension program.

He also asked Congress to pass the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) bill along with the two remaining packages of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP).

Congress should also speed up the approval of the amended Foreign Investments Act (FIA), Public Service Act (PSA) and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA), which President Duterte has certified as urgent, Dominguez said.

Meanwhile, Dominguez said the government will keep intact its huge budget for infrastructure development, citing the program’s high multiplier to the economy. 

Infrastructure spending will be the main driver of the country’s economic recovery story, he said.

The government has programmed to increase infrastructure spending to more than five percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) until the end of the Duterte administration. 

Dominguez added the government will continue its digital reforms at the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of

Customs to ensure that these agencies “match the efficiencies of the best comparable institutions worldwide.” 

To safely reopen the economy and restore jobs and incomes, Dominguez said the government is likewise committed in rolling out its COVID-19 vaccination program to inoculate at least 70 million Filipinos or 100 percent of our adult population, hopefully within the year. 

Despite supply challenges worldwide, the government has arranged the delivery of more than 140 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for this year, of which about 15 percent will be delivered in the first half and 85 percent in the second, Dominguez said. 

Most of the financing needed for the vaccination program was sourced through loans from the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), according to Dominguez, adding that the financing strategy was chosen to assure the public that the vaccines being bought are internationally accepted, have passed the stringent criteria for safety and effectiveness, and that their procurement is totally transparent.

Source: Manila Bulletin (