ABS-CBN News : 'Economic recovery plan' needed to guide fiscal policy, debt repayment: Marcos Jr

By Jessica Fenol | ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President-elect Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr on Thursday said the Philippines should have an economic recovery plan that would guide the country's fiscal policies including its debt repayment strategy.

Marcos issued the statement a day after the Department of Finance proposed imposing new taxes and deferring income tax reductions, to pay over P3.2 trillion in new debt accumulated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We need to have an economic recovery plan and the fiscal policy will follow that. Whatever changes in fiscal policy were going to undertake, we have to think it through properly…We have to be circumspect in sudden changes," he said.

The incoming president also said there should be no sudden tax movements, which would hurt the poor.

"What I will try to apply is that there will be a, hindi lang kuha tayo sa sin tax, kuha tayo sa oil, kuha tayo sa housing, kuha sa cooperative. Kailangan talaga may plano tayo. Gagawin natin ang plano natin and the fiscal policy is going to follow that," he added.

(We can't just get from different sources. What we need is plan. We will make a plan and the fiscal policy will follow that)

Although the incoming administration will inherit a recovering economy, it will also be responsible for trimming a total national debt of P12.68 trillion, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 63.5 percent, which is slightly higher than the international standard of 60 percent.

Marcos said taxes should be reduced for those affected by the pandemic such as the micro, small and medium enterprises, agriculture and transport.

"With my discussions with legislators yesterday, we are trying to create some fiscal space so as to reduce the load on ordinary citizen and maybe move the load up, the tax load up and there is also distribution of wealth implication to that," Marcos said.

He also said he also wants to "balance" taxation.

"The distribution of wealth dito sa Pilipinas has not been unequitable. That’s something that the fiscal policy will hope to balance, achieve a better balance," he added.

The Philippine economy grew 8.3 percent in the first quarter. Economic managers have said that the challenge now would be maintaining a robust economy.