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Dumaguete City, Philippines Tuesday, September 5, 2017
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No need for additional
taxes, solon says

A partylist solon reiterated his opposition to the tax reform package of the Duterte government.

Rep. Harry Roque (Kabayan Partylist), who visited Dumaguete City recently, said he believes there is no need for additional taxes because the government, at this point, is under-spending its budget.

He has offered a solution to government under-spending in a proposed bill dubbed “Brave”, which he considered as a budget reform for village empowerment.

He said that if the national government cannot spend its budget for a certain fiscal year, it would be better to give the money to local government units that need them the most.

Roque's proposal is to extend P1 billion for a three-year development plan to every provincial government nationwide, P500 million to cities, P300 million to municipalities, and P5 million for every barangay.

Ironically, Roque said this proposal is being met with stiff opposition, despite the fact that amendment of the Constitution to give way to a federal form of government is one of the priorities of the administration that when approved will allocate more funds to the LGUs.

He told everyone who are opposed to his proposal that they cannot just support federalism and not realize that the national budget will shrink because 70 percent of the budget will go to LGUs.

Roque added that under a federal form of government, only 30 percent of the national budget will be legislated by Congress, project identification by congressmen is removed, and instead will go to the mayors and governors.

Meanwhile, he said he cannot argue against the Speaker of the House who has already said that the Commission on Human Rights will get a one-peso budget.

He said CHR Commissioner Chito Gascon is his good friend, but the damage he has caused to the institution for accepting the post of the chairman of CHR is so big. He is not just a card bearing member of the Liberal Party but the secretary general, he said.

Roque said this is the reason why human rights become so unpopular lately because people have identified human rights with the LP. And because the Liberal Party's popularity is so low nowadays, human rights enforcement also suffered because it is identified as a partisan political issue, he said.

“Unless we appoint a chairman who is above politics, I'm afraid people will always view human rights as a political issue and will view it as a Liberal Party issue, and will not like it because they have to face it, the President enjoys an unprecedented popularity right now,” Roque said.*JG


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