Recto gets back at Henares

Posted on October 12, 2012

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MANILA, Philippines—Saying he, too, lost sleep, Sen. Ralph Recto on Friday took exception to the Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares’ statement that finance department and internal revenue staff felt betrayed after working long hours to cooperate with the Senate committee on ways and means for a version of the sin tax reform bill acceptable to the administration.

Henares made the remarks after Recto presented on Wednesday in the Senate a version of the bill that targets revenue of only P15 billion in the first year rather than P60 billion, which was the original objective of the Department of Finance, the Department of Health, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

“They were not the only ones that lost sleep here. My staff and I also worked long hours the last two weeks to come up with this committee report,” Recto told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.

Recto said the harsh words he received could have been more appropriate if he had just sat on the measure instead of working hard to come up with what he thought was the right balance between revenue generation and preventing industries from getting taxed to extinction.

“Let’s debate on this. This is just the initial presentation,” Recto said in reaction to criticism that his committee’s version provides for tax rates that are not sufficient generate enough revenues for the government’s health programs nor make a dent in the consumption of alcohol and cigarette use.

Recto stressed that based on the figures submitted by the DOF and BIR, his proposal was more realistic in generating revenues and decreasing consumption of sin products than the provisions the agencies wanted.

“Mine is realistic. Theirs is a leap of faith,” Recto said. /Inquirer

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