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‘Huge setback’: Sen. Cayetano laments non-passage of CREATE before yearend

Hananeel Bordey

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Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Pia Cayetano lamented Congress’ failure to finalize the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives Reform Act (CREATE) bill and send it to Malacañang for its enactment before the year ends.

She tagged the delay on its passage as a “huge setback.”

Before the Senate adjourned its session late Wednesday night, Cayetano manifested her apparent disappointment on the House of Representatives’ sudden decision to hold a bicameral conference on CREATE despite its earlier statement that it will just adopt the Senate version of the measure.

“I would like to put on record that this delay in the passage of CREATE this year is a huge setback,” she said.

Cayetano narrated that since the passage of CREATE last 26 November, there are no official communications from the Lower House until last 14 December the House has assigned its bicam members.

“Precisely why we had daily deliberations to the extent of setting aside other very important bills is because we recognize the importance of this bill particularly for the MSMEs and the business sector,” she added.

The lawmaker also lamented that what they had worked on in the Senate which is far different from the House measure will not address the concerns of the business sector including the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

She said that the Senate came up with a “package” that provides a 10-year transition period for companies that are currently receiving incentives. This is much longer than the proposed period under the House and Senate versions.

The Senate version, she reiterated, would immediately cut the corporate income tax from 30 percent to 25 percent while the House version provides a one percent decrease per year.

Cayetano added that MSMEs that are earning less than P5 million will only pay 20 percent corporate tax under their version.

“I am sad to say that there will be no immediate decrease in the Corporate Income Tax, there will be no rationalization and certainty. What the businessmen had asked us is certainty. So that when the new year starts, they know ano papasukan nilang negosyo,” she said.

“Unfortunately, this will not happen, not because of the Senate though…. But that is as far as we can go,” she added.

Cayetano then thanked her colleagues for their support in passing the measure which was certified as urgent by Malacañang.

Congress went into their Christmas break on 19 December and will convene on 18 January 2021.

This means any bicam report will not be ratified by both Houses as there are no plenary sessions until next year.

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