The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development chair Senator Joel Villanueva on Thursday said that the passage of TRABAHO bill (Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunities) should be better off delayed if it would only cause job losses as admitted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
During the Senate deliberation on TRABAHO bill, Labor Department Director Dominique Tutay admitted that the second tax reform package could result to job losses as it might affect the industry and services sector, including technology-driven industries.
The DOLE also shared that 30,000 jobs in the industry and services sectors were lost in the first quarter of 2018 based on their job displacement monitoring.
However, the DOLE said that their agency and the Department of Finance (DOF) have yet to complete their joint study on the impact of TRABAHO bill on jobs in two weeks.
In a statement, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI) said that the passage of TRABAHO bill, particularly the House version (HB 8083), would force them to lay off 140,000 workers.
They said several multinational companies are planning to move out of the country due to uncertainty of keeping their tax incentives here.
The TRABAHO bill aims to cut corporate income taxes down to 20% and remove redundant fiscal incentives.
Citing the projected job losses, Villanueva said that the DOLE “should work together with other agencies to make sure job reduction won’t be a possibility if the bill is enacted into law.
“With the ballooning inflation that has burdened our consumers, the Filipino people cannot suffer another blow through the loss of jobs that might be caused by the new tax reform package,” Villanueva said.
Allaying fears on job losses, the DOF said the bill allots for a contingency fund amounting to P500 million to be used as cash grants for displaced workers. An additional P500 million will also be provided for trainings and skills upgrading.
“Providing cash grants is just a band-aid solution for our displaced workers. It cannot sustain them for a long time, that is why we have to make sure that the Trabaho bill will not result in unemployment,” Villanueva said.
The senator added that on its part, DOLE should be ready with its employment adjustment program to ensure adequate re-tooling and re-training programs are in place if and when the bill is enacted.
“The thousands of jobs that are projected to lose due to Trabaho bill is a serious matter. The DOLE, along with other concerned agencies, should be proactive in addressing this problem,” Villanueva further noted.