Infrastructure, taxes on businessmen’s minds as Duterte delivers SONA


MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte needs to address how he will speed up twin efforts to build new infrastructure and reform the tax system during his second state of the nation address, businessmen said Monday.

Since his first SONA, Duterte has unveiled a P8-trillion “build, build, build” list and certified as urgent a bill seeking higher duties on fuel and sugar-sweetened drinks to offset a planned reduction in income tax rates.

President Duterte leads the inauguration of the Miranda Bridge II which connects the Municipality of Carmen and the City of Tagum in Davao del Norte. Infrastructure such as these are targeted to improve transport of agriculture products as well as mass transit. Malacañang Photo

“For the economy to take off, we really need to put in place the infrastructure because that will decide the efficiency with which we do business,” said Mindanao Business Council chairman Vicente Lao.

European Chamber of Commerce president Guenter Taus said it was important “to fully understand where we’re moving in terms of infrastructure.”

“We have to see where this is leading because, so far, we do not really see much action there,” Taus said.

Taus said higher excise taxes on cars could put European car-makers at a “disadvantage.”

Martial law in Mindanao due to 2 months of fighting in Marawi City has not affected investor confidence, Lao said, adding “It’s business as usual.”

Duterte was “decisive” in dealing with Maute group, a band of Islamic State-inspired militants .

“We cannot underestimate the clear and present danger of the Marawi threat,” Lao said.

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