House passes tax code amendments bill on final reading
MANILA, Philippines — House Bill No. 8937, which aims to amend the Tax Reform Act of 1997, was passed on third and final reading early Tuesday morning.
The House passed the bill with a vote of 272 members voting yes and four no, with only one abstaining.
The bill proposes to include a levy for mining operations.
Just a month earlier, on Aug. 23, the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is headed by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, approved the substitute of the bill.
However, minority solons questioned why similar bills were being tackled late into the night — even after exhaustive plenary debates, such a the General Appropriations Bill — or the proposed 2024 national budget.
According to Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel — both of whom voted against the bill — the House leadership had already required its members to attend physically.
They insisted that it was wrong to push through with the session when only around 30 lawmakers were present on the floor.
“First of all, I would like to make a statement. We are passing a bill in the middle of the night. And then only a few members are present. This bill is so important because this is about the fiscal mining regime, and the people should understand this. Why are we passing this bill in the middle of the night?” Brosas asked in Filipino.
“In fact, we were told before to do in face-to-face sessions. So, that’s the only thing we can do, being in the minority — that we ask everybody to get involved in the bills we are talking about, especially if this would have a nationwide effect. So it’s not good optics for us to pass a bill in the middle of the night — at 12:24 a.m.,” she added.