AS of this writing, the House of Representatives has made a record of sorts by having 32 deputy speakers, the highest number in the history of that chamber of Congress.
This happened as Speaker Lord Allan Velasco continued with the revamp of the House leadership, following his victory in the recent speakership contest with the former speaker. He added two more senior administration congressmen to the roster of deputy speakers, that now totaled 32.
Meanwhile, known allies of former speaker Alan Peter Cayetano continue to lose their chairmanship. Before adjourning for the Christmas break last week, the House stripped Rep. Michael Defensor of his committee chairmanship, and replaced with Rep. Bonito Singson. Others involved in the continuing reorganization are Congressmen Abraham Tolentino, Isidro Ungab, and Henry Villarica. The minority bloc also had its own small revamp, with the election of Rep. Argel Cabatbat and Rep. Arlene Brosas.
As the House was busy creating vacancies and filling them up with members, it somehow neglected to create a committee to represent the lower chamber in the bicameral conference panel involving the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, which more than annoyed Sen. Pia Cayetano, sponsor and principal author of the bill in the Senate, as approval of the measure will have to wait until next year, after the five-week Christmas break of the 18th Congress.
‘As the House was busy creating vacancies and filling them up with members, it somehow neglected to create a committee to represent the lower chamber in the bicameral conference panel involving the proposed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act…’
The senator attributed the problem to “a delay by the House of Representatives to name its chairman and members of its bicameral conference committee to meet with their Senate counterpart to iron out the differing provisions of their versions of the CREATE bill.”
This means the business sector will have to wait for the government’s proposed incentives such as a reduction of their corporate tax from 30 percent to 25 percent, an issue that has already received the nod of the Senate.
After the Senate passed the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) last November, Cayetano said it was only last Tuesday, December 15, that the Senate was informed that the lower house had chosen members of its conference committee panel.
This snafu may be inconsequential to the general public but for the business community — especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) — it is important. Investments, expansion and start-ups at this time when the economy has contracted and everybody wants a speedy recovery, businessmen are forced to adopt a wait-and-see stance, partly because the CREATE law was delayed. This evokes uncertainty, something that is anathema to business. The CREATE would finally put in place long-needed reforms in the country’s corporate tax and fiscal incentives system.
The new year 2021 will open with “no immediate decrease in the corporate income tax, there will be no rationalization and certainty,” as Senator Cayetano reported to her colleagues.
Well, that should be reflected when both chambers of Congress report their accomplishments for the year 2020.