Salceda: PH can use strong credit rating to negotiate for COVID-19 vaccines


MANILA – The chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee said Friday the Philippines’ enduring credit rating strength could be used to boost the country’s negotiating position for Covid-19 vaccine procurement.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda made the statement following Fitch Ratings’ affirmation of its ‘BBB’ investment grade rating with a stable outlook for the Philippines, noting that this is a sign that the “elements of quick economic recovery are present.”

“Of course, the best way to leverage this strength is to buy the vaccines quickly and get them rolled out without delay. Speed will save lives and the economy,” Salceda said. “It tells large private vaccine-producers that we can pay for these vaccines smoothly.”

He said there should also be no difficulty accessing financing for even more vaccines should there be a need to bid for the country’s share.

Salceda said the House is prepared to deliberate on measures to expedite the vaccine rollout once the session resumes on Monday.

He attributed the country’s credit rating strength to the close coordination between Congress and the Executive’s fiscal policymakers.

“Our strong credit ratings are the product of the closest and most productive partnership between the House tax committee and the executive’s fiscal policymakers since 1986,” Salceda said.

According to him, the credit bench marker incorporated in its considerations “the impact of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) tax package, which has been passed by both houses of Congress, and also Package 2+: Sin Taxes (part of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program) passed in early 2020.”

“More tax reforms have been approved by my committee than ever in recent history. That has given the world the confidence that we take our finances seriously,” Salceda said.

Other tax proposals approved by the panel are the Digital Economy Taxation Act, the E-Sabong Taxes Act, the Fiscal Regime for Mining, the POGO Taxation Act, and the Tax Amnesty Act. (PNA)