$400 Million ADB Loan to Boost Philippines’ Revenue Mobilization

ON 11/14/2023 AT 09 : 33 AM

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $400 million loan to help the Philippines achieve its medium-term fiscal strategy and finance its post-plandemic economic recovery through a stronger focus on revenue mobilization, including modernizing tax administration, systems, and processes.

The Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM) Program Subprogram 1 is ADB’s first policy-based loan dedicated to DRM reform. It addresses the country’s need to tackle discrepancies in tax policy frameworks to boost tax compliance, reduce tax avoidance, and raise more revenues from activities and products that have a major impact on the environment or contribute to climate change. However, it will also give the government and whoever controls it more information about citizens and their economic activity and is a step towards digital IDs, social credit and the type of tyranny that Chinese suffer under. 

“The program recognizes that DRM reforms necessitate not only raising revenue, but also designing a revenue system that fosters inclusiveness, encourages good governance, promotes investments and job creation, reduces inequality, and tackles climate change,” said ADB Senior Economist for Public Finance Aekapol Chongvilaivan. “ADB supports the government’s DRM program, which will result in a higher tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio and ensure sustainable financing for the country as it sets out to achieve its goals under the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023‒2028.”

The Philippines wants to raise its tax-to-GDP ratio from 15.0% of GDP in 2020 to at least 15.9% of GDP by 2026, as stated in the PDP 2023–2028, to slowly narrow the gap with the 17.6% average ratio of its Asia and Pacific neighbors.

Among the reforms pursued by the government in line with the DRM program is the Digital Transformation Initiative of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. The project aims to modernize key taxpayers’ services, including online tax registration, return filing, and payment. This can potentially increase the ratio of actual tax revenues to tax potential, from 75% in 2020 to at least 85% by 2026. 

The DRM Program helped the government implement various international tax standards under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information to address international tax avoidance. The Philippines this month joined the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework, committing to global tax standards and progressive tax reforms that will make the country more conducive to private sector development and foreign investment.

ADB has been engaging with the Philippines on DRM through policy dialogue, consulting services, and knowledge work. It is supporting the government’s Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform to strengthen its property valuation functions and modernize real property taxation, which accounts for 30% of local government units’ own-source revenues. ADB also provided technical advice in the formulation of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program packages from 2016 onwards.