Contribution to the UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW Fourth Cycle
SUBMISSION OF THE ASIAN PEOPLES’ MOVEMENT ON DEBT AND DEVELOPMENT, FREEDOM FROM DEBT COALITION (FDC), and ORIANG (women’s organization)
“Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps individually and through international assistance and cooperation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.”
Article 2.1 ICESCR
“The States parties to the present Covenant recognized the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The steps to be taken by the States parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for: The reduction of stillbirth-rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child; the improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene; The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases; The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.”
Article 12 ICESCR
The Philippines is failing in its obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the right to health. We are witness to the rapid rise in COVID cases during the pandemic and the near-collapse of the health system. According to the Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a state is in violation of the ICESCR if it fails to allocate the maximum of its available resources to realizing human rights. Critical to fulfilling its human rights obligations is the Philippine government’s ability to mobilize and allocate domestic resources to ensure adequate funding for quality health and related services that are available and accessible to all.
The Philippine government’s tax reform laws pursue a revenue-eroding direction that will in the long-run 2 only serve to benefit corporate profits while leaving less revenues for the public coffers. This severely undermines the government’s ability to mobilize domestic resources for funding essential services critical to people’s health. It also weakens the country’s national legal human rights framework, and poses a barrier to realizing human rights, especially the right to health.
This submission from the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development or APMDD, a regional alliance of peoples’ movements, community organizations, coalitions, NGOs and networks in the Asian region, is jointly prepared by two APMDD members in the Philippines – the Freedom from Debt Coalition, and ORIANG. (See Annex 1 on Contributing Organizations)
APMDD advances collective campaigns and actions of movements and peoples’ organizations to promote people-centered development, as well as economic and environmental rights and justice.
The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) – Philippines is a nationwide multi-sectoral, non-sectarian and pluralist coalition conducting policy advocacy work and campaigns to realize a common framework and agenda for economic development.
ORIANG is a movement of women from urban and rural communities, factories and schools, united to give voice to the demands and aspirations of women. It organizes to fight for reproductive justice, freedom from discrimination and violence against women, environmental and ecological integrity, social and economic emancipation, and political empowerment.
Description of the methodology and the consultation process followed for the preparation of information provided under the universal periodic review
This submission integrates information gathered from presentations and discussions during consultations with FDC and Oriang members. These include: a focus group discussion with members of ORIANG in 2021; public forums conducted by FDC; and the APMDD-initiated People’s Assembly on Tax Justice on 30 October 2021 with participants from the Philippines and other countries in Asia.
This submission is prepared for the 4th cycle of the Universal Periodic Review scheduled in November 2022.
It follows up on previous comments and recommendations made during the 3rd UPR Cycle on the right to health, poverty, health and security, and raises concern about the government’s commitment and track record to mobilize and make available adequate resources to fulfill these rights.
The last UPR cycle yielded a number of recommendations from several countries that focus on fulfilling the right to health and social security. The Government of the Philippines supported recommendations on: right to an adequate standard of living – general (E21), right to social security (E24), human rights & poverty (E25), poverty (S01 SDG1), right to health – general (E41), and access to health-care -general (E42).
This report specifically draws attention to new tax laws that negatively impact human rights, especially the right to health under the ICESCR. The adoption of new tax reform laws since the last UPR Cycle, FDC and ORIANG, severely undermines the capacity and ability of the Philippine government to fulfill its human rights obligations.
II. Context: Health Crisis in the Philippines
The national report of the Philippines to the Human Rights Council in May 2017 for the 3rd UPR Cycle states that the Philippine Health Agenda is anchored on “making the health care system equitable, inclusive, transparent and accountable, while allocating resources efficiently to provide affordable, high 3 quality health services.” The government’s budget supports the Department of Health (DOH) in deploying health professionals to the barrios, expanding the immunization program for children, and strengthening the efforts to lower maternal and infant mortality rates, among others. (https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G17/108/99/PDF/G1710899.pdf?OpenElement)
There is still a long way to go for the realization of the target of health care for all. Data on the state of maternal and child health are particularly telling. Countries with similar levels of income as the Philippines have rates of stunting averaging only 20 percent for children under 5 years of age. According to UNICEF Philippines, a third of Filipino children under 5 years of age are stunted.
Pre-COVID 19 pandemic, the Philippines saw about 2,600 women dying every year due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth. In 2020, maternal mortality was projected to have increased by 26 % from 2019 levels.
In April 2020, there were, an average of 3.7 doctors per 10,000 population in the country. This is below the World Health Organization-prescribed ratio of 1 doctor for 1,000 persons (or 10 per 10,000),a ratio that is only achieved in the National Capital Region. There is a wide discrepancy across the regions. The ratio is only 0.8 per 10,000 in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Furthermore, there are 8.2 nurses per 10,000 , or .082:1,000 nationwide, less than one-tenth of the WHOprescribed ratio of 1:1,000.
In a report published on 20 April 2020, the University of the Philippines (UP) COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team noted that the Department of Health hospitals across the nation had an average bed occupancy rate of 105% in 2013. The study points out that it would be beyond the capacity of most provinces to handle the surge of the COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines at its peak. There was a systemic lack of available critical care beds because there were only a little over 2,000 ICU beds across the country viz a viz the projected 8,800 to 19,800 critical COVID-19 cases.
Indeed, in a matter of only a few months from its onset, the COVID-19 exposed how fragile and inadequate the Philippines’s health system and infrastructure was in responding to crises such as pandemics. With about 3.6 million cases and 59 thousand deaths as of March 29, 2022 according to the Department of Health, the Philippines ranked second among the countries in Southeast Asia in the severity of the health crisis due to Covid.
As FDC President, Dr. Rene Ofreneo said, when Covid-19 struck, the Philippines was already suffering from ‘a broken health sector’. A policy bias toward privatization and commercialization of healthcare has resulted in severe lack of, or undeveloped health facilities in most places. Import dependence on transnational corporations (TNCs) for pharmaceutical products has kept the cost of medicines high, and out-of-pocket expenses incurred by patients accounted for 40-60% of the medical bills.
There was acritical lack of access to healthcare. Health workers raised the alarm about hospitals being overwhelmed owing to a lack of beds and insufficient health personnel. Several hospitals reported reaching ‘critical’ occupancy rates following surges in COVID-19 cases. Critical cases had to be ferried to different medical facilities kilometers away, only to be turned away again due to lack of healthcare capacity. Hospitals turned away women about to give birth. This resulted in the death of several women due to loss of blood or complicated deliveries.
Health workers experienced unpaid and/or delayed risk allowances and hazard pay and lack of medicalgrade personal protective equipment. On 1 September 2021, they took to the streets and online to protest and demand an end to the government neglect. Medical staff have been overwhelmed during the pandemic and 103 of them counted among the coronavirus fatalities in the Philippines at that time.
By the last quarter of 2021, resource-strapped hospitals were calling on the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to make good on insurance claims, some of which have been outstanding for years. By January 2022, seven private hospitals in Iloilo City severed ties with PhilHealth for unpaid claims amounting to more than PHP895 million.
The role of public finance in this situation has been the subject of criticisms from civil society. The severity of the crisis is linked to the underfunding of public health services and social protection programs. Access to adequately funded quality healthcare and social protection would have mitigated the pandemic’s impacts given high income inequality and citizens’ lack of personal resources to provide for their individual and family health needs.
Social protection, as pointed out by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Olivier De Schutter on September 11, 2020, should be a set of permanent entitlements prescribed by domestic legislation, defining individuals as rights-holders, and guaranteeing them access to independent claims mechanisms if they are denied the benefits for which they qualify. This requires domestic resource mobilization to ensure adequate financing for social protection. The International Labor Organization (ILO) suggests an indicative figure of 3.3 percent of GDP for this, based on calculation of the cost of a universal package of four social protection benefits for low- and middle-income countries. The Philippines falls short of this international recommendation, as its Philippine Medium-Term Development Plan 2017-2022, supposedly updated during Covid-19 times, set a target indicator for social protection spending at only 1.7% of GDP.
As medical expert Dr. Nemuel Fajutagana, chair of the board of the Medical Action Group, noted in a 10 June 2021 press briefing organized by the Vaccine Equality-Asia of which APMDD is part, the survival of people during the pandemic depends on rational fiscal spending. He said that instead of prioritizing infrastructures in the national budget as was done by the Philippine government through the continuation of its Build-Build-Build program, the government should provide “timely and free coverage of COVID-19 vaccine and increase budget allocation for determinants of health, including allocation for nutritious food, clean drinking water, and environmental health and hygiene.”
Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and the government’s revenue-eroding tax reform program undermine the people’s right to health, and other rights
The health crisis needs to be seen against the broader context of the Philippines’ performance in public spending, domestic resource mobilization, and taxation. The pandemic exposed long-standing fundamental flaws in the fiscal and tax system that had limited the country’s ability to mobilize and allocate maximum resources for public health, leading to an inadequate COVID response and eventually to a health crisis in the country. Tax and fiscal policy flaws and illicit financial flows (IFFs) have a direct impact on fair, equitable distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines; on resources available for health workers’ wages, and on the capacity of public hospitals and care facilities.
A. Revenue losses because of illicit financial flows (IFFs) weakened the Philippines’ capacity to respond to the pandemic.
Tax avoidance and evasion by corporations and wealthy individuals and other types of illicit financial flows have resulted in staggering amounts of foregone revenues for the Philippines. These lost revenues would have been enough to finance COVID response and more, without the country resulting to more borrowings.
The State of Tax Justice 2020, an annual report by the Tax Justice Network, provides data on annual tax loss due to corporate tax abuse and to offshore tax evasion. For the Philippines, the country’s total annual tax revenue loss to illicit financial flows was US$2,135,295,746. That is the sum of annual tax loss due to corporate tax abuse amounting to US$1,877,619,568 and tax loss due to offshore tax evasion amounting to US$257,676,178. Tax loss per collected tax revenue is 4.73%. While the Philippines is a lower middle-income country, the country’s tax loss per health expenditure is comparable to lower income countries at 50.71%.
That the country is losing that staggering amount of tax losses, at a time when public funding for health care is so critical, is alarming and disturbing. This is especially so as an official of the Department of Health said in September 2021 that “we have a shortage of around 92,000 physicians, 44, 000 nurses, 19,000 medical technologists, around 14,000 pharmacists, and around 17,000 radiologic technicians and radiologic technologists.”
In 2021, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released a report called the Pandora Papers, containing findings of their investigations on secret accounts and offshore shell companies. The report yielded, among others, a list of over 900 individuals and companies, a number of which had traced back beneficial ownership to businessmen and corporate entities in the Philippines., implicating several political and business elites. While other countries in Asia and other parts of the world initiated investigations as a direct response to the report, the Philippines government remained silent.
While IFFs clearly undermine the country’s ability to mobilize domestic revenues and increase public spending for essential services, there has been little action from the government to stop the financial bleeding. Instead of plugging the leaks that drain the economy of precious resources for the public coffers, the Philippine Government’s response to COVID was debt-dependent. Borrowing for COVID response was aggressive. As of April 2021, total financing agreements meant for COVID response amounted to US$ 15,493.74 million in April 2021. Of this, US$13,153 million were budgetary support loans signed in 2020; $2,188 million are project loans; and $26.75 are grants. (https://www.dof.gov.ph/data/fin-agreements/) This swelled further in January 2022 with the Department of Finance (DOF) reporting a total of $22.55 billion, or roughly PhP1.15 trillion, in budgetary support financing in relation to its COVID-19 response.
According to the Freedom from Debt Coalition, the country’s outstanding debt reached a new record high of PHP 12.3 trillion pesos (US$240.6 billion) by end-January 2022, more than doubling the levels from the start of the Duterte presidency in 2016 to the present. The total amount of approved increase in government spending for debt servicing in 2022 of PHP 512.6 billion ($10.03 billion) is twice that of the latest national health budget of PHP 269.75 billion ($5.28 billion).
B. CREATE and TRAIN
The Implementation of laws, programs and services on the right to health and other human rights requires adequate resources.It is the duty of the Philippine government to mobilize and allocate domestic resources to ensure adequate funding of programs and services to fulfill its human rights obligations and gender equality and sustainable development commitments.
In 2017 the Duterte administration embarked on a series of tax reforms. According to the Philippine government, the declared objectives of the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP) of President Rodrigo Duterte are to accelerate poverty reduction and sustainably address inequality by making the tax system simpler, fairer, and more efficient. The CTRP aimed to generate additional streams of government revenues that would make meaningful investments in people and infrastructure. Two of four tax reform packages have already been enacted into law: the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) in December 2017 and Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) in March 2021.
The more recent CREATE or Republic Act (RA) 11534 is Package 2 of President Duterte’s tax and fiscal reform agenda and was promoted as a ‘fiscal stimulus’ measure for distressed businesses to counter the resulting economic fallout due to the pandemic. It was estimated to provide private enterprises more than Php 1 trillion worth of tax relief over the next 10 years.
Package 1 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) or Republic Act No. 10963 exempted taxpayers earning less than P21,000 a month from paying personal income tax (PIT), exempted 13th month pay and bonuses from taxes, and exempted self-employed persons and professionals earning less than Php500,000 from paying percentage taxes. However, the law at the same time increased the excise taxes on fuel, automobiles, tobacco and sugar-sweetened beverages with corresponding impacts on the prices of other goods and services consumed by Filipinos.
APMDD, FDC and Oriang find that many provisions of these tax and fiscal reforms of the Duterte government undermine Filipino people’s rights to health, social protection and other basic rights.
In the long run, both TRAIN and CREATE seriously erode the government’s capacity to mobilize domestic resources, limit the fiscal space, and put into question the Philippine Government’s capacity for progressive budget spending.
Under the CREATE Law, the baseline corporate income tax rate for large corporationswas slashed from 30% to 25% and will further be reduced every year for the next five years; one percentage point from the already reduced tax rate will be shaved off until it goes down to 20%. Meanwhile, micro, small and medium enterprises’ corporate income tax rates were reduced from 30% to 20%. CREATE will result in foregone revenues, as estimated by the Philippine Government itself at PHP37 billion within six months of its passage, at PHP476.8 billion for the first five-year period, and 1 trillion pesos for the next 10 years. The Department of Finance (DOF) has admitted that it is a revenue-eroding measure, with member agencies of the ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program that supported the signing of the law on March 26, 2021 proudly extolling it as “the first of its kind”, neglecting to mention its adverse impact on the already tight fiscal space of government.
As part of the Duterte administration’s investment promotion program, CREATE provides for corporate tax cuts and continues fiscal incentives even during Covid-19, albeit for a finite number of years instead of never-ending tax holidays. Qualified export enterprises are entitled to four to seven years Income Tax Holiday (ITH) to be followed by 10 years 5% Special CIT (SCIT) or enhanced deductions from taxable income for items such as power, labor, training, research and development, domestic input expenses, and depreciation allowances – while qualified domestic market enterprises are entitled to four to seven years ITH to be followed by only five years enhanced deductions. This is despite the findings of the Department of Finance itself (prior to CREATE) that in terms of employment, exports, investments, and productivity, the difference between firms registered under these incentives and non-registered firms is largely insignificant. the difference between registered firms’ performance vis-a-vis non-registered firms was largely insignificant. They themselves concluded that fiscal incentives were unnecessary or even wasteful in promoting investments.
These reductions in corporate income tax rates will further erode the country’s capacity for domestic resource mobilization over time and will further undermine capacity for progressive public spending. The United Nations High-Level Panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (UN FACTI) recommends setting a global minimum tax rate of 25-30%, consistent with the global average of 25% in countries with similar income levels as the Philippines. APMDD supports this recommendation and asserts that a lower rate will fail to make any significant impacts on revenue generation in the Global South and sets a dangerous precedent for a global race to the minimum.
Exacerbates Poverty and Inequalities
CREATE falls short in terms of distributive justice and is set to exacerbate inequalities. Leading economists in the Philippines, in their joint statement in June 2020, said that, overall, CREATE is both inequitable and inefficient. This is despite a provision that slashes corporate income taxes of small and medium enterprises to 20%. They concluded that CREATE is only functions as tax releif for incorporated businesses, equivalent to a subsidy, leaving little gains for microenterprises and unincorporated small and medium enterprises. The law provides that Value-Added Tax (VAT) exemption on importation and VAT zero-rating on local purchases shall be applied only to goods and services directly and exclusively used in the registered project or activity by a Registered Business Enterprise (RBE). This limits the number of enterprises who will benefit from this provision.
It must be noted that 99.51% of all establishments in the Philippines are Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), of which 88.77% are Micro. In addition, there are 1.3 million unregistered sarisari (mom-and-pop) stores and market vendors, and an estimated 7 million informal and unregistered home-based microbusinesses. Only 0.49% are large enterprises.
Moreover, there remains a bias towards export-oriented companies — usually medium to large companies — which certainly do not focus on the needs of local communities. While both exporters and domestic market enterprises, deemed part of the Strategic Investment Priorities Plan, are given Income Tax Holidays for a period of 4-7 years, exporters are allowed a further 10 years enhanced deductions from their taxable income while those engaged in domestic market activities are given only five years. Moreover, export enterprises may opt for the Special Corporate Income Tax (SCIT), a tax equivalent to 5 percent of gross income earned in lieu of all national and local taxes for a period of 10 years. This 5 percent SCIT is not available to domestic market enterprises because it was vetoed by the President.
Far from achieving its declared objectives of poverty and inequality reduction, the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program Packages, with TRAIN and CREATE as the major new tax laws, instead reinforce the Philippine tax system’s over-reliance on regressive taxes like indirect taxes which are burdensome for the ordinary people and affects the poor disproportionately.
Prior to TRAIN, all individual employees or self-employed taxpayers would normally have to pay income tax rates of between 5% to 32%, depending on one’s bracket. Under TRAIN, taxpayers with incomes below PhP250,000 are now exempt from paying personal income tax, while the rest of taxpayers, except those in the highest income brackets, , will see lower tax rates ranging from 15% to 30% by 2023. These may be considered a progressive tax measure. However, TRAIN also contains other features that are regressive such as the expansion and/or increase of indirect taxes like excise tax and Value Added Tax(VAT).
The first tranche of excise tax increase in fuel products under TRAIN increased the duties on gasoline to PHP7 per liter and imposed a PHP2.50 per liter levy on diesel and kerosene effective January 2018. This had a multiplier effect on the prices of goods and services and eroded the purchasing power of the Filipino people. Inflation increased from 3.2% in 2017 to 5.2% in 2018.
The net effect of TRAIN’s tax mix weakens people’s purchasing power and causes negative impacts on household spending for health and education. This will further undermine the ability of people, especially those living in poverty and facing social exclusion, to enjoy their right to health and other social and economic rights.
Impacts Negatively on People’s Right to Health
The Philippines has an obligation to mobilize and allocate as much resources as it can towards fulfilling economic, social and cultural rights. What the Philippines loses in revenue-eroding tax policies such as CREATE and from illicit financial flows (IFFs) could and should have been used to expand and upgrade public services including health services, and make them available, accessible, and responsive to the needs of all.
In 2020, the Philippines ranked 109th in terms of progressive budget spending.. This is according to the metrics developed by the Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRII) developed by Development Finance International and Oxfam ranking 158 countries in 2020. The metric looks at fair taxation, public spending on health, education and social protection, and labor regulations. According to their study, the Philippines ranked way below its neighbors. Levels of revenue collection, measured as a proportion of GDP, remained very low resulting in inadequate budget capacity with consequences on available funds for effective Covid-response without being mired in national debt, and ensuring that the right to health and social protection of Filipinos is not violated.
According to the CRII scores in progressive budget spending for ASEAN countries, the Philippines ranked among the bottom third of all countries in overall index, among the bottom third in terms of public spending, and the bottom third in terms of tax progressivity. Total health expenditure, for example, is only around 3.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – way below Cambodia, India, Japan and Mongolia (all above 6%), according to FDC President Dr. Rene Ofreneo.
A more restricted fiscal space owing to revenue-eroding new tax laws, together with misplaced budget priorities, will gravely impact on people’s right to health. The 2022 national budget has allocated only 4.8% (PHP242.22 billion) for health or about 1.25 % of the 2021 GDP (Php19.387 trillion).
The Department of Health (DOH) requested for a budget of PHP73.99 billion for Covid-19 response for 2022, but the Department of Budget and Management approved only PHP19.68 billion.
On the implementation of the country’s Universal Health Care Law, it was projected that Philhealth would need a PHP110-billion allotment for 2022, but it got only PhP80 billion – a shortfall of 22 billion that could affect the most vulnerable Filipinos. Both special risk allowance of health workers and purchase of booster vaccines are mostly allocated under “unprogrammed funds” meaning they can be released only if there are savings in the budget or if they are part of Official Development Aid or ODA agreements.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, and given the dismal state of public health financing, the people who were already contending with higher cost of living because of the tax measures were forced to turn to private health providers, jacking up their out-of-pocket costs for health spending. This compounded the crises of job and livelihood losses during the pandemic. TRAIN also expanded the Value-Added Tax (VAT) and repealed 54 exemptions under the old law. This increased tax burdens on women and other marginalized sectors.
A focus group discussion with members of the women’s movement ORIANG on 26 January 2021 and other consultations surfaced various types of taxes collected from women in the grassroots. These tax burdens exacerbated economic insecurity in the face of massive unemployment and loss of livelihoods during the pandemic. underemployment.
Participants at the FGD conducted on 26 January 2021, 26 women working in the informal economy, mostly as vendors in cities and municipalities in Metro Manila, discussed the direct, indirect, and informal taxes they paid, and expressed anxiety over the possibility of VAT increase beyond the 9 prevailing 12 percent. VAT is levied on basic consumption goods and essential services and utilities like water, electricity, telephone, internet installation, etc. Following are some of the comments by women participants, that reveal increased economic hardships, anxiety over access to health care, and uncertainty about the future. (See Annex 2 for raw transcription)
– “I ask myself what can I afford with my budget? We get the cheapest food items. We do not think of our health. We are prone to diseases, like hypertension, because the only thing the poor can buy are instant noodles.” (Translated from Filipno.) –
“Those who get sick have no access to treatment. When you are sick you go to the government hospital. They will say they prioritize COVID patients so you have to go to the private hospital instead.” (Translation)
The everyday struggles of people demand government action to remedy inequalities, redistribute resources, and challenge the values that underpin the Philippine economy and the dominant tax policies. Lidy Nacpil, APMDD regional coordinator, speaking at the October 30, 2021 People’s Assembly, stressed that “the very principle of taxing citizens is for government to be able provide services that can promote equity, lift people out of their situation of poverty and marginalization, and provide the essential services needed as basic human rights. There is something fundamentally wrong if tax systems are doing the opposite and being more burdensome for people.”
The Philippines must work towards the coherence of its tax and fiscal policies, aligning these with its international commitments to sustainable development, and with its obligations as a States party to the ICESCR that commits States parties to devote as much resources as they can towards fulfilling ESCR.
We respectfully urge the Member States to express concern about the violations of the right to health that result from tax and fiscal policies and recommend the following:
- Refrain from creating and enforcing laws and policies that undermines Philippines’ capacity to fulfill its obligations under the ICESCR or that create conditions preventing the people from fully enjoying their human rights, especially the right to health. Review the TRAIN and CREATE laws, and their impact on people’s economic and social rights, and in severely limiting the public resources that can otherwise be spent on essential public services and subsidizing people’s needs and relief during and in the aftermath of Covid-19.
- Take effective measures to fully implement the Universal Health Care Law and other social protection measures; ensure adequate funding by increasing domestic resource mobilization, through progressive taxation (consider adopting a wealth tax), sound and transparent fiscal management, and adopting other measures that are not debt-dependent.
- Ensure access to health care and adopt measures for the poorest communities to be assisted in accessing hospitals and clinics, including through equipping barangay health clinics with sufficient health workers, equipment and medicine.
- Strengthen legal and policy frameworks for financial transparency, strengthen investigative mechanisms, work towards increased international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows, curb tax abuses, and recover ill-gotten wealth to increase domestic resource mobilization for progressive spending on public services.
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Tax Justice Network and Global Alliance for Tax Justice. (2020, November). The State of Tax Justice 2020: Tax Justice in the time of COVID-19. Retrieved from –https://taxjustice.net/wpcontent/uploads/2020/11/The_State_of_Tax_Justice_2020_ENGLISH.pdf
UP Covid-19 Pandemic Response Team. (2020, April 20). Estimating Local Healthcare Capacity to Deal with COVID-19 Case Surge: Analysis and Recommendations. Retrieved 10 March 2022 from https://up.edu.ph/estimating-local-healthcare-capacity-to-deal-with-covid-19-case-surge-analysisand-recommendations/
APMDD People’s Assembly. (2021, October 30.) Retrieved from https://apmdd.org/programs/development-finance/tj/g20-proposed-15-global-minimumcorporate-tax-rate-to-give-more-benefits-to-corporations-more-undue-burden-on-the-poor-apmdd
Also downloadable from the document files of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, https://uprdoc.ohchr.org/uprweb/downloadfile.aspx?filename=10280&file=EnglishTranslation