Opposition solons slams move of House panel chairman to implement social benefits provided under TRAIN law

Published June 5, 2018, 6:45 PM

by Roel Tibay


By Ben Rosario

Opposition congressmen on Tuesday slammed the move of the House ways and means committee chairman to implement the social benefits provided under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law instead of stopping its implementation.

A protester holds up a placard denouncing the TRAIN law during a rally near Malacañang Thursday. (Czar Dancel)
A protester holds up a placard denouncing the TRAIN law during a rally near Malacañang. (Czar Dancel)

In separate statements, Representatives Teddy Baguilat (LP, Ifugao) and Tom Villarin (Akbayan Partylist) stressed that the TRAIN law provision designed to cushion the economic impact of its implementation cannot address the inflation that rose to 4.6 percent in May.

“The proposed subsidies under the TRAIN law are not even enough to meet the average daily needs of the poor families who are suffering from the impacts of the law,” Baguilat said.

He urged Quirino Rep. Dax Cua, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, to heed the call of the public for a review or the immediate repeal of the provisions that imposed increases in excise taxes.

“I still think that better revenue collection efficiency and luxury taxes are the better options for the reputed Build Build Build progran,” he said.

For his part, Villarin said the correct action would be to stop the implementation of the TRAIN law and “not to wait for runaway inflation to happen or for petroleum prices to hit $90 per barrel..

“It’s the poor who suffers, the informal sector workers and marginalized farmers and fisherfolk who bear the impact of rising prices of commodities especially now when school opens,” he explained.

“Free tertiary education from TRAIN law can be subsidized by cutting down or realigning lump sum infrastructure spending with doubtful outcomes. Also, the Duterte administration should address corruption and leakages in revenue collection,” Villarin said.

Despite unabated inflation, Cua said the better option remains to be the implementation of the social benefits provided in the TRAIN law.

“Regardless of the causes, the effects of price increases are more pronounced on those who have less income. They are the families who can barely get by and urgently need help from government,” Cua said.

Section 82 of the TRAIN law provides that jeepney franchise holders be entitled to fuel vouchers while minimum wage earners and the poorest 50 percent of the population will get discounts on fare and rice, aside from free skills training.