By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe formally sought concerned government agencies for the implementation of social welfare and benefits program under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act to cushion its impact to poor Filipino families.
Poe, in letters dated June 4, 2018, asked the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Transportation (DOTr), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), to immediately implement the measures to mitigate the effects of the additional excise taxes imposed under Republic Act 10963 or the TRAIN law.
“As swift as we had passed the TRAIN law, it is only right that we immediately implement the mitigating measures, which we have designed for the poorest of the poor,” Poe said in her letter.
“The social welfare and benefits program is an indispensable part of the implementation of TRAIN. Without this program, I fear that TRAIN would result in more harm than good,” she warned.
Poe recently led the Senate Committee on Public Services’ hearings on the effects of TRAIN on the transport sector.
“The overwhelming sentiments shared by the participants was that minimum wage earners are already suffering from the simultaneous effects of increasing fuel prices, inflation on basic commodities and services, and this is compounded by the effects of the TRAIN law,” she shared in her letter.
“Thus, we respectfully urge your agency to take steps towards the immediate implementation of the social welfare and benefits program of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law,” she then appealed.
Under Section 82 of the RA 10963, jeepney franchise holders are entitled to fuel vouchers; while minimum-wage earners and the poorest 50 percent of the population are qualified for fare discounts, discounted National Food Authority rice and free skills training.
Likewise, a total of 10 million low-income households shall each receive P200 per month this year under the DSWD’s unconditional cash transfer program. It shall increase to P300 monthly in 2019 and 2020.