By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo said the government should review the safety net packages in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law as it continues to affect poor Filipinos.
“Hanggang ngayon, nananawagan sana tayong i-review iyong safety nets sa TRAIN Law, na tingnan kung sapat pa ba iyong P200 a month. Siguruhin na iyong 10 million [Filipinos] na dapat na nabigyan ng assistance, nabigyan na, (Until now, we are calling for a review on the safety nets of the TRAIN Law, to look into whether the P200 a month is enough. And to make sure the 10 million Filipinos, who should have been given assistance, have received it),” she said.
Robredo again made the call to revisit the assistance packages in the tax reform law during her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni.”
Under the TRAIN Law, indigent families are entitled to receive P200 a month or P2,400 this year in unconditional cash transfers. The cash subsidy will be increased to P300 monthly in 2019 and 2020 or 3,600 annually.
The distribution of the cash grants is aimed to mitigate the increase in consumer prices.
The UCT is a program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to help 10 million Filipinos cope with the effects of the tax reform law.
Of this number, Robredo noted that as of last month, there were only seven million beneficiaries who have received the financial aid.
“Magtatapos na iyong taon, dapat naibigay ito noong Enero pa. Saka iyong Pantawid Pasada, iyong pakiusap din natin, pati iyong mga mangingisda sana mabigyan. Dahil malaki iyong konsumo nila sa gasolina, kaya nagtataasan din iyong presyo ng isda (The year is almost over. This should have been given in January. And for the Pantawid Pasada, we hope the fishermen will also be included. Their fuel consumption is the reason why fish prices have also increased),” she said.
The Vice President reiterated her call even as oil companies in the Philippines rolled back prices of fuel products for the fourth straight week. Oil firms cut prices by almost P6 per liter for gasoline and more than P3 per liter for diesel in the past four weeks.
She said the oil price rollback has a “multiplier effect” for consumer prices to go down, but it is not enough to cushion the impact to poor Filipinos.