Philippines: TRAIN law may be reviewed due to rising prices

  • The House of Representatives is open to reviewing the controversial Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law in view of rising prices of products and services.
  • Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua, who chairs the committee on ways and means, said he was confident that President Duterte’s economic managers and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas are doing what they can to stabilize prices.
  • Cua, however, said he would not agree to the proposed suspension of the law while the House is reviewing it. He pointed out that those who are seeking the suspension or repeal of the so-called tax reform law should present “compelling reasons” to convince lawmakers to support their proposal.
  • There are two pending TRAIN law-related proposals in the House. Opposition congressmen are seeking the suspension of the law while it is being reviewed, while the Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives wants it repealed.
  • Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, the bloc’s de facto leader, said his group is seeking the repeal of the law’s “anti-poor and anti-people provisions so as to lessen the burden of consumers, because they are the ones bearing the brunt of the TRAIN.”
  • Zarate said based on official government data, inflation or the increase in consumer prices went up to 4.7% in Apr 18 from 4.3% in Mar 18 and 3.8% in Feb 18. The actual rates breached all government projections, he stressed.
  • President Duterte’s economic managers have frowned upon proposals in both the House and the Senate to amend the TRAIN law.
  • Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has said the suspension or repeal of the statute would deprive the government of funds for the increased salaries of soldiers and policemen, and the free education program in state universities and colleges.
  • Zarate lamented that administration officials like Dominguez continue to insist that the TRAIN law has minimal impact on consumer prices.

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