Poor to suffer TRAIN-triggered price hikes in 2018  — IBON | BICOL TODAY

Poor to suffer TRAIN-triggered price hikes in 2018  — IBON

Bicolana Nanay Linda, already old but ever-present in women’s’ rallies and protest marches, is a living symbol of the poor Filipina who fights for women’s rights and welfare. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM

By Raymund B. Villanueva, Kodao

Millions of poor Filipinos will have to cope with tax-reforms price hikes, research group IBON said as the Rodrigo Duterte government starts to implement its Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) this New Year.

IBON said that contrary to its claims, the Duterte administration affirmed its apathy towards the low-income majority of Filipinos and proved its determination to collect funds for its purportedly pro-poor centerpiece programs upon its signing of TRAIN.

Congress ratified in the last two weeks of 2017 a final version of the first package of the government’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP).

According to IBON, the government has grossly exaggerated how lower income taxes will benefit Filipinos while downplaying how the country’s poorest will be burdened by higher prices on basic goods and services without getting any tax exemptions.

The overwhelming majority of Filipinos, in fact, do not get any income tax benefits from TRAIN, the group said.

“TRAIN is a scourge, not a gift, to the people,” IBON executive director Sonny Africa said.

“Though Filipino families certainly deserve income tax cuts to cope with rising costs of living, it is misleading to claim ‘6.8 million’ benefiting from TRAIN because this figure includes millions of minimum wage earners already exempted by law,” Africa said.

Africa also said that 15.2 million Filipino families not getting any increases in take-home pay will have to deal with more expensive food and drinks, cooking expenses, jeepney and bus fares, electricity and other goods and services this year.

Higher taxes will be imposed on sugar-sweetened drinks; oil products including liquid petroleum gas (LPG), kerosene, diesel, and gasoline among others; and coal, IBON said.

Broadening the value-added tax base will only worsen the burden on poor Filipinos, Africa said.

Financing Duterte’s ‘Build Build Build’ program

In a December 14 statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the final version of the tax reform law may yield only about two-thirds of the P134 billion in additional revenues programmed under the new measure.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the final approved version of the TRAIN Act is expected to generate only a fraction of the expected revenues.

Dominguez said Congress would discuss this year additional provisions to raise enough funds for the government’s infrastructure, human capital development, and social protection projects.

Africa, however, noted that the biggest chunks of flagship infrastructure projects to be financed mostly from TRAIN revenues shall be concentrated on already economically-active regions such as the Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, and Central Luzon.

Poorest regions like the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Caraga Administrative Region (CAR) are getting only small portions of the Duterte government’s ‘Build Build Build’ projects indicating that the Duterte administration marginalizes poor Filipinos, Africa said.

The projected cost of Build Build Build is at Php8-9 trillion over five years with projects to involve China and Japan, as well as known local big business, he added. [Kodao]

Posted by on January 4, 2018. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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