The P9 fare for the first four kilometers of the ride is the highest recorded minimum fare granted by the LTFRB.
Miguel de Guzman
3 opposition solons urge gov't: Stop denying TRAIN's impact on inflation
Audrey Morallo ( - July 9, 2018 - 6:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — Opposition lawmakers on Monday urged the government to stop denying the impact of its tax reform law on inflation and to review its implementation.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo party-list) said that the government should suspend the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law, which levied additional taxes on petrol and sugar-sweetened beverages while lowering the income tax for workers.

Aquino said the government should stop denying that the five-year high 5.2 percent inflation recorded in June was due to the TRAIN law, which kicked into effect at the start of this year.

"It's time for the administration to accept that we have a serious problem, that the Filipino people are drowning in high prices," said Aquino, one of four senators who voted against President Rodrigo Duterte's tax measure.

"Their excuses and explanations will not ease the burden on our countrymen," he added.

The country's economic officials defended the measure and stressed that the law had minimal effect on the rise in prices of goods and services.

Alejano meanwhile said the June inflation, which pushed the year-to-date figure to 4.3 percent, was "a dead giveaway" Duterte's economic managers were "losing control" over the country's economic fundamentals because of the TRAIN law.

"The economic managers of Duterte predicted everything will slow down last June, but the inflation still rose to a five-year high of 5.2% in June from 4.6% the month before. It is either they have lost the economic acumen or they are in perpetual denial of the havoc brought by TRAIN," the Magdalo party-list representative said.

He also slammed the government for telling the public that the situation was under control and would normalize in the coming months.

He said that these were just words as Duterte's government was yet to implement social protection measures under the TRAIN law such as the unconditional cash transfers and fuel vouchers for jeepney drivers.

Just last week, the government approved a provisional P1 increase in base fare prices in Metro Manila, Regions 3 and 4.

"The only way to restore control is to roll out quick mitigating measures like suspending the TRAIN or implementing social protection programs that are still up in the clouds," Alejano said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros called on her colleagues to support Senate Bill 1671 or the "Bawas VAT" bill to provide economic relief to Filipinos.

The measure seeks to lower the VAT rate from the current 12 percent to 10 percent.

Aside from this, Aquino also filed a measure that would automatically suspend the collection of excise tax under the TRAIN law if the inflation rate went beyond official estimates in the preceding three months.

Alejano said the inflation rate would not dip if the government would continue collecting the excise taxes on fuel under the tax reform measure.

He also urged his colleagues in Congress to review the effects of the TRAIN law given the continuing rise in inflation.

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