House panel open to review TRAIN law

MANILA The House committee on ways and means is open to review the initial phase of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act following calls for its suspension, its chairman said Tuesday.

In an interview, Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua said the review of the tax reform law should come first before considering the suspension of higher excise taxes.

He warned that the TRAIN law's suspension might have economic implications that could harm the government coffers.

"I think kailangan pag-aralan, hindi naman tayo sarado diyan dahil pinag-uusapan natin yung health of the economy. Pero ako kumpyansa ako sa economic managers natin na alam nila yung ginagawa nila (I think there's a need for a review, (and) we're not discarding that possibility since we're talking about the health of the economy. But I am confident that our economic managers know what they're doing)," Cua said.

"No, I think we should be reviewing first, and not be drastic about suspending it. Anytime we suspend that, that has economic implications. Magkakaroon ng problem ang ating coffers (Our coffers would have a problem), so very irresponsible to do that also," he added.

The TRAIN law imposes higher excise taxes on sweetened beverages, oil, vehicles and cigarettes to compensate for reduced personal income tax rates.

Cua assured that there are safety mechanisms in the TRAIN law in the event of inflationary spikes in the prices of basic goods and services.

"Pag pumalo ng certain level ang Dubai price, masu-supend yung increase on excise on petroleum products. Nilagyan natin ng safety mechanisms, may safety measures ang batas, para pag tumama ang presyo, tigil muna (If the Dubai price hits a certain level, that's the time to suspend the increase on excise on petroleum products. We have installed safety mechanisms in the law so when a price hits [a certain level], [the excise tax imposition] should be suspended)," Cua said.

Cua said his committee has yet to deliberate on the bill seeking to repeal "regressive" provisions of the TRAIN law, noting that it has not yet been referred to the panel.

Lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan bloc has filed House Bill 7653, which seeks to repeal regressive taxes including additional excise tax on petroleum, excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages, and expansion of the coverage of the value-added tax. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency