Lawmaker seeks TRAIN law review

MANILAA lawmaker at the House of Representatives has filed a resolution, calling for a review of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act and its impact on ordinary Filipinos amid the current surge in inflation.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said Congress should evaluate the government's tax reform program and recommend its continued implementation or suspension and come up with measures to cushion its effects on the poor.

"The current increase in inflation exceeding government targets plus the possible effect of the increase in prices of fuel to electricity, and other commodities presents a compelling reason for this chamber to conduct a review of the impact of implementation of the TRAIN law against the standard of living of the Filipinos," Alejano said.

"It is also important to assess how we can improve the efficiency of the agencies of the government, which are mandated to generate revenue for the continued delivery of services and to initiate development in order to prevent the government from further initiating policies that would harm and cause additional burden to the people," he added.

The lawmaker cited Pulse Asia's March 2018 Ulat ng Bayan Survey, which showed that controlling inflation is among the top national concerns of Filipinos.

House Resolution No. 1838 urges the appropriate House committee to conduct an immediate review of the TRAIN law and recommend policies that would mitigate its impact on the poor.

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

The Philippine Statistics Authority earlier reported that headline inflation accelerated to 4.5 percent in April 2018, higher than the previous month's 4.3 percent and the 3.2 percent in April 2017.

Last month's figure brought year-to-date average to 4.1 percent, slightly above the full-year target of 2 percent to 4 percent.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said he expects the current surge in inflation, which is due in part to an overhaul in the taxation system, to be temporary and will normalize towards the end of the year.

The current surge in inflation is partly an initial reaction to the implementation of TRAIN and is expected to be short-lived and should taper off over the coming months, Pernia said.

He also attributed the higher inflation to the slew of world oil price increases and the depreciation of the peso. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency