MalacaAang defends TRAIN from critics

MANILA -- Contrary to the claim of IBON Foundation, MalacaAang on Thursday said both the rich and the poor would benefit from the newly-enacted Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the proceeds of TRAIN would be spent for the government's massive Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.

The build, build, build program will not only provide us with better infrastructure, it will also stimulate the economy, create more jobs and therefore create more income for everyone, Roque said in a televised press conference in Davao City.

Recently, IBON Foundation executive director Sonny Africa reportedly described the TRAIN as a scourge rather than a gift to the people, claiming it will trigger price hikes.

While adjusting excise taxes would raise prices of some commodities, Roque assured that the increase would be minimal and it will be temporary.

He said based on estimates by the Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and National Economic and Development Authority, there would only be around 0.4-0.7 percentage point increase in inflation during the first year of implementation with the impact tapering off over time.

Rather than look at the short-term minimal price increases, we must view the persistent poverty and high inequality which results from the systemic inability of the poor to participate in society actively and productively, Roque said in a press statement.

The poor are denied opportunities and are routinely excluded from access to adequate social services and infrastructure that boosts productivity, he added.

Aside from providing higher take-home pay to wage earners, Roque said TRAIN would also mean more jobs, better infrastructure, and more efficient delivery of services from massive investment in infrastructure and on people.

These investments would increase the productive capacity of the economy, thereby creating more and better jobs and result in high-quality education, better health services, and adequate social protection so that everyone, especially the poor, is accorded with equal economic opportunities towards prosperity, he said.

Roque said the government would even give at least PHP200 per month by way of conditional cash transfer to the poorest of the poor to mitigate the impact of price hikes on some commodities.

Source: Philippine News Agency