Press Release
May 24, 2018


Sen. Grace Poe wants to provide another layer of social protection measures to safeguard the poor from the recent spikes in prices of widely used goods and services that may have been brought about by the first tranche of the administration's tax reform package.

"Kailangang isipin natin kung paano mapagagaan ang buhay ng ating mga kababayan lalo na sa probinsya dahil sa pagmahal ng kuryente, tubig at bilihin at ang nakaambang pagtaas ng pamasahe," said Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services.

Poe's panel will head to Iloilo City on Friday, May 25 to conduct a hearing on the "domino effect" of Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law particularly on fuel, electricity, water and transportation. The hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m. at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall, Iloilo Provincial Capitol on Muelle Loney St., Iloilo.

"Sa ibang probinsya, mas mataas ang ibinabayad nila sa utilities at mas mahal ang gasolina. Kailangan din nating marinig ang mga hinaing ng mga nagmamaneho ng jeep, taxi, at bus sa mga probinsya. Minsan hindi sila nakakapunta sa Maynila para mapakinggan sa ating mga pagdinig kaya pupunta kami sa Iloilo at ito'y pagkakataon na rin ng ating mga kababayan sa Visayas na makilahok," said Poe.

The hearing was called in line with Poe's Senate Resolution No. 736.

Just last Tuesday, May 22, oil firms implemented a big-time increase on pump prices, prompting transport groups to call for higher fares. According to Poe, her office received reports that pump prices in the provinces reach a staggering P70 per liter.

In particular, the head of the Public Services panel voiced her concern that the tax reform law purportedly offset workers' higher take-home pay amid the unrelenting hikes in consumer prices.

Under the TRAIN Law, poorest families are entitled to get P2,400 each in cash grant this year, and will increase to P3,600 per beneficiary in 2019 and 2020.

Consumer prices rose 4.5% in April compared to a year ago, setting its fastest pace in over five years.

Among those invited are Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III, Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Ernesto Pernia, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas and Negros Occidental Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (6th district), Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., Iloilo Vice-Gov. Christine Garin, Land Transportation Office chief Edgar Galvante, Internal Revenue Regional Director Alberto Olasiman, and other stakeholders.

Senators Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito confirmed their attendance in the Iloilo hearing.

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