Press Release
December 1, 2017

Transcript: Pre-Bicam interview, re: TRAIN, 2018 budget

RGR: I don't expect a reenacted budget, that's not good for the country. It will be a P300-billion-less budget, so I don't expect a reenacted budget. I'm sure it will not be difficult to come to terms with the house,

Q: Pero sir, approriate ba 'yon, di ba kaya nga nagbi-bicam, dapat open ang bawat panig...

RGR: Negotiating posture lang 'yan. Don't take too much out of it. I'm confident that there will be an agreement.

Q: Re: P50.7 billion DPWH budget--

RGR: I'm confident that there will be an agreement.

Q: So hindi ganoon ka-problematic?

RGR: I don't see much problems.

Q: Ano sa tingin ninyo na possible compromise doon sa DPWH?

RGR: For as long as there are ready-to-go projects, that should be implemented. Basta ready to go.

Q: Sabi ni Senator Ping, kaya daw niya i-justify iyong ipinropose niyang cut.

RGR: Kung 'yan lump sum, hindi justifiable 'yan. Kung 'yan line item, justifiable 'yan. Ganoon ka-simple lang, the way I look at it.

Q: Pero kung may issue ng right of way, sir?

RGR: Like I said--kung lump sum 'yan, ibig sabihin, walang plano, pupuwede mong putulin. Pero kung line item 'yan, may plano 'yan, wag mo puputulin. It's as simple as that.

Q: Sa TRAIN sir, what do you foresee?

RGR: Sa tingin ko mahaba ito--we will not finish by today, for sure.

Q: Areas most likely to be--

RGR: E di the most sensitive para sa masa, sa D and E. We're talking about oil, and sugar, those are the most sensitive. Electricity prices...

Q: How about mining and coal?

RGR: Those are part of the eletiricity prices. The mining, I don't think that's sensitive--I think that's burden sharing. Hindi naman tatamaan ang D and E diyan, eh. Burden sharing 'yan, so we should not impose all the taxes on our consumers, particularly the D and E.

Q: Ang argument ng Meralco, magboboil-down daw sa--

RGR: Not on the mining. You're talking about the coal.

Q: As source of electricity--

RGR: Correct. Hindi lang naman iyon eh, marami pang iba dito. You're lifting the exemptions of the NGCP so talagang there will be a hit. Question is, you want to lessen the impact. Because for sure, maipapasa. And you want to lessen the impact, hindi ba. So that is the role of the Senate. To lessen the impact on consumers.

Q: So better yung Senate version, kasi ni-lessen ninyo yung impact, compared sa House?

RGR: Depends on whose point of view. Sa DOF, they want their version, pero tatamaan ang D and E, yung masa, which is 91, 93 percent of the population.

You can look at it from this point of view: The tax reduction will be paid by the D and E. If you think of it that way. Remember, we're giving away P140 billion in income taxes, and we're taking back P280 billion gross from the public. Karamihan niyan D and E, that's why we introduced certain amendments here. Halimbawa, documentary stamp tax di ba. Hindi tatamaan ang D and E niyan. Hindi tulad ng langis yan, hindi tulad ng sugar, ng sugar sweetened beverage 'yan halimbawa. Hindi tulad ng kuryente yan. Yung mining, non-coal hindi tatamaan ang D and E diyan di ba? So that's the idea there. So our job is to lessen the impact, to adopt a tax that's fairer.

Q: Sir may we get your comment dun sa hinihirit nila Secretary Lorenzana na i-extend yung martial law for rehab efforts.

RGR: We'll have to listen, we'll have to listen to them. I don't know if martial law is allowed for rehab efforts because there's a continuing war on terrorism. Let's listen to them, I may be open to that. Depende, depending on what they tell us.

Q: Dapat mag joint session before the year ends or pwedeng next year na 'yan Sir?

RGR: Hanggang December 31 naman ata eh, so I don't know. There's no proposal yet, it's only in the newspaper or in the media. Pero sa amin there's no formal proposal.

Q: Pero ang kinakatakot lang nila sir na baka may mga attacks. Natatakot yung mga contractor, yung mga developer. That's enough for Martial law to be extended sir?

RGR: I'm not sure but I'm willing to listen to them.

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