Press Release
December 19, 2017

Sen. Bam: TRAIN to burden millions of Filipino families in 2018

Poor Filipinos will have to deal with higher prices of goods and services without any financial assistance from the government once the tax reform program it is implemented next year, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

"While the government is determined to implement the tax reform program starting next year, it will take months before it rolls out the cash transfer program for poor Filipinos," said Sen. Bam.

The Department of Finance (DOF) proposed a cash transfer program with a P200 monthly financial assistance on the first year and P300 monthly financial assistance for the second and third year to help cover the increase in prices of basic goods.

However, the DOF said it cannot immediately implement the cash transfer program and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) at the same time.

In the period of amendments, Sen. Bam pushed for the immediate implementation of the cash transfer program to help poor Filipinos absorb the expected increase in the prices of goods and services. However, Sen. Bam's proposal was not accepted by the DOF.

During its ratification, Sen. Bam rejected the TRAIN's approval due to the inability of government to implement the financial assistance program in time for the increase in prices due to provisions on excise tax on fuel and sweetened beverage tax.

"In the end, poor Filipinos will bear the brunt of this tax reform program as it will increase the prices of basic commodities," said Sen. Bam, who rejected the measure despite supporting the increase in take home pay for workers.

"Sana mahanapan pa ng paraan, na sa madaling panahon, masabay nila ang pinansyal na tulong doon sa pagtaas ng taxes at pagtaas ng presyo ng napakaraming bilihin sa ating bansa," added Sen. Bam.

Instead of passing the burden to poor Filipinos, Sen. Bam said the government should focus on improving the performance of revenue-generating agencies such as the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Data from the Finance Department shows that an additional P726 billion can still be collected by government by addressing inefficiencies and removing loopholes in the BIR.

The government can also collect at least P231 billion if the importation gap and smuggling is resolved by BOC.

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