Apart from rising prices of goods and services, a senator is dismayed that the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law is leading to less jobs for Filipinos, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.
“We are now feeling the effects of TRAIN, not just on prices of goods, but also on jobs of thousands of Filipinos. The government is duty bound to cushion the blows of heavy taxes on jobs and employment,” said Sen. Bam.
“Natatakot ako para sa kabuhayan ng pamilyang Pilipino. Kailangan solusyunan ito ASAP,” Sen. Bam added.
Recently, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Inc. announced that it will trim down its workforce in light of the passage of the TRAIN Law that imposes P6 per liter excise tax on beverages using caloric and non-caloric sweeteners and P12 per liter on beverages using high-fructose corn syrup. Reports have it that 600 workers from various units of Coca-Cola will be laid off.
Also, Sen. Bam said that several BPOs are relocating, aborting expansion, or re-shoring workers due to the effects of the TRAIN Law.
To safeguard livelihood for Filipinos working in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, Sen. Bam pushed for the retention of a special tax rate for regional operating headquarters and regional headquarters (ROHQs/RHQs) during the TRAIN’s period of amendments. However, the provision was vetoed by Malacanang, much to the dismay of the BPO sector.
The veto will lead to an increase in cost of doing business, which will affect the status of 5,000 workers and will prevent other BPOs from setting up shop to provide more jobs for Filipinos.
“These RHQs invested in the Philippines because of these tax incentives, which were suddenly removed by our government. Bakit pa sila mamumuhunan dito at paano pa sila magtitiwala sa gobyerno,” Sen. Bam questioned.
Among those who aborted expansion plans upon the removal of the preferential tax rate is a large global outsourcing hub for technology services. The expansion would have provided up to 400 fresh job to Filipinos.
Sen. Bam also mentioned that a big ROHQ will close its operations in the Philippines this coming year.
Instead of focusing solely on revenue-generation, Sen. Bam said the government must work with the private sector to boost job creation and strengthening job security, especially with rising prices due to their new tax policies.
“Importanteng ipatupad na ang cash transfer, pero pansamantalang solusyon lang ito. Livelihood, jobs, sapat na kita para sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino ang nararapat na prayoridad ng pamahalaan,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam is the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship and passed several measures to provide livelihood by supporting small, local businesses in the country. He is also the principal sponsor of the free college law passed last year.
Sen. Bam voted no to the ratification of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.