Senator Bam Aquino urged the government to ensure that financial assistance for the poor through the cash transfer program is implemented by the time the tax reform program is rolled out.
“Mahihirap na pamilya ang masasagasaan ng tax reform dahil sa pagtaas ng bilihin. Kaya dapat talagang isabay ang financial assistance sa pagpapatupad ng TRAIN sa Enero 2018 kapag ito’y naisabatas,” Sen. Bam said in a radio interview.
Sen. Bam was referring to the financial assistance that will be given to poor Filipino families to help them absorb the brunt of the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) once it is enacted into law and implemented in January 2018.
Under the Senate version of financial assistance, poor families will be given P300 a month for three years.
During the period of amendments, Sen. Bam worked for the retention of the financial assistance program in the Senate version of the measure and pushed for its implementation on January 2018 to help the poor Filipinos bear the brunt of the expected increase in prices of basic commodities and services.
However, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it cannot implement the cash transfer program and the TRAIN at once but will try to do so.
Even the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) stated that they cannot roll out the cash transfer program in January 2018, as they still need to finalize the database of families, among other preparations.
“Sana makita natin sa final version na magkasabay ang programang iyan para sa mahihirap. Kung may mangyayaring pagtaas ng presyo, dapat kasabay sa Enero ang tulong na ibibigay sa kanila,” said Sen. Bam.
“Kailangan masiguro natin na may makukuhang suporta ang ating mga mahihirap na kababayan na magsisilbing pambalanse sa mga epekto ng panukalang ito, kabilang na ang pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin,” Sen. Bam added.
Aside from the financial assistance, Sen. Bam pushed for the amendment to exempt micro-enterprises from paying the 3% percentage tax, on top of their income tax exemption.
With Sen. Bam’s amendment, micro-entrepreneurs like sari-sari stores, vendors, and farmers would enjoy tax-free status and be spared from harassment by tax agents. The senator also proposed to simplify bookkeeping records and requirements for micro businesses. Sen. Bam’s amendments would come at no additional cost to the government.