Sen. Bam Aquino believes the government can fund free college even without the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, insisting that President Duterte is being fed wrong information by his economic managers.
“Hindi po totooong walang pagkukunan ng pondo ang gobyerno para sa libreng kolehiyo at ibang serbisyo kung ititigil ang TRAIN Law,” said Sen. Bam, one of four senators who opposed the ratification of the TRAIN Law.
“Mali ang ibinibigay na payo ng economic managers ng gobyerno kay Pangulong Duterte,” added Sen. Bam, principal sponsor of the free college law.
In fact, Sen. Bam said that in 2017, the Senate allocated funds for the first year of implementation of the free college law for 2018, even before the TRAIN Law was passed.
Sen. Bam emphasized that the government economic managers are trying to divert funds for other purposes, based on an earlier pronouncement by Sen. Panfilo Lacson that he has identified around P410.98 billion from the 2019 national budget allotted for pork barrel.
“Sapat ang pondo ng gobyerno para sa mga proyekto. Ang problema, ang ibang pondo, nagagamit sa ibang bagay para sa kapakinabangan ng iilang tao,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam has been pushing for the suspension of excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law, filing the Bawas Presyo sa Petrolyo Bill last May 2018 to help ease the burden of Filipino people on high prices of food and other goods.
Sen. Bam’s measure seeks to suspend and roll back the excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law once the country’s inflation rate exceeds the government’s target for three straight months.
“Tama na po dagdag-pahirap sa mga kababayan nating nalulunod sa taas presyo. Bigyan naman natin ang mamamayan ng ginhawa,” said Sen. Bam.