Senator Bam Aquino disputed President Duterte’s claim in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law is already helping poor families cope up with rising prices.
“Hindi po kaya ng konsensya ko na tanggapin iyong sinabi sa SONA na nakakatulong daw ang TRAIN sa mahihirap dahil kabaligtaran po ang katotohanan,” said Sen. Bam, one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the government’s tax reform program.
”Kahit saan po ako pumunta, iisa ang sinasabi ng mga kababayan natin, nalulunod na sila sa taas presyo, hirap na hirap na ang kanilang pamilya,” added Sen. Bam.
While Sen. Bam liked President Duterte’s push for reforms with regards to rice, the senator insisted that the people wanted relief from the high prices of goods and services and the rising inflation.
“Tulad ng marami nating kababayan, umasa tayo kahapon na tutugunan ang lumalalang problema ng taas presyo pero nabigo po tayo,” said Sen. Bam.
“Ngunit hindi pa rito natatapos ang dusang hatid ng TRAIN dahil may panibago na namang increase sa January 2019 at sa January 2020. Hanggang hindi ito itinitigil ng gobyerno, tuluy-tuloy ang taas ng presyo,” he added.
Around 10 million poor families were supposed to receive unconditional cash transfers to cushion the impact of the TRAIN. However, President Duterte admitted that only four million of those families have received transfers so far, while the other six million families have yet to receive a single cent of assistance from government.
“Hindi dapat ipinagmamalaki ng gobyerno ang huli at kulang ang implementasyon. Dapat binigay na ang tulong na iyan noon pang January 2018,” said Sen. Bam.
With Malacanang firm on its stand to continue with the TRAIN Law, Sen. Bam is banking on his fellow lawmakers to put a halt to its implementation for the sake of the Filipino people who are already burdened with high prices of goods and services.
”Kailangan nating magtulungan na kumbinsihin ang mga mambabatas na ipreno ang TRAIN para sa ating mga kababayan na nagdurusa sa mahal na halaga ng bilihin,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam has filed a measure that seeks to suspend and roll back the excise tax on petroleum products under the TRAIN Law.
Under Sen. Bam’s measure, the excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law will be suspended and rolled back once average inflation rate surpasses the annual inflation target over a three-month period.
Sen. Bam also is pushing for the full implementation of mitigating measures under the TRAIN Law, such as the unconditional cash transfer program for poor families and the Pantawid Pasada for jeepney operators and drivers.