Sen. Bam says economic managers are in denial on price crisis, need real-talk with poor Filipinos

Sen. Bam Aquino slammed the government’s pronouncement that the 6.4 percent inflation rate in August “is not alarming” and “quite normal in a fast growing economy.” 

The senator also insisted that economic managers talk to regular Filipinos living in poverty so they can gain a broader perspective on the effect of the high prices of goods. 

  “Hinding-hindi po normal na nalulunod na sa pagtaas ng presyo ang mga mahihirap,” said Sen. Bam, one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. 

“Kung lumabas po kayo ng opisina at makipag-usap sa mga kababayan natin sa mga komunidad, sa mga palengke, hindi niyo na maitatanggi na malaking problema itong taas presyo,” added Sen. Bam, who regularly consults with farmers, fishermen, tricycle and jeepney drivers, and market vendors to hear their views on the TRAIN Law and other important issues. 

In a recent trip to Tanauan, Batangas, Francisco Reyes, a tricycle driver, told Sen. Bam that the high price of gasoline has affected his daily income so much that he could not provide enough food and clothing for his family.  

  “Para mabawi namin ang gastos sa gasolina, dapat lima ang sakay namin bawat biyahe. Pero dahil apat lang ang kasya sa tricycle, lugi na agad ang pasada namin,” said Reyes. 

A vegetable vendor and senior citizen in Zamboanga also recently shared that even in her old age, she works everyday just to provide for her children and grandchildren and yet, with the sharp rise in prices, she has to borrow money to get by. 

 “Sa tanda kong ito, umuutang pa rin ako. Kahit ayaw na ng katawan ko, babangon at babangon pa rin ako para tulungan ang pamilya,” said Aling Diding Sada.

Instead of pointing fingers and debating on the matter, Sen. Bam said economic managers should squarely face the problems and look for practical solutions to address the problem. 

 Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo Bill, which aims to suspend the excise tax on fuel under the TRAIN Law when the average inflation rate surpasses the annual inflation target over a three-month period. 

 Sen. Bam stressed the need to immediately enact the measure into law since there is a scheduled P2 additional excise tax on petroleum products under the TRAIN Law in January 2019. 

”Huwag niyo nang paabutin ng Pasko ang paghihirap ng sambayanang Pilipino. Ipasa na natin ang Bawas Presyo Bill sa lalong madaling panahon,” said Sen. Bam.

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