bam aquino on tax reform

Sen. Bam warns public: Brace for increase in prices in 2018

Senator Bam Aquino informed the public to brace for the increase in prices of basic commodities in 2018 due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN)  that was enacted into law recently by the government.
“We won’t be surprised by the increase in prices in 2018. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit kumontra tayo sa pagsasabatas ng TRAIN dahil masasagasaan nito ang mga kababayan nating mahihirap,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam made the reaction after the Industrial Group of Zamboanga warned that prices of sardines will increase starting next year due to the excise tax imposed on petroleum products.
“Ito’y isa lang sa inaasahan nating pagtaas sa presyo ng bilhin na ang papasan ay ang mahihirap nating kababayan,” Sen. Bam said.
Sen. Bam rejected the TRAIN’s approval due to the inability of government to implement the financial assistance program in time for the increase in prices due to provisions on excise tax on fuel and sweetened beverage tax.
The Department of Finance (DOF) proposed a cash transfer program with a P200 monthly financial assistance on the first year and P300 monthly financial assistance for the second and third year to help cover the increase in prices of basic goods.
During the period of amendments, Sen. Bam pushed for the immediate implementation of the cash transfer program to help poor Filipinos absorb the expected increase in the prices of goods and services.  However, Sen. Bam’s proposal was not accepted by the DOF.
“In the end, poor Filipinos will bear the brunt of this tax reform program as it will increase the prices of basic commodities without the immediate cash transfer assistance to the poor” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam renewed his call to the government to speed up the implementation of the cash transfer program so poor people won’t be burdened by the increase in prices.
Sen. Bam is also hoping that the increase in take-home pay will be enough to offset the increase of prices of goods and services.
In addition, the lawmaker urged the government to focus on improving the performance of revenue-generating agencies such as the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Data from the Finance Department shows that an additional P726 billion can still be collected by government by addressing inefficiencies and removing loopholes in the BIR.
The government can also collect at least P231 billion if the importation gap and smuggling is resolved by BOC.

Sen. Bam Aquino’s Explanation of No-Vote for TRAIN Ratification

Thank you, Mr. President.

First of all, Mr. President, let me just say that my no vote at the ratification is by no means an indication of the leadership and the diligence of our Chairman. Our Chairman worked very hard for this bill, and I believe he really did his best to come up with the best version that he could, with the circumstances given to him.

However, Mr. President, if I I could explain my vote, the DOF knows that there was really one major provision or one major aspect of this bill that was important to this representation. At yun, Mr. President, yung epekto ng batas na ito sa napakaraming mahihirap sa ating bansa.

Totoo po, Mr. President, merong 6 million Filipinos ang matutulungan ng batas na ito. 6 million Filipinos, in fairness, Mr. President, and will congratulate this portion of the bill, will go to the larger take-home pay. However, Mr. President, in the records of the Department of Finance, in their deliberations, in their presentations to the individual senators, lumalabas po talaga na dahil sa pagtaas ng bilihin, we’re looking at the bottom 40% of the Filipino people who will carry the brunt of the tax reform because of the increase in prices.

Now, Mr. President, a lot of us have raised this issue. At yung na-mention po ng DOF na tulong sa ating mga kababayan ang unconditional cash transfer. In short, Mr. President, yung pang-balanse sa napakaraming pamilyang Pilipinong naghihirap dahil sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin, at yung pagbibigay ng 200, or- ngayon po 200 pero initially in the Senate version 300 pesos per month na tulong, financial assistance to the bottom, roughly 10 million families to help them with the increase in prices because of the tax reform. Mr. President, with that assertion, marami po sa atin, napanatag ang kalooban.

However, Mr. President, lumabas po doon sa ating interpolation, at lumabas po doon sa ating pananaliksik ng DOF at ng iba pang mga ahensya, na hindi po kayang i-implement ang programang iyon na kasabay sa pagtaas ng presyo ng ating bilihin.

And Mr. President, yun po siguro yung isang bagay na para sa akin, hindi ko pwedeng suportahan ang batas na ito kung hindi maisasabay  ang tulong na pinansyal sa ating mga kababayan doon sa pagtaas ng taxes ng napakaraming produkto sa ating bansa. And I hope, Mr. President, this no-vote will spur our agencies to work faster, and this is, of course, DOF, DSWD, and other concerned agencies, na sana po, hindi gaya ng sabi nila, na hindi kayang isabay ang programa doon po sa pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin. Sana po mahanapan pa po nila ng paraan, na sa madaling panahon, masabay po nila yung programang tulong na pinansyal sa mga kababayan natin doon po sa pagtaas ng taxes sa napakaraming presyo, sa napakaraming bilihin sa ating bansa. And because of that, Mr. President, I, unfortunately, cannot support this measure. Thank you, Mr. President.

Sen. Bam: Shield the poor from admin’s tax increases

How about the country’s poor?

 Senator Bam Aquino raised this question as he opposed moves to remove the earmarking provision of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), which is aimed at helping country’s poor cope with the expected increase in prices of goods and services brought about by the government’s proposed tax measure.

 “This tax measure will hit the poorest of our countrymen the hardest. It’s necessary on our part to have the earmarking and an effective cash transfer program para sa ating mahihirap na kababayan,” said Sen. Bam during the period of amendments for TRAIN.

 Earmarking allots parts of revenues generated from the tax measure to several priority programs, including financial assistance to the country’s poor through an unconditional cash transfer program to help them cope with the expected price increase once the measure is enacted into law.

 Based on computation, the country’s poor will be given a P300 monthly financial assistance for a certain period of time to help cover the increase in prices of basic goods due to additional tax on sugar beverages and petroleum. 

“Kailangan matiyak na mayroong makukuhang tulong kada buwan mula sa pamahalaan ang mga mahihirap na pamilya upang mabalanse ang pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin. Kung hindi natin gagawin iyan, we will be passing a measure which will hit our poorest countrymen the worst,” Sen. Bam stressed, adding that the Department of Finance itself presented the cash transfer program as the best solution to help the country’s poor cope with the increase in prices.

 During the period of amendments, Sen. Bam committed to present proposals on how to ensure that the welfare of the country’s poor will be protected under this tax reform program.

 “Kailangan nating isipin ang kapakanan ng mga kababayan nating mahihirap na siyang tatamaan nang husto sa pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin,” said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam: We owe it to the people to scrutinize proposed tax reform package

Sen. Bam Aquino assured the public that the Senate will put the tax reform package being pushed by the Duterte administration under the microscope, saying lawmakers owe it to the people. 
“Pagdating sa tax reform package, mukhang mahaba-haba pa ang mangyayaring debate tungkol dito,” said Sen. Bam, vice chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means. 
“We owe it to the Filipino people na kilatisin iyon kasi at the end of the day, tataas ang presyo ng bilihin dahil sa panukalang ito,” stressed Sen. Bam, adding that the Senate cannot accede to the President request to pass the tax reform package in total. 
In an earlier interview, Sen. Bam warned that the government’s plan of imposing excise tax on liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline and diesel under its tax reform package will lead to higher prices of commodities. 
“The excise tax on LPG, gasoline and diesel will raise prices eventually. It might be inflationary because everything is transported. This will affect the pockets of our countrymen,” said Sen. Bam. 
However, Sen. Bam said he supports the move to reduce personal income tax rate, saying it was part of his advocacy when he became a senator. “Hindi naman tama na iyong CEO at kanyang secretary ay parehong kinakaltasan ng 32 percent na income tax,” said Sen. Bam. 
In the 17th Congress, Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 697 that seeks to revise the current income tax bracket set by the National Internal Revenue Code, which was passed in 1997. 
The measure seeks to amend Section 24 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, by adjusting the levels of net taxable income and simplifying the nominal tax rates for the purposes of computing the individual income tax.
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