Zarate: New tax reform measures ‘insensitive’ to consumers’ plight
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate has criticized the approval of the substitute bill to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) package two, calling it insensitive because the inflation rate for the month of July just reached 5.7 percent.
“The approval of TRAIN 2 bodes ill for consumers since any tax or cancellation of tax incentives of companies would be passed on to consumers,” Zarate said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Its approval is also insensitive especially now that inflation for July has reached a staggering 5.7 percent, and prices continue to increase,” he added.
On Tuesday noon, the House Committee on Ways and Means led by chair Rep. Dakila Cua approved the amended proposal called TRABAHO or Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunities.
Cua implied that the renaming coincides with the goal of the measure, which is to create more employment opportunities for Filipinos by encouraging businesses to invest in the country.
“Wala na pong TRAIN 2, TRABAHO na po ang tawag dito, ang goal ho nito ay (There is no more TRAIN 2, we now call it TRABAHO. The goal is…) to create jobs by attracting the right set of investments through incentives,” Cua said in an ambush interview after the hearing.
On the other hand, an official from the Department of Finance (DOF) present during the hearing blamed the high prices of rice and imported crude oil as reasons for the bloated inflation and not the Train law.
“I don’t think so, because how much is diesel today? I think P14 more expensive than December, Train only added P2.50 per liter,” DOF Undersecretary Karl Chua claimed.
However, the Makabayan bloc member thinks otherwise; he also believes that other TRAIN packages would only push the inflation rate higher.
“With TRAIN 2, more goods and services would have price increases, and would drive the inflation rate to higher levels. The supposed measures to lower inflation would also be useless if TRAINS 1, 2, and up to 5 are approved and implemented,” Zarate said.
He also added that no amount of rebranding of TRAIN 2, which he claimed was railroaded with the aggressive push of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, will hide its ‘stench’.
“To reduce inflation and for prices to go down it would be best to repeal the anti-people TRAIN law and junk the other TRAIN proposals,” he added. /ee
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