Aquino belies gov’t promises on employment in TRAIN 2
Senator Bam Aquino on Friday belied the government’s pronouncement that there would be no job loss if the second tranche of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) is enacted into law.
The opposition senator has questioned the pronouncement of some finance officials that the TRAIN 2 would create more jobs.
“Sa TRAIN 1, sinabi ng gobyerno na hindi ito makaaapekto sa pagtaas ng presyo. Ngayong TRAIN 2, sinasabi nilang walang mawawalang trabaho. May maniniwala pa ba sa kanila?” Aquino asked.
(In TRAIN 1, the government said this will not affect the prices. Now in TRAIN 2, they are saying that no one will lose job. Is there someone still believing them?)
“Huwag na po niyong paikutin ang taumbayan. Nalulunod na nga sa taas presyo dahil sa TRAIN 1, lolokohin nyo pa pagdating dito sa TRAIN 2,” added Aquino, who was one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the first TRAIN Law package.
(Do not fool the people. Rising prices are overwhelming the people in TRAIN 1, and you will fool us again in TRAIN 2.)
TRAIN 2 seeks to lower the corporate tax rate, as well as widen the corporate tax base and plug its tax leakages, through rationalizing the administration of tax incentives.
A similar bill in the House of Representatives, called Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities or the TRABAHO bill, recently passed at the committee level, while its counterpart in Senate has yet to be taken up.
Aquino also doubted the government’s capacity to deliver on time the financial package proposed in the House version for workers who might be displaced once TRAIN 2 is enacted into law.
“Malapit nang matapos ang 2018 pero hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin nila naibibigay ang pangakong tulong sa ilalim ng TRAIN 1 habang nalulunod na sa taas ng presyo ng bilihin ang mahihirap na Pilipino,” he said, referring to the unconditional cash transfer program and the Pantawid Pasada Program.
(The year 2018 is about to end but until today they are not fulfilling their promises under TRAIN 1 while people continue to be overwhelmed by TRAIN 1.)
In a separate interview in San Fernando, Pampanga, the lawmaker said locators in the Clark Freeport Zone might be forced to close shops and move to other countries if TRAIN 2 is enacted into law, which would lead to loss of jobs for thousands of Filipinos.
“Marami sa industry associations ang nagsabi na kapag natuloy ang TRAIN 2, aalis sila at lilipat sa Indonesia, Thailand at Vietnam. Mahalaga ang trabaho ng bawat Pilipino at kailangan natin itong protektahan,” he said as he committed to fight against provisions in TRAIN 2 that would affect the employment of thousands of Filipinos.
“Marami na ngang palpak ang TRAIN 1, itutulak pa rin ang TRAIN 2. Siguraduhin na muna nating napag-aralan na talaga ang epekto ng mga panukalang ito kundi baka mayroon nanamang masasagasaang mahihirap na Pilipino,” he lamented.
The senator then emphasized that the government should first address the problems caused by TRAIN 1, like its effects on inflation and prices of goods, before pushing for TRAIN 2.
Aquino said he earlier filed Senate Bill No. 1798 or the Bawas Presyo Bill, which seeks 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. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.