Angara slammed for allegedly lying about effects of TRAIN law
MANILA, Philippines — A political party has criticized re-electionist Senator Sonny Angara for claiming that the tax reform law he authored is not the cause of higher prices of oil products.
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) chair Sonny Melencio on Monday called Angara a coward for trying to deny responsibility for the supposed negative effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
“It is a blatant display of cowardice on the part of Mister Angara to deny his central role in the hardship endured by millions of ordinary Filipinos,” Melencio said in a statement.
“His name and his face is practically plastered on price tags of all commodities,” he added.
Melencio was referring to the remarks made by Angara in a radio program last Thursday, where he said the rapid and huge increase in the price of gasoline and diesel fuels — which led to higher fares for public transport — should be blamed on the global market and not on the TRAIN law.
“Neutral lang naman kasi ‘yong iba sinisisi sa TRAIN law ‘yong pagtaas ng presyo ng langis, pero kung tutuusin ‘yong pinataw na buwis dalawang piso (The TRAIN law is being blamed for the increase in prices of fuel products, but the additional tax is only P2.00),” Angara said, answering questions whether authoring the TRAIN law has affected his candidacy.
“Pero ang itinaas po ng presyo ng langis, P12 to P15, so hindi dahil sa batas kung hindi sa pandaigdigang merkado (But the increase in fuel prices is P12 to P15, so it’s not because of the law but the global market),” he added.
However, Melencio claimed that Angara pushed through with the additional taxes even if he already knew that global oil prices are unstable and do not have predictable trends.
“Angara as an economist knows very well that global prices are volatile and we are very dependent on them. He knew beforehand but still forced it upon the people,” Melencio said.
The TRAIN law was passed in 2017 and took effect last January 2018. Under the law, additional taxes were imposed on drinks with sugar and oil products, among others — to fund the administration’s infrastructure program.
An excise tax of P2.50 was placed on oil products in 2018, while another P2.00 was imposed this January.
The senator claimed during the radio interview that some Filipinos welcomed the TRAIN law because it brought the tax exemption ceiling higher and made income tax lower.
“Pero ‘yong iba naman natutuwa do’n sa benepisyo ng pagbaba ng buwis na binabayaran sa kita o ‘yong lower income tax (But others are also happy because it lowered income tax),” Angara noted.
Still, Melencio said that this could not justify the problems caused by the tax reform upon low-income families, especially since minimum wage earners did not benefit from it as they are exempted (from income taxation).
“One thing is crystal clear to all but most especially the poor, we can no longer purchase the same amount of goods that we used to before the TRAIN Law, especially since a sizable majority of the poor earn from the underground economy and did not benefit from income tax exemptions,” he explained.
“Whatever gains the income tax exemption brought were immediately negated by the prices of commodities. It merely gave an impression that he improved the conditions of wage-earners, but in truth, the opposite happened,” Melencio added. /ee
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