TRAIN law not the cause of recent inflation, says Gatchalian

Sherwin Gatchalian

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian (File photo by RICHARD A. REYES / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

The recently-implemented Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law was not the reason behind the price hikes, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Monday.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate economic affairs panel, said the two main causes of higher inflation were “fluctuation on the global oil prices as well as the depreciation of the peso.”

“The fluctuation on oil prices, tumaas at bumaba siya eh (it goes up and down) but definitely, this is the one affecting inflation right now,” Gatchalian told reporters.

“We will see the full effect of TRAIN in terms of inflation come May. All the way until August, this is really the time-table wherein mararamdaman na natin ang effects of tax reform, pero ngayon wala pa (we can feel the effects of tax reform, but for now, none yet),” he added.

The senator also agreed with the analysis of the Department of Finance that inflation rates are currently “manageable.”

“Inflation rate right now is manageable, it’s not due on the tax reform because makikita natin nagflu-fluctuate talaga ang presyo ng langis at ang  (we can see that the price of fuel is really fluctuating and) peso depreciation but that doesn’t mean that we should not implement what is already included in the law which is the cash transfers, the national ID system,” he said.

Gatchalian pointed out that other mitigating measures to address higher inflation would be the implementation of P200 cash transfer program to poor Filipino families, fare and rice discounts, and the removal of “quantitative restrictions” on rice importations.

But based on the hearing, Gatchalian admitted that the P200 cash transfer to poor families is “not enough.”

Under the TRAIN Law, 10 million poor Filipinos would be provided with financial assistance in a bid to counter the expected increase in prices of goods brought by TRAIN’s higher excise tax on fuel products, among others.

In 2018, they will receive P200 monthly assistance, to be followed by a P300 monthly cash subsidy in 2019 and 2010. /je