Poe: Without gov’t subsidies, TRAIN does more harm to poor people
Without the mandated subsidies for poor families and low-wage earners, the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law “would result to more harm than good.”
Senator Grace Poe issued this warning in her letter addressed to concerned government agencies on Monday, requesting for the immediate implementation of measures to mitigate the effects of the law.
The letter-request was separately addressed to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Social Welfare Secretary Virginia Orogo and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chair Martin Delgra III.
“As swift as we had passed the TRAIN law, it is only right that we immediately implement the mitigating measures, which we have designed for the poorest of the poor,” Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said in the letter.
“The social welfare and benefits program is an indispensable part of the implementation of TRAIN. Without this program, I fear that TRAIN would result in more harm than good,” she said.
Under Section 82 of the tax reform law, the senator said jeepney franchise holders are entitled to fuel vouchers; minimum-wage earners and the poorest 50 percent of the population are qualified for fare discounts, rice discounts and free skills training, while a total of 10 million low-income households will each receive P200 per month this year and P300 per month in 2019 and 2020.
In a letter, Poe noted the “overwhelming sentiments” aired in recent hearings of the committee about the effects of the law especially on minimum wage earners.
“The overwhelming sentiments shared by the participants was that minimum wage earners are already suffering from the simultaneous effects of increasing fuel prices, inflation on basic commodities and services, and this is compounded by the effects of the TRAIN law,” she said.
“Thus, we respectfully urge your agency to take steps towards the immediate implementation of the social welfare and benefits program of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, particularly the following items under Section 82.”
Poe’s panel had earlier recommended the suspension of excise taxes on petroleum products amid the reported price surges on basic commodities and services. /jpv
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