DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As the inflation rate hit at 5.2 percent last month, a member of Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives said the number may increase before the end of the year due to the continuing implementation of the regressive TRAIN or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.
In a statement on Friday, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said the inflation may even reach six percent before the year ends and the price shocks now being experienced by the Filipino people would be more shocking.
“Sa ngayon lahat ay nagmahalan na halos lahat ng batayang bilihin at mga karaniwang mamanayan ang mas higit na nahihirapan (Prices of almost all basic commodity items went up and the ordinary people are the ones worst hit),” the progressive solon said.
Zarate also expressed concern over the fare hike that will take effect in the midst of the increases in the prices of sugar, bread and rice.
“But this is just the beginning of our burdens because based on the TRAIN Law the excise tax of P2.50 a liter is imposed on diesel and bunker fuel starting January this year but this rate will go up to P4.50 in 2019 and P6 in 2020,” he emphasized.
He added that the excise tax on gasoline has already increased from P4.35 a liter to P7 and the same will go up to P9 in 2019 and P10 in 2020.
“We witness how the people are still reeling from the effects of the P2.50 increase in oil excise tax, now imagine what the effects would be when the P4.00 and P6.00 excise tax is implemented. Baka wala na halos mabili ang mga consumers sa taas ng presyo ng bilihin,” Zarate said.
The TRAIN law, he continued, will also impose a P50/metric ton excise tax on coal in the first phase of the tax impositions for this year.
“That will go up to P100 per metric ton of coal next year, and to a higher P150 per metric ton in 2020. Of course, there are a lot of other tax impositions under the TRAIN law but the oil and coal tax is among the tax impositions that would have the biggest impact on consumer products and services,” he added.
Under such conditions, Zarate said the institution of Suggested Retail Price (SRP) on goods and products is not enough.
The labeling of SRP in goods and products, he added, is merely a display by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to make it appear that they are doing something for the consumers.
“It is clear that unless the TRAIN Law is repealed we are in for bigger price shocks in the coming years. No amount of unconditional cash transfers or pantawid pasada can change the fact that the TRAIN Law is anti-poor and anti-people. We are again calling on the House leadership to expedite the hearings for House Bill 7653 to repeal the TRAIN Law and lighten the burden of Filipinos,” Zarate said. (davaotoday.com)