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TRAIN to make poorest 60 million Filipinos poorer

29 June 2017 No Comment
Citing the findings of an independent policy think tank, ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro revealed that the new taxes in President Duterte’s tax reform package will make the poorest 60 million Filipinos poorer due to higher prices of basic goods and services.
“The Department of Finance’s (DOF) assurance that 99% of taxpayers will pay less  taxes with the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) is not true,” said Tinio. “According to IBON International, which used DOF’s own data, the poorest 60 million Filipinos under TRAIN will pay more taxes with higher prices on food, drinks, LPG, transport fares, electricity, housing and other basic goods and services.”
The solon revealed that government will in effect take away P737 to P980 annually from the poorest 4.6 million families (lowest two income deciles, with average monthly household income of P5,214 to P8,315), P1,163 to P1,374 from the next poorest 4.6 million families (third and fourth income deciles, P10,691 to P13,015 monthly income), and P1,687 to P2,088 from the next poorest 4.6 million families (fifth and sixth income deciles, P15,746 to P19,269 monthly income).
“Even the proposed social protection measures cannot fully cushion the impact that the inflation will bring to these families,” said Castro. “The DOF has provided only scant details on the social benefits card and fuel vouchers, so there is no assurance that they will make up for the increased prices of basic goods and services.”
“Indeed, what can P10 a day do in the face of more expensive LPG, food and drinks, and power, water, and fare hikes? And what will the poor do after 3 years, when the P300 monthly unconditional cash transfer and other social protection measures end? These are merely temporary measures to the never-ending burden caused by TRAIN,” she added.
The solons continued, in contrast, the net impact of TRAIN is that the highest-earning 40% Filipino households will have more money in their pockets. This estimated 9.1 million households— around 40 million Filipinos— includes the richest households in the country. Corporate executives or CEOs already earning P280,309 to P598,132 monthly (P3.4 million to P7.2 million yearly) will have an additional P91,027 to P130,267, they revealed, again citing DOF’s estimations.
“Middle class households in the seventh to ninth income deciles— families whose only moderate incomes are doubly-eroded by inflation and excessively high taxes— certainly deserve tax relief. But it makes no sense at all for a supposed tax reform to give more to those earning more, especially if it also takes hundreds of pesos away from the poorest Filipinos who already have so little as it is,” explained Tinio. “TRAIN is by no means a ‘fairer and more equitable’ tax system as DOF labels it.”
“We urge our senators not to pass the anti-poor, pro-rich TRAIN. We also urge President Duterte: prove your pro-poor stand by dropping TRAIN as a legislative priority,” the solons ended. ###

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