President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Saturday night said that he will leave it up to the Congress to amend, suspend, or modify the tax reform law amid the rise in prices of commodities and services.
“Well, the law was enacted by Congress, I’ll leave it to Congress to decide whether or not to amend or suspend or modify the law,” Duterte said in a press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Terminal 2 before departing for his official visit to South Korea from June 3 to 5.
Duterte said that there is no value to what he wanted to happen to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, noting that it was the legislative branch who had the power to decide on how to act on it.
However, Duterte reiterated that it is necessary to carry out the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, which is meant to sustain the economy’s high-growth momentum.
“There’s no value in giving much — of what I want. Because even if I say that we need it for the Build, Build, Build, I can’t do anything about it,” Duterte said.
Duterte said that if Congress wants to suspend the TRAIN law, then he would just have to “bite the bullet” and go on since it was their decision.
Earlier, Duterte emphasized the need to implement the TRAIN law to raise more funds to run the country.
“We have, all the while, (been) having problems, inflation is always there. There are many reasons, but also actually one of them is the TRAIN (law). But I need money to run the country,” Duterte said.
Some lawmakers call for suspension of the additional excise tax brought by TRAIN law implementation while others suggest postponing implementation of the entire law amid rising inflation rate.
The TRAIN is the first package of the comprehensive tax reform program meant to correct deficiencies in the tax system.
The Department of Finance (DOF) earlier defended the implementation of the TRAIN noting that its biggest impact is not on basic commodities, but on non-essential commodities like tobacco and sugar-sweetened beverages to help safeguard the health of Filipinos.
To cushion the law’s effects, the government has provided PHP4.3 billion worth of unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) to low-income households as part of TRAIN’s social mitigation measures, which has so far reached 1.8 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries since the first quarter of the year. (PNA)