Press Release
May 21, 2018

Sen. Bam: Severe price increases with no cash transfer to poor families, grounds for TRAIN suspension

Senator Bam Aquino insisted that the excessive price increases, unprecedented inflation rate and government's failure to deliver on the unconditional cash transfer program are sufficient grounds to suspend the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

"Hirap na hirap na ang mga Pilipino sa taas ng presyo ng bilihin. Mula tatlo, ngayon dalawang beses kada araw na lang kumain ang ilang pamilya. Masasabi pa ba nating magtiis na lang sila?" said Sen. Bam, one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the TRAIN Law.

Sen. Bam was alluding to Socio-Economic Planning Sec. Ernesto Pernia's pronouncement that Filipinos should just tighten their belts and live with the effects of the tax reform law.

"Ang malala rito, hindi pa nabibigay ng gobyerno ang pinangakong financial assistance ng TRAIN sa higit 6 million na pamilya. Sapat na dapat ito para isuspindi ang TRAIN law," said Sen. Bam, who is pushing to suspend the TRAIN Law, particularly the excise tax on fuel.

Under Sen. Bam's Senate Bill No. 1798, the excise tax on fuel under TRAIN will automatically be suspended when the average inflation rate surpasses the annual inflation target over a three-month period.

Sen. Bam successfully included this safeguard during the TRAIN deliberations, but the provision was removed from the final draft of the law during the bicameral conference.

"Sagad na ang pagtitiis ng mga Pilipino sa pagtaas ng presyo. Gawin naman natin ang ating makakaya para bigyan sila ng kaunting ginhawa," said Sen. Bam, adding that the targeted collections for excise tax on fuel in 2018 is only P70-billion, compared to government underspending last year amounting to P390 billion.

"Hindi lang TRAIN ang pinagkukunan ng budget. We can 'Build, Build, Build' and provide Filipinos free college tuition in SUCs even without collections from the excise tax on fuel," Sen. Bam asserted.

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