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'A run-away locomotive'.

By Elinando Cinco

As an allegory, the government's tax reform package TRAIN is likened by many people I talked to, to a wild locomotive that is virtually unstoppable in its track, inflicting damage on the lives of marginal Filipino families.

Congress has just run over the Filipino people. If the President signs the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Program into law, ordinary Filipinos will have to bear the brunt of additional new taxes being imposed.

The new taxes will promptly increase in the cost of coal, fuel, and sweetened beverages - just a few things that affect the daily lives of every Filipino.

Take coal, for example. Under TRAIN, its excise tax will gradually increase a thousand percent up to year 2020.

Electricity generation companies that produce the energy by coal-fired turbines and generators will multiply their cost of electricity that distribution or retail utilities buy from the former, will in turn, sell to the households of poor Filipinos.

Cement factories, likewise, use coal-fired machinery in cleaning their manufacturing facilities. Who, do you think, will absorb the new increased price of cement per bag?

But to add insult to injury, this tax measure was ratified by House of Representatives in the most obscure form - with only 10 legislators present.

A tax measure, in its final form, being only reviewed by 10 elected representatives yet will affect every person in the country is just plain offensive to the electorate. The rules of the House of Representatives require 147 members to be present for a quorum to be called, while only 10 were present, it was deemed sufficient. Logic just flew out the window.

While the current administration enjoys a strong support from all sectors - from Congress to every socio economic bracket of the population - one can't help but wonder why it had to discard with all the legalities and thrust its landmark tax reform program into the abyss of public doubt?

Will Duterte, who claims to be pro-poor, actually sign into law a tax measure that will affect every single Filipino, living and yet to be born, that blatantly disregarded the law?

The TRAIN is not just any law; it is a law that will affect present and future Filipinos. With people's livelihood at stake, the Filipino people deserve a tax reform program that has been carefully reviewed and studied by the very people they elected to be their representatives. The Filipinos deserve better.

Instead of rushing it over the Filipino people, the deep and long-term ramifications of this tax reform demands that more time be allowed for more deliberate study and analysis. Experts must be consulted for their views and, most importantly, a thorough hearing of the opinions and concerns of all the affected sectors.

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UST PHILETS AND ARTLETS ALUMNI GET-TOGETHER. The Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas and its Artlets Alumni Association played host to the Philets and Artlets Alumni Homecoming held at the ballroom of the Thomasian Alumni Center of the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes O.P. Building last December 3.

The homecoming, its organization and program, was the brainchild of Henry S. Tenedero who is presidentof the Artlets Alumni Association. He also happens to be president of the UST Alumni Associations, Inc.

The main highlight and focus of the joint homecoming, the first for both faculties, was the bestowing of the SANGHAYA Award to some 35 Philets alumni who were present at the occasion. Waving the Grandeur and Glory inscription, the special award was in recognition of the achievements of many Philets in various fields of professional endeavors, notably, in print and broadcast journalism, marketing communication, public relations, cinema direction and script writing, teaching profession, and in government. A well-deserved homage paid by the Artlets to their predecessors.

The Sunday event started with a concelebrated mass led by Rev. Fr. RodelAligan, O.P. Other alumni association officials who had parts in the whole-day affair (in the order of their respective numbers in theprogram) were Dean Michael Anthony Vasco, Faculty of Arts and Letters; Julius Fernandez, UST Communication Arts Batch 2013; Lawyer Doy Santos, president, ABSC 2011-2012; Ms. Mitos C. Araneta, president, Faculty of Philosophy and Letters Alumni Foundation; Bong Osorio, UST Communication Arts Batch 1974; ReymarkSimbulan, president, ABSC 2017-2018; Prof. Cherry Tanodra, director, UST Office for Alumni Relations; and Brod Pete, alumnus.

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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Dec 21, 2017
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