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Youth group demands junking of TRAIN law implementation.

By Chito Chavez

With the soaring prices of prime commodities, a militant youth group asked the government to junk the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

The youth group Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark) stressed the effects of Republic Act 10963 or the TRAIN law are not "minimal and temporary" as the government claimed but is also "grossly detrimental to the poor majority of Filipinos".

Spark insisted the rosy picture of the economy under the Build, Build, Build program which the TRAIN law was designed to finance has created a deep financial burden on the public.

The group noted that TRAIN's "minimal and temporary effects" as claimed by the government were a small price to pay for the infrastructure blitz runs in

contrast to reality.

Joanne Lim of Spark said the government even went as far as accusing anti-TRAIN groups of spreading disinformation.

"A mere five months into its implementation, the poor have witnessed their purchasing power shrink more than ever. The costs of goods are undeniably and consistently on the rise. In order for this administration to save face they must admit their misclaim and revoke TRAIN immediately before the economy dips further," Spark said.

They added that "It seems that government officials believed in their own propaganda, neglecting that fact that the TRAIN Law was imposed on top of other neo-liberal economic policies such as the oil and electricity deregulation which are susceptible to global market prices".

Besides the revocation of the TRAIN Law, Spark proposes that the government must abolish contractualization, generate sustainable jobs, abolish regional wage boards and enact family living wages as the national minimum wage to combat the spiraling cost of living.

Likewise, Spark criticized the Finance Department for failing to effectively implement the social mitigating measures under Section 82 of the TRAIN law despite its projected inflationary consequences.

"The additional monthly P200 allowance for 4Ps beneficiaries did little to shield them from price increases because of the absence of regular sources of income due to the Duterte administration's preservation of contractualization and lack of employment opportunities," Spark said.

Spark maintained that the other benefits such as the fuel vouchers for jeepney drivers, fare discounts, and NFA rice discounts did not even take-off since TRAIN took effect last January 1.

"These officials do not deserve another day in the Cabinet. Their deliberate deception of the taxpaying public is despicable and criminal," the group said



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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:May 29, 2018
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