OFFICIALS of different Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) offices in Northern Mindanao have reassured the public that there is no extensive increase in the prices of basic and time commodities in the region since the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (Train law).
"Dili tinuod nga dunay dagkong (It is not true that there is a huge) impact on the prices of basic and time commodities ang atong (under the) Train Law," DTI-Misamis Oriental Director Eliza Pabillore said on Tuesday, February 13.
Pabillore added that only the sugar-laden products, such as softdrinks and other beverages, are affected in the establishment of the Tax Reform law.
She also refuted the public's assumption on the matter as she mentioned that around November or December 2017, people are "panic-buying" vehicles in anticipation of the big price increase of brand new vehicles because of the Train law when in fact there was a decrease in the prices of vehicles.
"In other words, dili tinuod ang apprehension sa mga tao nga dagko ang increases impact of the Train law (the apprehension that there are huge increases as impact of the Train law is not true)," Pabillore said.
This was also echoed by DTI-Lanao del Norte Director Ruel Paclipan, saying that according to the reports on price monitoring in Iligan City, the price of flour decreased from January to February 2018.
Meanwhile, store owners and consumers have varying opinions and observations on the prices of basic commodities and the implementation of the Train law.
Anne, a sari-sari store owner, said there wasn't any huge price increase in goods except for softdrinks, juice, and other sugar-laden products.
"Mga softdrinks kasagara gyud og coffee, sa canned good gagmay ra, dili tanan (Mostly in softdrinks and coffee, there is an increase in the prices of canned goods but only a little and not all)," Anne said.
The sari-sari store owner added that the only canned product which price increased was the corned beef by P2.
As for the existence of the Train law, Anne said that the law is good for the country, adding that it is for improvement and serves its purpose.
However, a consumer and also a store owner named Caingin says otherwise.
According to Caingin, almost all of the goods increased upon the implementation of the Train law.
She said it is not only the sugar-laden products that raised their prices but also other goods such as soap, shampoo, eggs, canned goods and even rice.
The price of eggs went from P150 per tray to P160 while the canned goods also increased by P2 to P3, Caingin said.
She added that for her, the Train law is alright but she only wish that only selected items, and not all basic commodities, will have its price increase.
Guilbert Capungan, a jeepney driver, meanwhile, said the cost of diesel has reduced since last week.
"Sa pagkakaron, niubos sya, ni-roll back mga piso kapin ang diesel. Ni roll back niaging adlaw ug gabii, mga Thursday or Friday ug kagabii (At present, the price of diesel decreased for more than P1. It happened last Thursday or Friday and last night)," Capungan said.
He added that the cost of diesel per liter, as of now, reduced to P39.45 from P42.
A gasoline station attendant and cashier, Leo, echoed Capungan, saying that there was a decrease in the price of diesel last week, from P42.16 to P41.31.
The cost of XCS, unleaded and kerosene has also lessened, Leo added.
Ruben Vegafria, a Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (Oro Chamber) official, for his part, said he didn't notice anyone who was frightened or worried over the said price increase, except for sugar-laden products.
"Nahadlok lang gyud ta (We are frightened) because for many, many years, naay mga balaod sa taxes nga dili nato bali-balihon so kampante kaayo ta. Pero karon man gyud, strikto na ang pag implement sa anang mga baloaod sa taxation, so nagbalaka ang tanan kay in fact, daghan kaayo ang dili gabayad sa taxes niadto og pugos pa gyud (we have been ignoring the tax laws. But now that the implementation of the law is strict, everyone is worried since there are people who fails or forced to pay their taxes)," Vegafria said.
The Oro Chamber official added that the Tax Reform law is "good for the country because we need taxes to help implement the programs of the government."
"Let us not only concentrate on mga (the) costs and commodities but also take a look at the other side of the program," Vegafria said, adding that tax payers are also benefited such as the deduction of income tax, and among others.
Vegafria said the public's wariness over the law can also be attributed to the lack of information dissemination which, he added, the Oro Chamber is now addressing.
Pabillore, meanwhile, also assured the public that the DTI is doing its weekly price monitoring of basic and time commodities, saying that those who were caught increasing prices due to unwarranted reason, the DTI will issue a show cause order.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 19, 2018.