Friday August 17, 2018

Senators divided on move to amend tax reform law

SENATORS have expressed varied reactions on the reported move to amend or suspend the implementation of the tax reform law.

Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III promptly ruled out moves to repeal the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) and shrugged off moves to amend its allegedly onerous provisions.

Pimentel said Tuesday, May 15, that the law is not to be entirely blamed for the increase in prices of basic commodities. He said oil prices are also influenced by global developments.

He said suspending its implementation would affect the implementation of other new measures, which are dependent on governnment's revenue generation efforts.

He cited the free irrigation law and the salary adjustments for uniformed personnel.

Earlier, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV filed Senate Bill 1798 which seeks to amend the controversial tax reform program and suspend the collection of excise tax on fuel once inflation rate breaches the prescribed target range.

But Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III downplayed the reported voting in favor of remedial legislation to scrap or amend the Train law as he asked critics to look at the advantages of the revenue measure.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said he is not keen to support the move to repeal the law as he indicated that the majority bloc will not be backing such legislation to repeal the Train law.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito Estrada said he sees nothing wrong if Congress will correct tax rates in the existing law citing the fact that the Senate's approved version of the Train had much lower excise tax on petroleum and sugar-sweetened beverages compared to the original version. (PS Jun Sarmiento/SunStar Philippines)