Thursday August 16, 2018

Aquino: Several senators will block Train 2

BACOLOD. Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV meets with the vendors and trisikad drivers at the Bacolod Central Market Thursday, August 9. (Teresa Ellera)

SENATOR Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said Thursday, August 9, that several senators will block the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law 2 if the proposed bill will be filed in the Senate.

"Honestly, it is very hard to move on to Train 2 because with Train 1, there are already a lot of problems. Many of us said that we are against and not in favor of Train 2. If it will be filed, we will either block it or amend it," Aquino said.

Aquino held a dialogue on Thursday with some of the members of vendors associations including the urban poor and the trisikad drivers association in the City at the Bacolod Central Market.

All the representatives of the associations confirmed the huge disparity in prices of prime commodities after the Train 1 was implemented.

"We already have apprehensions that with Train 1 that prices would go up and that the assistance coming from the government has not yet reached the people," said the senator.

He also said that with Train 2, incentives will be removed in different institutions in the country.

"For example, the more than double from 10 to 25 percent taxation on private schools which are non-profit which means there will be an increase of tuition fees in private schools which would be a burden to the people. We were able to solve tuition fee problems in state colleges and university but the private schools will be hurt," he further pointed out.

Aquino also said that many industries and business organizations said that if Train 2 will be implemented, they will transfer their investments to other countries that would mean unemployment and displacement of some Filipinos.

In Train 1, the government assured the public there will be no increase in prices but the result is that prices have gone up.

Charter change

Aquino, meanwhile, said the senators have agreed not to hurry in changing the Constitution.

"This is already clear in the Senate that this could not be finished this year or even next year. So definitely the election will push through and there will be no charter change (cha-cha) before the May 2019 elections," he said.

Aquino also said that cha-cha could possibly be an election issue.

He said: "But I think, coming from the hearing Wednesday, August 8, even the economic managers of the president are not in favor of the draft Constitution. The question is, will Federalism answer the needs of the people because it came out that their focus is more on politics?”

“I do not think the draft answers any of the issues about the economic situation. It will take a longer discussion and definitely we should not hurry Charter change,” he added.