Espinoza: Of TRAIN and firecrackers

WITH the implementation this year of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), or Republic Act 10964 that will increase the excise tax on imported goods, all government agencies should be on their toes to monitor those who take advantage of the situation.

With TRAIN, the price of gasoline will be up by more than P7 per liter and diesel by P2.50 per liter. As of yesterday, gasoline price was already up by 20 centavos per liter and diesel by 60 centavos.

Big players in the fuel industry must have so anticipated the Duterte tax reform law that they stocked fuel starting last year. It would be profiteering if they increase fuel prices now.

Car dealershad higher sales in the last quarter of last year when people rushed to buy their preferred cars to avoid the excise tax on the imported motor vehicles, which would be about P200,000 per unit.

President Duterte signed into law RA 10964 in Dec.19 last year to fulfill his campaign promise to provide workers with more take home pay. Under this law, individuals whose annual income is P250,000 and below is relieved of the tax burdens.

But there is no reason to rejoice there because government, to cope with the loss in the individual income taxation, increased the excise tax on imported goods and petroleum. This would affect the prices of consumer goods and services.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said “TRAIN burdens the poor with higher taxes on fuel. It’s about time that we review the incentives granted to companies to see if such incentives are necessary and continue to serve the purpose for which they are granted.

But Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, chair of the committee on ways and means, described TRAIN as the biggest “Christmas gift” that the government could give to every Filipino family.

With the new price of fuel, the public transport sector will no doubt demand for an increase in fares. Last month, the price of diesel was around P36 per liter and gasoline at about P46 per liter. With TRAIN, the price of diesel would be P38.50 per liter and gasoline P51 per liter.

This would have a domino effect on prices of commodities. Experience tells us that retailers and wholesalers automatically increase prices of goods arguing that the cost of transporting them is also costly.

The other intent of TRAIN is to discourage us from buying cars because fewer motor vehicles on the road would mean lesser traffic. So, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Let’s hope that in this Year of the Dog, we won’t be biting our nails. Happy New Year!

•••

Health authorities claimed there are fewer victims of firecrackers this year compared with last year with the implementation of the ban on firecrackers. That’s an oxymoron. If the police did enforce the ban on firecrackers, there would have been no injuries or even death caused by firecrackers.

No malice intended, but where were the police or the firemen on the eve of Christmas and New Year? Here in Cebu City, there were those who did not only ignore the law but taunted our law enforcers. I suppose instructions for barangay officials to provide a common/public place where to light firecrackers were not complied with.

Almost every household in my neighborhood lighted deafening firecrackers. Well, policemen are also entitled to enjoy the celebration. What we don’t know is whether some misguided souls may have even fired their guns. It happened in Metro Manila. That’s pathetic!
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