Drilon: We warned public about Train effects to prices of goods

Senator Franklin Drilon

MANILA — The public has been warned of the increase in prices of services and goods long before the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law was passed, Senator Franklin Drilon said Saturday.

This came as militant lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc are set to question the legality of the newly-implemented measure before the Supreme Court.

“On record lahat ay ating inilatag sa Senado sa records ng debate. Winarningan natin [ang publiko] na tataas ang presyo ng bilihin,” Drilon said in an interview with DWIZ radio.

(Everything is on record, we have laid these down in the Senate, the debates were recorded. We have warned the public of the hikes in prices of commodities.)

Drilon pointed out that he had pushed for the higher tax rates on cosmetic surgeries as the poor would have to suffer from increase in gasoline prices.

The Senate minority leader said groups criticizing the new law are free to challenge the measure before the high court.

“This is a free country so pwede nila gawin yan (so they can do that),” he said.

In a news forum on Saturday, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said the Makabayan bloc are preparing a petition against the Train Law before the SC next week, citing procedural and substantive issues that surround the measure.

Tinio said the law was ratified without a quorum on December 13. He also said that the bloc would raise before the court the regressive nature of the law, contrary to the Constitution’s prescription of a “progressive” taxation.

He said that the “biggest losers” in the implementation of the law are the poor, which would be burdened by the increase of prices of goods and services brought about by the additional excise tax on oil and gasoline.

Drilon, however, said that the tax relief was enough to cushion the impact of the law to the poor.

“Kuntento na ako dyan sa tax relief, dinagdagan natin ang pera sa bulsa ng tao,” the senator said.

(I am satisfied with the tax relief as we put additional money to people’s pockets.)

The government is set to provide a P200-a-month conditional cash transfer to poor families.

While exempting about seven million employees earning P21,000 below from income tax, the Train Law imposes additional P8 per liter of petroleum products this year and P2 for the next two years.