by Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star), Jun 13, 2018
MANILA, Philippines — Saying that prices of goods in the country have gone out of control, Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV is urging the government to contain it by amending certain inflationary provisions of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Aquino reiterated his push for the immediate passage of his Senate Bill 1798, which seeks to roll back the excise taxes imposed on petroleum products once inflation surpasses the annual target range for three consecutive months.
“At this point I think the government needs to act and make sure that any burden to the people should not be aggravated. Let us provide relief when people are injured,” the senator told “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News channel.
He said the four percent inflation rate projected by economic managers this year has been repeatedly breached in the last three months after TRAIN took effect in January.
Aquino said the proposal was actually part of the Senate version of the TRAIN, along with a provision to suspend the excise tax on petroleum once oil hits $80 per barrel in the world market.
The inflation trigger, however, was “mysteriously” removed when the final version was hammered out by both chambers of Congress at the bicameral conference committee level, he said.
He lamented that the suspension provision in the law pertains to future increases in excise taxes.
Under the TRAIN, diesel will be taxed P2.50 per liter this year, P4.50 in 2019 and P6 in 2020.
All variants of gasoline fuel will be taxed P7 per liter this year, P9 in 2019 and P10 in 2020.
“Right now this safeguard is very important because without it, we will come to a situation in January (2019) when prices of goods are high. But the law says we need to raise taxes again in January 2019 and I think that’s something that will no longer be acceptable to the people,” he said.