Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers is seeking the amendment of Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law by repealing the imposed excise taxes on fuel or Section 43 of the law.
In filing House Bill No. 8369, Barbers said that excise taxes on fuel should automatically be reverted to the old National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) rates of excise tax on fuel.
“Prices of fuel have increased significantly and will be much higher in the next tranche of implementation of TRAIN in 2019 and 2020,” Barbers said.
“The increase on fuel prices affects the prices of basic goods and services as producers or manufacturers may pass production costs to consumers.”
Barbers said that while the TRAIN Law gives relief to taxpayers due to the lowering of personal income tax (PIT) rates, the burden falls heavily on minimum wage earners.
”Matagal na pong nagdudusa ang ating mga mahihirap na kababayan. Ang ating mga trabahador na hindi naman nababawasan ng income tax simula pa man, hindi nila naramdaman na nadagdagan ang pera na inuuwi nila sa kanilang mga pamilya. Ngunit ramdam na ramdam nila ang bigat ng pagtaas ng lahat ng presyo ng bilihin dahil sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” Barbers s.aid
Section 82 of the TRAIN Act seeks to mitigate the effects of the law by providing unconditional cash transfers, fuel vouchers to qualified PUJ franchise holders, fare discount, reduced price of NFA rice, and free skills training.
Barbers, however, said the same section also states that the National ID system must first be fully implemented to ensure that the grants will reach the legitimate beneficiaries.
“These measures provide reprieve but they need to be complemented by the full implementation of the National ID System Law. Ibig sabihin, talagang mararamdaman muna ng ating mga kababayan ang hirap,” he said.
Barbers said that while RA 10963 is laudable, it should also be adaptable to change, especially with the rising prices of commodities.
“As legislators, we must hear the cry of the poor. Pag sinabi ng mahihirap na mas lalo silang naghihirap, maniwala po tayo sa kanila,” he added. #