MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday, June 3, that it would be up to Congress to decide on calls to amend or suspend the tax reform law amid rising prices of fuel and basic commodities.
“I leave it to Congress whether or not to amend, suspend or modify the law,” Duterte said in a news briefing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 before he boarded a flight to South Korea for an official visit.
The President was asked for his position on calls to suspend the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, in view of higher prices.
Duterte said his position on TRAIN should not be given “so much importance” as lawmakers would have the final say on the law they had enacted.
“There’s no value in giving so much importance to what I want because, kung sabihin ko naman na, huwag, it would be needed for the ‘Build Build Build,’ at kung sabihin nila, talagang palitan natin, wala naman akong magawa,” he said.
(If I say, no, it would be needed for the Build Build Build, but they say, let’s amend it, I can’t do anything.)
“At kung sabihin naman nila na, well, we’ll just have to bite the bullet and go on, e wala rin akong magawa kung iyan ang decision nila (And if they say, well, we’ll just have to bite the bullet and go on, I also can’t do anything because that is their decision),” he said.
Some groups and lawmakers are calling for the suspension and amendment of the TRAIN law in view of the price increases of fuel and basic commodities. (READ: [OPINION] Higher inflation: Is TRAIN to blame? Part 1)
Senator Grace Poe, who has led hearings on the impact of the law in several regions, has urged government agencies to release subsidies provided under TRAIN.
Inflation reached 4.5% in April, the highest in 5 years, owing to higher world oil prices which amplified the impact of TRAIN, especially on the poor.
The TRAIN law, which imposed higher taxes on fuel, vehicles, and sweetened beverages, was implemented on January 1, 2018. – Rappler.com