Poe files COC for senator, hits unfulfilled gov't promises

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) for reelection as senator, as she scored the Duterte administration for unfulfilled promises that were supposed to cushion the impact of its tax reform law.

Poe submitted her COC to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday, October 15, accompanied by her mother, veteran actress Susan Roces.

In an interview with reporters, Poe said the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law – which imposed higher taxes on fuel, vehicles, and sweetened beverages – had provisions "that are safeguards."

"Kung ang mga proyekto ay na-deliver katulad ng 'pinapangako nila, kung ang pera na dapat itutulong sa mahihirap dahil dito sa TRAIN law ay naipamahagi nila nang mas mabilis, sa tingin ko hindi naman tayo magiging ganito kamiserable ang ating sitwasyon," Poe told reporters.

(If the projects were delivered as they promised, if the money that was supposed to help the poor because of the TRAIN law was distributed more quickly, I think our situation would not be this miserable.)

"Kaya babalik tayo sa safeguards na sinasabi natin, na dapat talaga maipamahagi na ang mga fuel vouchers sa lalong mabilis na panahon dahil hanggang ngayon parang 25% pa lang ang nakakatanggap. Ang unconditional cash transfer program, from 6 million dapat 'yan 10 million na sa ngayon na mga pamilya," she added.

(So we will return to the safeguards we mentioned, that fuel vouchers should have been distributed as quickly as possible because until now, only 25% have received it. As for the unconditional cash transfer program, from 6 million, there should have been 10 million families benefiting from it by now.)

Government agencies that should be held accountable for this, according to Poe, include the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Transportation.

A presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, Poe was initially a front-runner in pre-election surveys back then, until she was overtaken by then-Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Like Poe, reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar was asked about the TRAIN law when she filed her COC on Monday. Villar justified her decision to sign the law, but said it was a "lesson learned." – Rappler.com 

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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