Duterte: 'don't be sad about being taxed, your money during my term is safe'

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte / file photo from Flickr

Manila, Philippines - This is a pill that is truly hard to swallow if we aspire to be a progressive nation someday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte upon the recommendation of his economic team has decided to proceed with the second tranche of the fuel excise tax hike starting in January 2019.

Tax money will be safe

The President has heard the public’s clamor regarding the added tax burden in everyone’s back if the 2nd phase of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, (officially cited as Republic Act No. 10963). He has made an assurance that the public should not be “so sad being taxed.”

“Don’t be so sad about being taxed because your money during my term is safe. I will not allow corruption,” Duterte said in a speaking engagement.

“Taxes are the lifeblood of every government” basic public services will not be provided if there is no money for the government to spend, that is why it is very much needed, most especially in a country where it is on a crossroads of an infrastructure boom in order to be progressive.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has made a statement regarding the implementation of the 2nd tranche, since the condition for the suspension of the fuel tax hike would no longer be present next year, and that the government stands to lose about P43.4 billion in revenues if the suspension pushes through.

No need to suspend TRAIN

The price of fuel continues to go down so much so the Duterte economic managers has advised the president that the country does not need to suspend the scheduled implementation of its tax reform.*

The Budget Secretary has also noted that diesel’s peak price in 2018 was P49.80 per liter and it will be P37.76 in Jan. 2019, inclusive of the P2 peso excise tax. For gasoline (95 octane) it was P60.90 at its peak, and it will be P50.82 in Jan. 2019, also inclusive of P2 additional excise tax, Diokno said.

The continued reduction of global oil prices and its impact on the government's budget and infrastructure programs are the main reasons which made the chief executive heed to his economic team.

"If you suspend it, then it will affect your budget, the personnel services of the national government. If you do that, we will be losing P43 billion in revenues," Panelo in an interview with ANC.

"It will affect the entire services, budgets, infrastructure programs of the government and that will be bad for the people."

The TRAIN law schedules an increase in the excise tax every year for 3 years starting Jan. 1, 2018, when duties were increased by P2.50 per liter for diesel, P1 per kilo of LPG, and P2.65 per liter of regular and unleaded gasoline.

TRAIN has been blamed for the inflation in the country, which hit a nine-year high of 6.7 percent in September and October this year.

Fortunately, inflation has also eased to a four-month low of 6 percent in November, making it the lowest since the 5.7-percent recorded in July.

Source: ABS CBN

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