By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate and Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao petitioned the Supreme Court to “void” the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).
In a joint statement of the three representatives of the Makabayan block in congress, they said that the SC should declared the TRAIN invalid because it was ratified without a quorum.
“Our petition is premised on the fact that the House blatantly violated the Constitution and its own rules in “ratifying” the Bicameral Conference Committee Report of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill without a quorum and without a vote,” the Makabayan representatives’ statement read.
“At best, once the Supreme Court favors our petition, it will send a strong message to the leaders of Congress that they cannot just pass a law without a quorum and without a vote; that they have to strictly observe the Constitution, and, in particular the rules on ratification,” they added.
The Makabayan representatives wer hoping that the SC’s approval of their petition would delay the TARIN implementation to give the people more time to protest agains the new tax law which they consider anti-poor.
While the Makabayan representatives want substatial income tax reduction for workers and employees, they said that the negative impact of TRAIN is more detrimental to the majority.
“Our study shows that whatever supposed benefits the employees income tax adjustments will give are easily wiped out by the inflationary effects of the new regressive taxes on oil, coal, power and other commodities and services,” they said.
According to IBON, an independent think tank, government has grossly exaggerated how lower income taxes will benefit Filipinos while downplaying how the country’s poorest will be burdened by higher prices on basic goods and services without getting any tax exemptions. The overwhelming majority of Filipinos in fact do not get any income tax benefits from TRAIN, the group said.
Higher taxes will be imposed on sugar sweetened drinks; oil products including liquid petroleum gas (LPG), kerosene, diesel, and gasoline among others; and coal, IBON said.
Most of the country’s total 22.7 million families do not pay income tax because they are just minimum wage earners or otherwise in informal work with low and erratic incomes. Even if TRAIN reduces income taxes paid by most of the reported 7.5 million personal income taxpayers, this still leaves as much as 15.2 million families without any income tax gains.
The Makabayan representatives are still looking into filing another petition against the “regressive and burdensome” new tax impositions of the TRAIN. # nordis.net