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Consumer group questions legality of TRAIN law before Supreme Court

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The tax reform law is “unconstitutional”.

This is the reason given by a consumer group that filed a petition before the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the said law.

In a 43-page petition, the Laban Konsyumer Incorporated appealed to the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the TRAIN law.

Laban Konsyumer president, Vic Dimagiba said that some provisions in the Constitution were violated by the TRAIN law itself and this will result in more sufferings for many Filipinos.

Dimagiba added that the reform in the income tax does not make sense because with it is the increase in excise tax on petroleum products.

And with the increase in prices of oil products is the rise in prices of basic commodities, jeepney fare and more.

“Hindi po balance. Hindi po equity. Hindi equitable ang trato sa mga low income at poor families (It’s not balanced. The treatment of low income and poor families is not equitable),” said the advocate.

Dimagiba hopes that the Supreme Court justices will carefully study their petition.

Meanwhile, one economist agrees with the argument of the consumer group.

According to economist, Ranilo Balbieran, the government must not impose higher taxes on oil products.

“Hindi sana gaano’ng kataas yung tax sa petrolyo kasi lahat tayo apektado halos lahat ng ginagawa natin dito sa mundo parang may langis. Yung iba naman sana mas mataas yung tax gaya nung sa tobacco sa sigarilyo. Hindi naman talaga yan kailangan sa buhay,” said Balbieran.

On the other hand, Balbieran believes that the TRAIN law will have a good effect on the economy in the long run.

Balbieran sees that the country has shifted from a consumption-driven to an investment-driven economy.

This means that the administration is looking ahead to the future by investing in infrastructures for the benefit of all Filipinos and generations to come.

The consumer group, on the other hand, calls on the public to be watchful of the current administration to ensure that the funds raised by the tax reform will be spent on rightful projects. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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Diokno: Suspension of 2nd tranche of fuel excise tax may affect gov’t fuel subsidies

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2018

 

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno

The government assured that it will continue its program that offers assistance to jeepney drivers who are bearing the brunt of surging oil prices.

According to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, the Pantawid Pasada Program, which seeks to provide a fuel voucher worth P5,000 for each jeepney driver, has been allocated with P977 million in the 2018 national budget.

In 2019, they proposed around P3.2 billion appropriation for the program in hopes of hiking the fuel subsidy to P20,000 for each driver.

But following the announcement on the early suspension of the second tranche of fuel excise taxes next year, Diokno warned that the projected budget may be slashed.

“As I’ve said, the Pantawid Pasada for next year is premised on the two-peso adjustment. Now, if the two-peso adjustment is suspended then the Pantawid Pasada benefits will be based on 2018 but that will continue,” said Diokno.

Diokno has earlier assured that the government’s assistance to poor Filipinos, such as conditional and unconditional cash transfer in 2019, will not be affected if the suspension of the fuel excise tax will push through.

With this assurance, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is confident that the budget for the free tertiary education policy next year will be protected.

“We will be in close coordination with DOF (Department of Finance) so that provision for education will somehow not be affected by any deduction,” said CHED Executive Director Atty. Cinderella Filipina Jarp. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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Carpio stands firm on West PH Sea rights despite possible impact on CJ nomination

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Nothing will stop Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio from advocating a tougher stance in claiming Philippine’s sovereign rights to the West Philippine Sea — not even its potential impact on his nomination for chief justice of the Supreme Court (SC).

The possibility of his chances being affected due to his position on the issue is not lost on Justice Carpio, knowing that president Rodrigo Duterte, who holds the power to appoint the next chief justice, is friendly with China.

“It’s the prerogative of the president to appoint whoever he wants and I respect that. But that doesn’t stop me from continuing my advocacy because I think this is more important than anything else,” Carpio said.

Carpio made the statement during his lecture on the West Philippine Sea at the gathering of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas in Makati, Tuesday night.

Last week, Carpio decided to accept his automatic nomination to the chief justice post, noting that the circumstances are different this time as there are no longer any legal issues involved unlike during the ouster bid against former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

“Because in Sereno, my opinion stated that she could not be removed by quo warranto but she was removed. Now, I do not want to benefit from a ruling that I disagreed on. But now this is an expiration of term. De Castro’s term as CJ expired. There’s no legal issue anymore. That’s why I said there is no reason anymore to decline,” Carpio explained.

Other SC justices who accepted their automatic nominations are Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Estella Perlas-Bernabe and Andres Reyes Jr.

Justice Antonio Carpio is currently the acting chief justice after Chief Justice Teresita de Castro retired on October 10 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The Judicial and Bar Council of the Philippines (JBC) extended the deadline for the submission of applications and nominations until October 26.

If he is selected for the post, Carpio will have until October 2019 to lead the Supreme Court. — Mai Bermudez

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Diokno: Suspension of next fuel tax hike won’t affect gov’t social services program

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

 

FILE PHOTO: Benjamin Diokno

MANILA, Philippines —The economic managers of the Duterte administration have announced the early suspension of the second tranche of excise taxes on fuel under the tax reform for acceleration and inclusion or TRAIN Law.

This is to help bring down prices of oil and food and proactively anchor inflation expectations.

“It’s not for political reasons. It’s for good reasons; it’s according to the law,” Department of Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III said.

If this move pushes through in 2019, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno estimates that the government will lose around 40 to 41 billion pesos in revenue.

“Tinatawag naming may demonstration effect na yun, pag-announce mo pa lang. Hindi namin pababayan na tumaas pa (We call it demonstration effect just by making an announcement. We won’t let it increase further),” he said.

However, Secretary Diokno assured that the social services of the government, such as the unconditional and conditional cash transfer programs, will not be affected by the possible suspension of the next fuel excise tax.

Even the infrastructure program of the government, which is the primary beneficiary of the fuel excise tax hike, will not be affected.

“Hindi maaapektuhan kasi priority rin yun,” Diokno said.

Instead, the government will have budget cuts on some of its operating expenses for next year to offset the revenue loss.

“Yung mga purchase of vehicles and then yung filling up of positions, yun yung mga medyo nirereview naming (the purchase of vehicles and then the filling up of positions, those are the expenses that we review on),” he added.

For now, the economic managers have formed a task force to review the line items of the proposed 2019 national budget. — Rosalie Coz

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