Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno
MANILA, Philippines – Present mechanisms such as the salary standardization and TRAIN Law, which add to the take-home pay of teachers, are already sufficient according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.
This is despite earlier pronouncements of Malacañang about doubling the income of teachers in the Philippines.
Diokno said, at present, the P19,000 entry-level salary is enough for an entry-level instructor in a public school.
This is comparatively higher than the P13,000 wage of teachers in private schools.
“We let that the Salary Standardization Law run its course plus the combination of the TRAIN which, as I said, was unanticipated even at the time the Salary Standardization Law was designed. And then we evaluate where we are by January next year for possible budget proposal in 2020,” Diokno said.
Under the Salary Standardization Law approved by President Aquino in 2015, an increase in the income of teachers is expected until 2019.
While under TRAIN Law, there is an additional take-home pay of up to P3,000 for teachers due to tax exemptions.
Corazon Miguel, a public school instructor for 21 years was dismayed over the agency’s statement.
“There are teachers who go abroad. Why do they want to teach in other countries? Because the salary is enticing,” Miguel said.
In a statement, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition said school teachers should get the biggest chunk of the national budget.
This should also be a priority as it is in the Constitution.
Despite this, ACT Teachers Partylist hopes that DBM will still give way to the clamor for additional income.
“Despite Sec. Diokno’s pronouncements that the salary increase of teachers is not a priority, our president is not named ‘Diokno’. So we expect him to comply and we await a concrete proposal,” ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said. – Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue
Consumer group questions legality of TRAIN law before Supreme Court
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
High-tech machinery will boost rice production in Nueva Ecija – Sen. Villar
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson, Senator Cynthia Villar was the guest of honor at the 5th Uhay Festival in the Science City of Muñoz in the province of Nueva Ecija last weekend.
During the said event, the lady senator said that she believes the Philippines can become rice-sufficient.
To do this, Villar explained that the government should teach Filipino farmers how to use machinery and produce hybrid seedlings.
“I believe that once we teach our farmers to produce in-breed seeds that PhilRice is developing, our rice production will increase and we will become self-sufficient in terms of rice supply. And, when farmers are taught how to use new machinery that can mechanize their work, we can have more savings from post-harvest losses. It will help increase the income of farmers,” said the agriculture committee chair.
The senator also encouraged farm owners to build their own farm schools to increase their income.
Meanwhile, Villar said the Senate will immediately investigate any unreasonable increase in prices of products and services due to the implementation of the tax reform law.
“The prices should not immediately increase. Prices have already gone up even before TRAIN’s implementation. That means people in the industry are taking unfair advantage of the TRAIN law. They are using it as an excuse to increase prices,” said the senator. — Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue
BIR: Employers must comply with new tax exemption rules under TRAIN Law
MANILA, Philippines – Taxpayers trooped to the public consultation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to answer queries regarding the new tax exemption rules under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law.
One of the main issues asked is whether a minimum wage earner is still exempted from paying income tax if his annual income exceeds P250,000 due to overtime pay and other incentives.
“There are specific words and other words retained from the old tax code that says a minimum wage earner is exempt from income taxes. So if you’re under minimum wage category, you will be exempted including holiday pay regardless if your total income for the whole year exceeds 250,000” BIR Spokesperson Atty. Marissa Cabreros said.
The BIR stresses that the tax reform law has already taken effect since January 1, so workers earning 21,000 and lower should not have any deductions pertaining to any taxes.
“Our withholding agents have an obligation to ensure that their withholdings are correct. Some employers say there’s no revenue regulation yet. But there’s no need to wait for the revenue regulation because we’ve already released an issuance,” Cabreros said.
The BIR encourages employees to directly report to them any employer who fails to comply with the new tax exemption rule.
“If they exceeded withholding this January in the first salary, they should self-correct to adjust and give back the excess in the next payouts,” Cabreros added. – Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue