Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao joined members of poor sector groups, particularly of farmers, fisherfolk, and urban poor at their protest at the gates of the House of Representative in Quezon City against the Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN). The groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Pamalakaya-Pilipinas (fisherfolk), UMA (agri-workers), Amihan (peasant women) are demanding the repeal of the law as it is undoubtedly will further burden the poor, primarily triggering skyrocketing of prices of basic goods and services. The multi-sectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) also protested as part of their campaign “tax revolt” against the law.
“The name itself of the law is a total lie, TRAIN boasts of inclusion, but it will throw the already poor into the abyss of poverty, hungery and misery, it will suck up what’s left with the poor, while the rich are swimming over their ever-growing wealth, not subjected by taxation,” Casilao said during the protest.
It was reported the prices of petroleum products are expected to hike this week, near P3 per liter for gas and P3.20 per liter to diesel due to the excise tax, and added to the increasing rates of imported petroleum, it would total to P3.77 per liter for gas and P3.30 for diesel. Casilao said that this will clearly trigger shocking impact on prices of other commodities that will end up affecting the poor sectors.
The lawmaker also referred to the study of think-tank institution IBON Foundation, where rice farmers will lose P646 annually, farm workers with P937, construction workers P1,363 and machine tool operators with P1,887. The group also determined that the law will worsen the tax burden on the 60% poorest with 2.3% or P47 billion of their gross income of P2.1 trillion, while the 40% richest with gross income of P4.1 trillion will only be burdened with 0.8% at P48 billion.
“The TRAIN law will definitely contribute to the social inequality in our society, hence, we urge the public to oppose and join the protest demanding its repeal, and call for a progressive taxation with ‘tax the rich and serve the poor,’” Casilao ended. ###