A party-list group on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to declare The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act or Republic Act 10963 unconstitutional.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, one of the petitioners asking the high court to declare the tax law unconstitutional, cited procedural lapses, the law’s “harsh impact” on the public and its violation of the Constitution’s provision on progressive taxation.
“Instead of benefiting from the low prices of oil in the global market, Filipinos would be burdened with artificially high prices due to TRAIN’s second tranche of excise taxes on oil and petroleum products,” Zarate said.
He made the statement even as Senator Bam Aquino said the government was starting the year on the wrong foot by adding taxes to petroleum products based on the TRAIN Law.
He said the additional taxes could drive prices higher and add to the burden of the Filipino people.
“The nicest New Year’s resolution for the country is to reduce the sufferings of the people,” said Aquino, one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the TRAIN Law.
“Our countrymen are already drowning from the high prices of goods and additional taxes. Let us help our poor people.”
Zarate said the spike in the inflation rate and the price shocks last year would continue because of the additional taxes that will be imposed this year under the TRAIN Law.
“In the first three quarters of 2018 there was runaway inflation and skyrocketing prices,” Zarate said.
“But now that the Department of Finance rescinded on their proposal, we could expect another wave of price shocks to hit consumers.”
The TRAIN Law provides an excise tax of P2.50 a liter, and it was imposed on diesel and bunker fuel starting last year. The amount went up to P4.50 this year and will go up to P6 in 2020. The excise tax on gasoline also increased to P7 in 2018 and to P9 this year, and will go up to P10 in 2020.
“The record-high inflation has brought hardship to millions of Filipinos, and this suffering is felt the heaviest by those in the lowest strata of our society”•the poorest households, farmers, fisherfolk, workers and low-income earners,” Zarate said. “‹