Consumer group questions legality of TRAIN law before Supreme Court

admin   •   January 22, 2018   •   19967

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

P60-B released to cash transfer beneficiaries as of December 2020 — Landbank

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has already released P60.36 billion in unconditional cash transfers (UTC) as of December 2020 to beneficiary households of the Duterte administration’s social mitigation program under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

According to LANDBANK president-CEO Cecilia Borromeo, these disbursements were from the funds for the UCT program released from March 2018 up to December last year.

She said that from March 2018 to December 2020, a total of P22.53 billion was disbursed to beneficiaries from the UCT Program Funds under the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Another P23.71 billion under the fiscal year 2019 UCT Program Funds was released from July 2019 to December 2020, and P14.12 billion from the 2020 UCT Program Fund in December last year.

Under the TRAIN Law, up to 30 percent of the incremental revenues from the law is earmarked for social mitigation measures, such as the UCTs, while 70 percent is earmarked for the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

Republic Act (RA) No. 10963 or the TRAIN Law, which also slashed personal income tax (PIT) rates for 99 percent of salary earners, was implemented starting January 2018.

RA 10963 benefits salary earners because the hefty cuts in their PIT tax payments translate into extra income for these taxpayers equivalent to about a one-month take-home pay.

This law also adjusted the excise taxes on fuel, which prompted the inclusion of the social mitigation program to ease the initial impact of the adjustments on the poorest 50 percent of the population.

The UCT fund transferred to LANDBANK totaled P24.488 billion under the 2018 GAA.

Another P30.488 billion and P23.298 billion were transferred to LANDBANK for the UCT program under the 2019 and 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAAs), respectively.

For 2018, the law provided a UCT of P2,400 each for some 10 million targeted households.

For the succeeding years of 2019 and 2020, each beneficiary household received P3,600.

The UCT fund for 2018 of P24.488 billion covered the P24 billion in cash grants for 10 million beneficiaries.

While P22.53 billion in UCT funds were disbursed, LANDBANK said that around P1.47 billion has yet to be distributed because it is still waiting for the submission by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the remaining payroll files of beneficiaries under the UCT program.

Under the 2019 national budget, the UCT fund amounted to P36.488 billion, of which P6 billion have yet to be downloaded by the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) to LANDBANK, leaving it with P30.488 billion for the implementation of the program.

Of the P30.488 billion, P23.71 billion was released to UCT beneficiaries.

About P6.29 billion in funds have yet to be disbursed, pending the DSWD submission of the beneficiaries’ payroll files.

A total of P5.5 billion of this UCT fund was transferred to the BTr on April 1, 2020, to help fund the government’s COVID-19 response programs, and was returned to the fund on December 29, 2020.

For 2020, the total UCT fund under the GAA was P36.488 billion, of which P13.19 billion have yet to be downloaded to LANDBANK.

LANDBANK said the downloaded sum of P23.3 billion covered the P14.12 billion disbursed so far to UCT beneficiaries in December last year, while P8.9 billion have yet to be released pending the submission by the DSWD of the beneficiaries’ payroll files.

Judges, court personnel hospitalized due to COVID-19 to get financial aid — Supreme Court

Robie de Guzman   •   April 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Judges and court personnel who contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be provided with financial assistance from the Supreme Court, the Office of the Court Administrator said Wednesday.

In a circular issued by Court Administrator Midas Marquez, the cash assistance will range from P15,000 to P30,000 for those hospitalized depending on the severity of their illness.

Families of those who succumbed to death, whether hospitalized or not, will receive P50,000.

The financial assistance was approved by Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo with the concurrence of the members of the Court en banc.

“Considering that there are judges and court personnel of the first and second level courts who contracted COVID-19 while in the performance of their functions there is a need to help them defray the hospitalization expenses incurred in treating COVID-19 infection,” the circular read.

Potential recipients of the assistance are required to submit a copy of the positive result of the RT-PCR test from March 2020 onwards, a medical certificate stating the clinical findings of the illness caused by COVID-19, a death certificate indicating that the patient died of COVID-19 or its complications, disbursement voucher, and obligation request.

The SC Public Information Office said that some 1,113 judiciary personnel tested positive for COVID-19 with 20 fatalities.

Supreme Court: Oral arguments on anti-terror act to resume April 27

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The oral arguments on petitions questioning the legality of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will resume on April 27, the Supreme Court (SC) said.

In an advisory, the SC said the next oral arguments would be held via videoconferencing “given the current public health situation.”

“Oral arguments shall resume on April 27, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. which, per prior order, is two weeks after the lifting of enhanced community quarantine in the National Capital Judicial Region,” the SC said.

“This arrangement shall be pro hac vice [for this occasion only] vis-à-vis these consolidated cases. Personal appearance before the Court En Banc remains to e the primary mode of conducting oral arguments,” it added.

The proceedings will be streamed online but will only be limited to an audio feed, the high court said.

The oral arguments on the 37 petitions lodged against the measure were put on hold since last month due to the spike of infections and other COVID-19 concerns.

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