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

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2021   •   1294

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.

House aims to pass bill on oil excise tax reduction before session break

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Before the session breaks in December, the leadership in the House of Representatives is determined to approve the proposed legislation that seeks to reduce excise taxes imposed on petroleum products.

House Deputy Majority Leader Representative Jesus ‘Bong’ Suntay said they also expect the Senate to do the same.

“I’m sure mapapasa namin yan before December on the part of the House. Pero ang mga kasamahan natin, mga senador natin, want to give it as a Christmas gift to Filipinos who have been hit hard by the pandemic,” Suntay said.

In the House version of the consolidated bill, the solons are pushing for a zero excise tax to be imposed on gasoline, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for six months.

Excise tax on low octane gasoline used in tricycles, on the other hand, will be reduced to Php 4.35 per liter.

Suntay said the House leadership is determined to approve this the soonest time possible, noting that it is not only the transport sector who is being affected by the high price of petroleum products but the general public as well.

“Hindi naman yung transport sector who carries the burden of this additional excise tax. Lahat ng tao hindi lang public utility vehicle driver o jeepney drivers ang tinamaan, kundi lahat ng tao tinamaan ng pandemya. I believe kailangang naman na ibalik natin, di ba?” Suntay explained.

He further clarified that the Lower House is not seeking for the suspension of the excise tax under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law but to just cut a small percentage of the tax imposed by the said law. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Proposed suspension of fuel excise tax filed in Lower House

Maris Federez   •   October 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A bill proposing the suspension of the imposition of excise tax on petroleum products has been filed before the House of Representatives (HOR), Deputy Speaker Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez announced Friday (October 29).

The move is brought about by the continuous increases in the price of fuel products.

House Bill 10246 filed by Deputy Speaker Rodriguez sought to amend Section 43 of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

It will particularly order the suspension of the collection of adjustments in excise taxes that will be applied on gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum products from 2022 to 2025.

Rodriguez clarified that his proposed bill is not a move to scrap the imposition of excise taxes as a whole.

The lawmaker said that the weekly increases in the price of fuel will only burden the economy that is just beginning to slowly open to welcome employees to go back to work.

On Thursday’s briefing by the Department of Finance before the House Committee on Energy, the agency said the country will lose around Php131.4 billion should the suspension of excise tax will be approved.

Conversely, the Department of Energy has called on Congress to approve the said suspension. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Transport groups defer petition for fare hike

Maris Federez   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Transport groups have announced that they will defer their petition for a P3.00 fare hike.

This was after the House Committee on Transportation convened with the group and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to discuss the said petition seeking an increase in the minimum fare in jeepneys from P9.00 to P12.00.

Pasang Masda President Obet Martin said they have put off their request following the promise from the lawmakers and the DOTr of providing cash subsidy for the transport groups.

“Hindi na namin maitutuloy […] pero naka-pending lang. Naka-file lang kase nakapag-usap na kami sa Congress. […] Nagkasundo na kami tungkol doon sa cash subsidy at tsaka sa fuel subsidy na winu-workout ng DOTr sa mga companies,” Martin said.

He added that their group, the DOTr and the House committee came to an agreement to create a program that will assist the drivers and operators in coming up with measures to alleviate difficulties brought by the increasing prices of petroleum products.

“Ang LTFRB naman gagawa naman sila ng cash subsidy in a form of pasada card. Kami natutuwa na roon. Pag naayos na lahat yan we will withdraw the said petition dahil bibigyan ng subsidy yan as allowance o pasada card malaking tulong na sa amin yun,” Martin said.

In 2018, the government distributed fuel vouchers to jeepney operators and drivers following the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

Under the law, legitimate transport operators and drivers receive Php5,000 to Php20,000 fuel subsidies.

Meanwhile, transports groups also appealed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to increase the operation of public utility vehicles to 100 percent capacity.—/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

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