Tañada, Hilbay want to re-examine TRAIN law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27) — The administration's first tax reform law is already in its second year of implementation, but the controversy continues.

During the second #TheFilipinoVotes Senatorial forum of CNN Philippines, two senatorial candidates criticized the law and blamed it for last year's high inflation.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who currently teaches constitutional law at the University of the Philippines, called the law "unconstitutional."

"It's unconstitutional from the standpoint of the policy of the 1987 Constitution," Hilbay said, adding that the law calls for a "progressive" form of taxation.

Instead, Hilbay added that the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law has a tendency to hit the poorest the most.

"Ability to pay yung basehan sa pag-pataw ng buwis, hindi yung kung ano man lang," he said.

[Translation: Taxes should be implemented based on ability to pay, and not anything else.]

Former Deputy House Speaker Erin Tañada wants the fuel excise tax imposed by TRAIN to be scrapped.

"Maliwanag na dahil ito sa TRAIN 1. Sana ma-suspend muna yung excise tax di lang ng 2019 kundi excise tax ng 2018," Tañada said on inflation.

[Translation: It's clear that it's because of TRAIN 1. I hope the excise tax implemented not only on 2019 but also in 2018 will be suspended.]

The TRAIN has a provision that allows for the suspension of the P2 yearly additional excise tax for fuel products once the global price of oil stays $80 per barrel for an extended period of time.

Instead of focusing on hiking excise taxes, Tanada and another senatorial aspirant, Samira Gutoc, called for the implementation of policies provided in the TRAIN law that would shield the poor from these price inscreases.