To offset price increases due to TRAIN, govt allocates P24.5B in cash grants for poorest 50% of Filipino families

January 10, 2018 - 5:53 PM
Father and child receive food from Alagang Kapatid in a recent relief drive for residents displaced by the fighting in Marawi. Photo by Bernard Testa, InterAksyon.

MANILA – The government has allocated P24.5 billion for the unconditional cash grants worth P200 per month for the poorest 50 percent of households, or about 10 million families, to offset price increases resulting from the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN).

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno gave this assurance in a speech during his regular “Breakfast With Ben” discussions with the media on Wednesday.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be identifying the families to be given P200 per month. This cash grant will increase to P300 per month in 2019 and 2020. For these years, meanwhile, P38.5 billion from the national budget will be set aside.

Other “mitigating measures in the 2018 national budget to offset short-term price effects of TRAIN” are the allocation of about P2.3 billion for the loan facility to be extended to public utility vehicle drivers during the jeepney modernization program, as old jeeps are replaced with “safer, more comfortable, and more economic” ones.

Finally, P2 billion has also been earmarked for the implementation of the National ID System, “which will ensure that public resources are delivered to their intended beneficiaries.”

“We have embarked on the largest tax cut in personal income taxation in the nation’s history. 99 percent of personal income tax (PIT) filers will be benefited with a substantial tax cut, while the top tax filers with a taxable annual income of P8 million or higher will bear a heavier burden at 35 percent. The huge revenue loss from the PIT cut (estimated at P146.6 billion in 2018 and P894.2 billion from 2018 to 2022) will be offset by broader VAT (value-added tax) and new indirect taxes,” Diokno said.

Several transport groups such as GRAB Philippines and the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association have already petitioned the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for fare increases, citing the impact of higher excise taxes on petroleum products under TRAIN.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has said that suppliers and meat dealers will probably pass on additional costs to consumers, such as the more expensive cost of transporting and storing meat due to fuel excise taxes and higher electricity rates.

Nevertheless, First Metro Investment Corporation (FMIC) recently said that the passage of TRAIN will mean a bigger government fund for infrastructure, as well as bigger take-home pay which will put more money in the hands of ordinary Filipinos to spend – both of which are good for the economy.