Workers greet “bleak new year” with protest vs. pending prices hikes as TRAIN takes effect

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WORKERS commenced the year with protests at Mendiola Bridge after prices of basic commodities are expected to spike as the new tax measure of the government took effect on the first day of the year.

The protest held by socialist Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) denounced the government’s Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) which they claimed that excise taxes on petroleum and energy sources will gravely burden end-consumers – workers and other disadvantaged sectors since it is a pass-on tax.

“Contrary to what officials keep on reiterating that TRAIN is beneficial to the poor, it is all too evident that the capitalists shall simply pass their obligations to their clients- the lowly paid, contractual workers,” said Leody de Guzman, BMP president.

The group insisted the new tax measures shall only be beneficial to an elite few as the bulk of wage-earners continue to remain financially crippled by labor contractualization, low wages, privatized social services and other anti-poor policies.

“Hindi totoong makikinabang ang milyong empleyado sa tax exemptions ng TRAIN dahil taong 2008 pa ay exempted ang mga sumasahod ng minimum batay at kung makinabang naman ay babawiin din ng gobyerno sa ibang paraan,” de Guzman asserted.

The increased exemption to personal incomes will only benefit a portion of the middle class and the affluent elite, the 8th to 10th topmost in income distribution.

De Guzman also clarified that the added income due to personal tax exemptions by those who earn slightly higher than the minimum will be eroded by TRAIN-induced inflation.

They believe that the economic elite were the ones who gained from Duterte’s TRAIN because of the lowering of their corporate and estate taxes. These, they claimed, are even come-ons to foreign investors which have no direct impacts on the poor.

The militants argued that even the revenues generated from TRAIN targeted to be spent for Duterte’s “Build, build, build” infrastructure program has no direct impacts on the poor.

Ultimately, BMP asserted, the poor will suffer the brunt of the tax impositions for sourcing from them the biggest share in its tax revenues where in fact he has not lifted a finger to uplift their economic standing and at the same time freeing corporations of their obligations.

“Duterte’s tax reform maybe the beginning of his end as he sheds his true class colors – his loyalty to the ruling capitalist class and their interests at the expense of the masa that elected him into office” De Guzman concluded.

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