May 27, 2018, 5:35 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.02546 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01422 St Helena Pound
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1 Philippine Peso = 149.32471 Sierra Leone Leone
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1 Philippine Peso = 397.78391 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16644 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.79608 Syrian Pound
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.08961 Turkish Lira
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.56886 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.27563 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.49705 Ukraine Hryvnia
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01902 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.5933 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 151.83565 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 1494.25528 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 433.30797 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03595 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04914 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.63667 CFA Franc (BEAC)
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1 Philippine Peso = 10.63667 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
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Tax reform measures losing supporters

SOME of President Duterte’s allies at the House of Representatives are thinking twice about supporting the administration’s proposed tax reform package, which aims to lower personal income taxes but increases taxes on petroleum and other products to offset revenue losses.

Lawmakers led by Rep. Alfredo Benitez (PDP-Laban, Negros Occidental), leader of the 42-man Visayan bloc, are wary of the proposed P6-tax on petroleum products because they believe it will surely hit the poor the most.

Benitez said their group will propose an amendment to House Bill No. 5636, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), to provide for an automatic suspension in the implementation of the tax on petroleum products once crude oil hovers around the $80 per barrel mark.

“We feel that this is an effective way to protect consumers from erratic prices of petroleum products. There should be a provision for automatic suspension in the implementation of the proposed tax on petroleum products,” he said.

Benitez reminded his colleagues that oil price increases have domino effects on prices of basic commodities.

The House leadership has given lawmakers until Monday afternoon next week to submit their individual amendments to the bill, following a majority caucus last Wednesday called by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

The House is expected to vote on the measure for passage on second reading on Tuesday next week to ensure it will be transmitted to the Senate before Congress adjourns sine die on June 2.

Benitez said he and his colleagues who come from sugar-producing provinces will also move to slash the proposed imposition of P10 per liter tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to P5 because the proposal “is too high and may kill the local sugar industry.”

He said the proposal is anti-poor as the sugar industry is already paying value-added tax (VAT) and withholding tax.

Benitez asked Congress to consider its effects on the sugar industry, particularly the tens of thousands of sugar farmers who will surely be at the receiving end once the proposal is enacted.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, president of the Party-List Coalition (PLC) which is composed of 47 representatives, said their members are considering abstaining from voting.

Batocabe’s group wants the VAT exemptions for small and medium cooperatives retained even if the House removes the exemptions of some electric and major lending cooperatives.

“A compromise should be reached here because we feel that this will be detrimental to our sector,” said Batocabe.

The seven-man Makabayan bloc composed of left-leaning lawmakers has been dropped as authors of the HB No. 5636 since their original bill provides only for the lowering of income taxes without proposing revenue-generating measures.

Under House Bill No. 4774 principally authored by Rep. Dakila Cua (PDP-Laban, Quirino), chair of the committee on ways and means, workers earning P250,000 and below for the years 2018 and 2019, will be exempted from paying personal income taxes (PITs) on top of the tax-free P82,000 worth of allowances and 13th month pay annually.

This PIT will be lowered from 32 percent to 25 percent except for high-income individuals based on the version approved by the final. 

The bill, however, contains measures to offset the estimated revenue losses by increasing other taxes, including those of brand new vehicles and lottery winnings by 20 percent.
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