July 17, 2018, 9:50 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.06864 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.00897 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03439 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.50824 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02516 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03326 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03738 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.56345 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03139 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00707 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 32.72248 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01869 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02526 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1282 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07195 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01869 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.282 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19138 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 374.13568 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03734 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02459 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 12.14969 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12502 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 53.37133 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.54401 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01869 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.76603 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.4139 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.31714 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11919 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.92375 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.19884 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25015 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.3334 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51037 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01599 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03902 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01411 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01412 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08949 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.88526 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 168.36105 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13998 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.87012 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14665 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.44715 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11858 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.25939 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.1596 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 268.604 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06791 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.27993 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.12671 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 807.13885 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0015 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.42478 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01324 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.09923 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.87722 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.27646 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 75.63072 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.88806 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 16.81929 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 21.08952 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00566 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01532 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.39993 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 157.01738 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.13493 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.97982 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.97197 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24762 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05697 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0116 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02562 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17688 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31088 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.98075 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 26.55578 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.74846 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15104 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.63427 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.6382 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29097 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.33283 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35287 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07569 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24767 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.69034 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58456 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15155 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04691 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02764 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00719 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01869 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06103 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06077 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.27135 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06898 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.5969 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06802 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07424 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.1686 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 15.92992 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07008 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14699 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25089 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33555 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16567 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02551 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01412 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41499 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 153.24238 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.65221 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 391.8333 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16352 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.624 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24803 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.62213 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04953 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04334 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.09042 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12621 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57118 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 42.3846 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.48981 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 69.93085 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01869 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58568 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 145.44945 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 2236.96505 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 430.74192 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.06036 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04858 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.48103 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05046 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.48103 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.90563 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.66922 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24782 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 96.98187 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.76322 Zimbabwe dollar

A trainload of vested interests

In passing the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill in both Houses of Congress, the legislative branch, prompted by the Executive and clearly facilitated by other insidious considerations, seem to have just dumped a rather large and noxious load on the public. 

And what a load it is.

It is not enough that TRAIN as passed is a mixed concoction antithetical of the terms “Tax Reform, “Acceleration” and “Inclusion.” Substantially there is very little actual tax reform within its provisions. “Acceleration” is likewise nothing more than spin as is “Inclusion.”

These terms in the title of the bill do not accurately describe the more salient points of what is substantially nothing more than another piece of work by the Legislative branch. The same responsible for such scandals as the pork barrel scams, trumped up impeachment charges against the   Judiciary, as well as constantly serial kitschy telenovelas of corruption hearings to persecute political opponents. More so, going by the profound analysis of a credible non-partisan and eminently academic think tank, TRAIN is really just a disjointed and mixed concoction -- a witches’ brew comprised of snake oil and arsenic.

During the early months of the Duterte administration we held high hopes that proposals for tax reform would finally lead to accelerated gross domestic productivity growth (GDP) that would include sectors neglected by the GDP expansion we experienced in the last few years.

While indeed the statistics were admirable, what development we experienced did not essentially trickle down as most economic indices that mattered remained dismal. TRAIN was supposed to have addressed that.

It was also supposed to have addressed critical infrastructure development constantly bungled even where the economy was profuse with liquidity, so fattened that it could find room for pork barrel scandals that went as high as the Office of the President with unprecedented scams such as the novel albeit illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). TRAIN was designed to also reverse the dismal trend in foreign direct investment flows (FDI) where our decrepit infrastructure from poor airport management, the lack of modern sea and air ports, the slowest telecommunications facilities, traffic and power capacities prevented the flow of FDI enjoyed by neighboring economies.

FDIs need infrastructure development. We practically had none given the irony of a highly liquid economy.

Allow us to set the foregoing expectations as the benchmark by which we might measure TRAIN, specifically taking to task our legislators on the very specific terms they had woven to describe TRAIN and make it palatable and attractive -- tax reform or the correction of past mistakes, GDP acceleration or productivity growth, and finally, the economic inclusion of long excluded sectors.

The Action for Economic Reforms (AER) is a non-partisan think-tank composed of academicians, economists, lawyers and other professionals who’ve built an excellent reputation for quantitative analysis and credibility, and who have established themselves not simply as policy watchdogs but as critical partners for progress. In their recent analysis of TRAIN they came out with some observations that address our own reform, acceleration and economic inclusion measures.

Allow us to cite verbatim some of their analysis and from each indulge us our critical reactions. In their analysis the AER pinpointed specific accountabilities and is especially alarmed at the provisions pushed by Senators Juan Edgardo Angara and Ralph Recto.

According to AER, “Sen. Recto introduced more holes to our VAT system with new exemptions on prescription drugs  and condominium fees instead of reducing revenue leakage. Instead of correcting an existing practice of granting zero-rating for sales and transactions in special economic zones and free port zones even to those which may not be direct exporters, we fear that Sen. Angara’s insertion on ecozones will create a black hole for revenue and reward more anti-poor, anti-indigenous people, APECO-like zones in the country.”

As it stands there are already quite a number who declare themselves in the export business simply to enjoy tax exemptions.

AER further noted that, “Sen. Angara continued to protect the interests of the aviation industry by maintaining a very small P0.33- one-time increase in the aviation fuel rate (in comparison to the other fuel products), and the rich self-employed professionals (SEPs) by giving them the option of an 8-percentincome tax rate even when they earn above the VAT threshold of P3 million. Sen. Recto similarly upheld the interests of the rich by lowering the rates of the automobile tax for and giving discounts to cars priced above P2 million.”

AER added that, “Sen. Recto’s move to double the rates of Documentary Stamp Taxes (DST)…  will undoubtedly affect economic transactions and the ease of doing business in the Philippines.”

This one especially disturbing as the DST issue was neither in the House nor the Senate versions of  TRAIN and was thus technically not subjected to full hearing debates and was purely a bicameral insertion.

AER likewise cited Sen. Manuel Villar for legislating a tax specifically benefiting his businesses. “Sen Villar’s interests have also been accommodated in the bicam report with the VAT exemption for socialized housing maintained for three years before finally implementing a P2-million threshold for projects inside Metro Manila.”

On the proposal to increase taxes on tobacco products that we’ve been strongly advocating and which Sen. Angara had totally left out of TRAIN, the AER wrote, “We are also very alarmed by the House’s insertion, led by Rep. (Romero) Quimbo, of a meager P2.50-increase on the tobacco tax rate per year until 2021 -- this provision was not present in either house or senate version. This rate is an aberration to our health objectives as it is a far cry from the P30-increase we have been pushing for to prevent 200,000 new smokers in 2018 (and succeeding years).”

All told, TRAIN has hardly any reform provisions. Much less productivity and economic inclusion save for a trainload of vested interests obviously intimately pandered if not nurtured and fattened.
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