April 25, 2018, 2:24 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07044 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.01285 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03414 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.3869 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02498 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03414 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03836 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.59992 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03047 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00723 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.58228 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.025 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13157 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06531 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.26103 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18432 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 383.96625 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03832 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02447 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 11.4346 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12071 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 52.91139 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.76908 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.72344 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.3961 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.39145 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1164 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.94764 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.1869 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24445 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33832 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52167 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01562 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03879 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01369 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01368 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08493 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.89893 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 172.6122 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1407 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.94879 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15041 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.4519 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11558 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.23341 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 4.85501 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 266.4557 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06754 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.26972 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.70809 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 805.52361 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.92079 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.37438 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01359 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.06782 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.91408 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.31497 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 76.83161 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.65286 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.26122 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.47315 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00575 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01573 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.25738 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 158.78405 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.8646 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.99962 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.50441 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.23188 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05847 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0119 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02539 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17621 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31433 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.95589 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 25.29728 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.79977 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15492 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.75105 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.64212 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29862 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.71883 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35542 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07476 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.23032 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.88531 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59455 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15025 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.02693 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02661 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00738 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06167 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06232 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.21711 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06525 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 105.81128 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06981 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07297 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.17426 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.19889 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07192 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14921 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25758 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34621 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1621 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02526 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01369 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42589 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 146.33679 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.79785 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 382.92676 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16782 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.87687 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2317 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60153 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04709 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04287 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07793 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12937 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56552 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.65171 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.50153 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 70.73264 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01918 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.54066 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 154.48792 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 1138.30075 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 436.67051 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.02071 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04846 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.24242 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05178 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.24242 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.85386 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.79287 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.23169 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 99.53011 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.94093 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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