Tax reform puts more money in pocket

The Department of Finance (DoF) on Thursday said that Filipino consumers now have more money on their hands through increased incomes or spending power because of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) to offset the moderate rise in inflation that happens in fast-growing economies.

Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez said one positive effect of high economic growth is a rise in domestic demand or consumption, which, however, leads to a temporary spike in inflation.

“The good thing, though, is the higher revenues generated by the TRAIN has enabled the government to put in place various measures, such as personal income tax (PIT) cuts, unconditional cash transfers (UCT) and transport subsidies, which have put more money into the hands of consumers to more than cover for the slight increase in prices,” Alvarez said.

After an initial and temporary spike, inflation will eventually go down and stabilize as the pressure on supply eases and production costs drop because of the massive infrastructure development under the “Build, Build, Build” program that the government has managed to implement via the steady revenue flow from TRAIN, Alvarez said.

“This infra buildup program anchored on 75 flagship projects will, in turn, further supercharge the economy and create more jobs, hence all the more putting extra money into the hands of Filipinos, especially of the poor plus low- and middle-income consumers,” Alvarez said.

She said that for poor and low-income households, the government has carried out measures made possible by TRAIN to address the temporary uptick in inflation, such as the UCT for the 10 million poorest families and indigent senior citizens across the country.

TRAIN earmarks 70 percent of the incremental revenues generated under this law for infrastructure and 30 percent for social services, such as improvements in health care and education, UCT, fuel vouchers for public utility vehicles (PUV) and other social protection measures.

“The current spike in inflation is only temporary. TRAIN, which has made possible the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and the increased spending on social services is a long-term solution to prevent prices from further rising in the future,” Alvarez said.

Inflation registered at 5.2 percent in June, with year-to-date inflation averaging 4.3 percent as a result primarily of the higher annual rate posted in the heavily-weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages index, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

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