By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said there may be no need for Congress to pass the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill now that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seems to be improving its collection.
Ejercito said he considers the recent developments “a strong argument” against the Duterte administration’s tax reform program, which seeks to increase taxes on certain strategic items like petroleum products and impose new ones like the levy on sugar-sweetened beverages, which are basic consumer commodities,.
“I consider it as a strong argument against the TRAIN the recent developments where the BOC collected P42-billion worth of import duties and taxes last October, which is the highest take in a month in the bureau’s history,” Ejercito said of the agency, which was wracked by leadership changes after it was embroiled in the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China.
“And the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) (also) netted over P138-billion in September, which was higher than its P130.12 billion goal for the month,” the senator added.
Thus, Ejercito said “We may not need, after all, the proposed TRAIN.
The senator has been calling on the government to rethink and review its position on the tax reform bill “because, as I have said, it’s inflationary and will severely impact on the poor.”
“I am especially worried on food inflation. With the BIR and the BOC coming up with impressive numbers, I hope they will listen to this proposal now,” the lawmaker said.
With the current tack taken by both revenue-generating agencies, he said it means that the government can raise revenues even without increasing the taxes or imposing new ones.
“I also commend the BOC for successfully confiscating undervalued luxury cars at the MICP (Manila International Container Port) worth P107-million,” he said.
“If we will only improve our tax and duties collections and also tighten the noose on smugglers through a serious and sustained antismuggling campaign, which we definitely can, we will be able to generate the revenues that we need. So, hindi na natin kailangan pa ang TRAIN (we don’t need TRAIN anymore),” he said.