By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo has called on the government to explain the spike in the country’s inflation rate that has serious effect on the daily lives of Filipinos, especially the poor.
Robredo, who was a pro bono lawyer before she entered politics, said that concerned government officials should explain why the prices of goods and services went on an upward trend in previous months.
“Kailangan talagang balikan ano ba iyong pinakadahilan kung bakit nagtaasan lahat. Kasi mayroong nagke-claim na hindi naman dahil sa TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law,” she said. (We really have to go back to the reasons why all the prices were rising. There were claims that it not due to the TRAIN law.)
“At kung TRAIN Law nga iyong dahilan kung bakit napakataas ng ating inflation rate, dapat nating i-review kung nararapat pa ba itong i-implement. Kailangan ba itong i-suspend—kasi iba’t iba iyong panukala,” Robredo continued. (And if the TRAIN law is the reason why the inflation rate is high, we have to review if it is still appropriate to implement it. Do we need to suspend it—because of the different proposals.)
The TRAIN law, which took effect on January 1 this year, had decreased personal income, estate tax rates while it slapped new taxes in the form of excise tax on petroleum products, cigarettes, sugary drinks and motor vehicles.
After its implementation, inflation, or the movement of prices of basic goods and services, rose to five-year high of 4.6 percent last month, higher than the 4.5 percent recorded in April.
Robredo described as “alarming” the rising inflation rate.
Due to the increasing prices of commodities that some have attributed to TRAIN law, she noted its negative impact to ordinary Filipinos.
“Bago ito in-implement, mayroong mga safety nets para pantulong sa mahihirap, pero iyong safety nets gaya ng unconditional cash transfer, hanggang ngayon hindi pa naibibigay,” she said. (Before it’s implemented, there are safety nets to help the poor, but the safety nets like the unconditional cash transfer until now is not yet given.)
The Vice President earlier raised concerns over the Philippine peso depreciation to a 12-year-low against the United States dollar after it breached the P53 to $1 mark.