By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo has expressed her concern anew over the slow release of cash subsidies for poor families under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
Robredo, who campaigns for those in the fringes of society or laylayan, said that Filipinos have already felt the effects of the rising consumer prices, but not all beneficiaries have yet to receive the subsidies from concerned agencies.
“Ang target 10 million, kasi 10 million iyong pinaka-maaapektuhan ng pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin. Pero iyong six million, third quarter na ngayon, wala pa din (The target is 10 million, because 10 million are affected of the increase in the prices of goods. But for the six million, it’s already third quarter, the subsidy has yet to be released.),” she said in her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong Leni.
“Tumaas na iyong presyo first quarter of the year, pero ang tulong sa pagtaas ng presyo wala pa din (The consumer prices went up first quarter of the year, but there is still no aid for them to cope with the rising prices.),” she added.
Under the tax reform law, indigent families are entitled to receive P200 a month or P2,400 each this year in unconditional cash transfers. The cash subsidy will be increased to P300 monthly in 2019 and 2020 or 3,600 annually.
The distribution of the cash grants is meant to mitigate the increase in consumer prices due to the TRAIN Law.
The total number of Filipino households and individuals who are set to receive the UCT is 10 million—4.4 million members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); 3 million senior citizens of the Social Pension Program; and 2.6 million from the DSWD’s Listahanan, its targeting system for poverty.
But President Rodrigo Duterte, in his third State of the Nation Address, said the unconditional cash transfers were distributed to four out of the 10 million people.
Amid rising prices, Duterte stood by the tax reform law, urging Congress to pass the second package of the measure to lower corporate incomes taxes by year end.
Robredo said she was able to talk to some of the beneficiaries who complained to her the cash transfers of P200 per family per month is not enough with the hike in the price of rice and other basic goods.