Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. on Wednesday, January 3, reminded the public of the implementation of the tax reform law starting this year, stressing that its proceeds will benefit everyone.

Republic Act No. 10963, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, will reduce the burden of Filipinos from paying income taxes.

“Of course you know that January 1 is the implementation of the TRAIN reform. Let me stress though that the implementation of TRAIN relates to the fact that those having an annual taxable income of P250,000 and below or at least P21,000 a month are now exempted from personal income tax. Thirteenth-month pay and other bonuses amounting to P90,000 are likewise tax-exempt,” Roque said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

On the concern that the TRAIN’s revenue-enhancing provisions would lead to higher prices, Roque clarified that the TRAIN proceeds will go back to the people in terms of infrastructure, which is expected to stimulate the economy.

He also assured the public that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is doing its mandate to monitor price movements in the market.

“Well, someone has to pay for Build, Build, Build that will produce positive effects for everyone and of course, it is done through taxes,” he underscored, referring to the massive infrastructure program of the Duterte administration.

“Taxation is one of the three inherent powers of the state and for as long as it is approved by the people’s representatives, which is Congress, is it acceptable in a democratic state,” he explained.

Likewise, Roque said that a portion of TRAIN revenues will be used to help fund the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

“We have also begun implementing the P200 per month … as a measure of mitigating the effects of TRAIN, at least to the poorest of the poor in our communities,” he said.

A technical working group is now being formed in preparation for the timely release of the cash transfer. The cash grant will be distributed between January to July 2018.

‘EO 28 implementation decreases fireworks-related injuries’

In the same press briefing, the President’s spokesperson was happy to announce that fireworks-related injuries on New Year’s Day celebration dropped more than 70 percent as compared to the previous year.

“We hope that in the coming years, there will be zero casualties in fact ‘no. And we, of course, credit the dramatic decrease in injuries to the strict implementation of EO (Executive Order) No. 28,” Roque said.

“I think we proved to one and all that we can have a happy New Year without people losing their fingers and losing their eyesight,” he added.

Roque also mentioned about the recent Gallup poll which found that Filipinos are the third happiest people on Earth. 

“And we hope to be the happiest people this coming year,” the Presidential Spokesperson said.

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