TUCP Calls on the Government to Establish Multisectoral Pricewatch Group to Protect Consumers

PRESS RELEASE

 

January 8, 2018

 

Contact: Vicente Camilon Jr.

Assistant General Secretary and Spokesperson

Tel: 9223199 Mobile: 09771968517

 

 

TUCP CALLS ON THE GOVERNMENT TO ESTABLISH MULTISECTORAL PRICEWATCH GROUP TO PROTECT CONSUMERS

 

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) urges the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to create a multisectoral price watch group composed of representatives from government, business and labor groups to physically inventory coal and oil reserves and public markets. “First, there is a need to physically check on what are existing pre-TRAIN law inventories to prevent profiteering. Second, there is a need to for validation of supply levels and compliance with suggested retail prices,” said TUCP President and Rep. Raymond Mendoza.

“Our interest now that TRAIN is in place, is to ensure that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) will prevent loopholes, ensure consumer oversight and mitigate any price spikes. Iba ang teorya at presyo sa tindahan. Pinaguusapan pang lang ang pagtaas sa presyo, sa kalye at mga pamilihan tinaasan na agad. Ito ang nangyayari sa tunay na buhay”, added Mendoza.

Critics of TRAIN have characterized it as regressive in nature because the law did not aim to go after taxpayers based on ability to pay, so that the richer among us carry a higher tax burden. But instead TRAIN law goes after all Filipinos as consumers through transaction taxes like VAT and excise tax irrespective of people’s capacity to pay. The rich are not made to sacrifice.

“The rich are not sacrificing, it is Juan dela Cruz who is sacrificing. It is Juan dela Cruz who is subsidizing the big tax cheats and those oligarchs who will profit from “build, build, build” while Juan dela Cruz picks up the tax tab. Let us make it clear: under TRAIN, workers and ordinary consumers are the only ones really sacrificing to pay the costs in our infrastructure building!”, said TUCP Spokesperson Vicente Camilon Jr.

“The Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) took the easy and lazy way-out with TRAIN law. Transaction tax collection is a lazy way to go after taxes. How come the BIR and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) shortfall in revenue collection for previous years was not prioritized first by improving reporting, monitoring, computerization and prosecutorial capacities? Tax cheats and smugglers are laughing all the way to the bank. Mr. BIR, Mr. Customs, you have to do the hard work. You did not do it with TRAIN law,” said Camilon.

Other non-government organizations have also said that the excise tax on petroleum products will bring up the price of electricity and transportation. Electricity costs are the main drivers of the operational costs of small and medium enterprises (SME’s) manufacturing, business process outsourcing (BPO), agricultural plantation etc. and are treated as pass on charge to the consumers. Excise tax on petroleum products will compound costs significantly for all goods and services.

“With their meager income, ordinary workers and the lower middle-income families will bear the brunt of increasing prices which would make the anti-poverty initiative of the government untenable in the long run. As those of the top will continue to have bigger and bigger share of the economic pie, most Filipinos will just have to be content with the decreasing value of their income and the poor quality of their lives while the bottom will be stuck with grinding and dehumanizing poverty”, Camilon added.

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