Lawmakers who support the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (Train) represent at least 87 percent of the Philippine population, according to the Department of Finance (DoF) said.
Based on the profiles of congressional districts of lawmakers, only two district representatives—one from Manila and the other from Negros Oriental—voted against the Train, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in a statement on Friday.
“Of the 256 congressmen present during the session, only nine voted no and one abstained. Congresspersons from legislative districts who voted yes represent about 87 percent of the country’s population. Meanwhile, those who voted no represent less than one percent of the population,” Chua said.
Among the party-list representatives, those who voted yes represent 63 percent of the total number of votes for winning partylist groups in the last elections, while those who voted against TRAIN represent 14.7 percent.
“Support for the bill among the representatives in the House, geographically speaking, is widespread,” Chua said.
Those who voted in favor of Train represented 87.5 million Filipinos, he said, citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, based on the 2015 Census on Population, and the Commission on Elections.
Chua noted that among the independent minority, three voted yes, only one voted no, one abstained, one did not vote, and one was absent.
Two of them even co-introduced House Bill (HB) 5636, he added.
The proposed Train or HB 5636 is a consolidation of the Finance department-proposed HB 4774 with 54 other tax-related measures, which was approved on May 31 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s certification of the bill as an urgent and priority measure.
The proposed act aims to slash personal income tax rates by making the first P250,000 received by compensation earners as tax-exempt. It also included complementary revenue-enhancing measures such as adjusting excise taxes on fuel and automobiles, broadening the value-added tax base, and implementing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
The Train as approved by the House cuts personal income tax rates for 83 percent of Filipinos to enable them to increase their disposable income, which, in turn, will drive the growth of the domestic market. It also provides for complementary measures expected to raise additional revenues for the government estimated at P133.8 billion in 2018.