Senator Juan Edgardo Angara advised the government to prepare to assist thousands of workers who will lose their jobs once the administration-backed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill is implemented.
Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, noted that while the proposed tax reforms could lead to bigger take-home pay for low-income workers, the government must also be ready to provide livelihood to those who might lose their jobs because of the measure.
The TRAIN bill seeks to increase the excise tax on gasoline, impose excise tax on diesel and a P10-excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
The House of Representatives has passed its version of the Train bill. The Senate version is still being tackled by Angara’s committee.
House Bill 5636 imposes a P10 excise tax on every liter of sugar-sweetened beverages which include sweetened juice drinks, tea and coffee; all carbonated beverage with added sugar; flavored water; energy drinks; sports drinks; powdered drinks not classified as milk, juice, tea and coffee; cereal and grain beverages; and other non-alcoholic beverages that contain sugar.
During a hearing on Thursday last week, the Beverage Industry Association of the Philippines said that around 130,000 jobs would be affected by the proposed excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
“The government must be prepared for the worst-case scenario especially if the livelihood of the ordinary Filipino people is at stake,” Angara said.
He suggested that employment assistance for workers who will be affected by the tax reforms should be included in the provisions of the TRAIN.
Angara insisted that the government must include employment assistance even if the Build, Build, Build program, to be funded by revenues to be collected through tax reforms, is seen to generate 500,000 jobs annually.
Angara also wants part of the incremental revenues of the proposed excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, estimated at P47 billion, used to develop and sustain feeding programs to address malnutrition, widen access to potable drinking water supply and expand Philhealth’s dialysis package.