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Most Filipino netizens view TRAIN law negatively —study

Published March 22, 2018 11:33am

Updated March 22, 2018 1:44pm
Most Filipino netizens view the passage and implementation of the Tax Reform for
Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law in negative light, a recent study by Research
and Tech Lab (RTL) showed.

The study conducted from January to February this year, digital research firm RTL
found that out of 861 recorded sentiments online regarding the TRAIN Law, 94.08
percent of the engagements considered not helpful at all for the country.

“The top three social media sentiments read by the research analytics group say that
the TRAIN law is more of a burden to the Filipinos, it is anti-poor, and most netizens are
generally dismayed by the overall impact of the said law,” it said.

The TRAIN was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on December 19, 2017,
effectively lowering the personal income tax rates and expanding the value-added tax
(VAT) base starting January 2018.

“Other top reasons that TRAIN law is a ‘No’ for most of the online public is that they
claim that it is only beneficial to government officials while it is unfair to minimum wage
earners,” RTL said.

In a separate statement, the Department of Finance said lower personal income tax
rates would give Filipino consumers a combined P10 billion “cash bonanza” to spend
more each month.

“Our estimate is P10 billion a month in the reduction in collections from the withholding
tax ... So that means to say people are going to have P10 billion a month more to
spend,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III was quoted as saying in the statement.

“In effect, those with a taxable annual income of P250,000, on average, would be able
to take home a cash bonanza equivalent to a substantial one-month’s pay per year,” he

In the same statement, the DOF said it has yet to collate data on the net amount of
additional revenues raised from the measures put in place by the TRAIN law.

“The increase in take-home pay is actually useless because of the increased price of
some necessities,” according to the RTL study.

As a result of higher excise tax rates, prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will go up
P1 per liter, diesel by P2.50 per liter, and gasoline by P2.65 per liter.

“The study revealed that majority of Filipinos is worried about the burden that the newly
imposed tax plan will bring unto the country, especially for the working class,” RTL said.

“As seen in their social media responses, Filipinos are now vigilant more than ever in
seeing the country grow and the online universe became the top tool in expressing their
thoughts and feelings,” it said.

It noted, however, that a percentage of Filipinos remained positive that the tax reform
could be beneficial in the long-term.

“Meanwhile, only 5.92 percent of the sentiments analyzed turned out to be hopeful on
the effects that the Train law might bring in the long run. Some believe that the new
system will be beneficial to the country’s progress and believe that the Train law will
discipline ordinary Filipinos,” it said.

“Furthermore, only 1 percent of the sentiments gathered supports the implementation of

the Train law and defends it from critics,” it said. —Jon Viktor Cabuenas/VDS, GMA