The Philippines Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law Triggers Mass Poverty. A Calamity Worse Than Yolanda


Worse than super typhoon Yolanda of 2013, is the calamitous effect of TRAIN Law on Filipino households today.  Philippine’s Duterte regime has implemented the horrible Republic Act No. 10963 otherwise known as the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law starting January this year. TRAIN Law expected to lessen taxes for poor earners had triggered a staggering inflationary condition in return. As a form of regressive taxation, TRAIN Law’s exemption for income taxes at P250,000.00 and below has not lightened the burden of taxpayers and consumers as the extensive excise taxes on petrol and sugar-based products take away the supposed tax gains in return.  

Since then the prices of crude oil has been raised 16 times and gasoline 15 times. Rice had jacked up to additional P11.00 this time, while meat products had increased by P50.00 more. Vegetables at P60.00 last January is now at P80.00 to P100.00 or a margin of P20.00-40.00 up per kilo. Electricity is again up this June by P00.80 per kilowatt hour. 

Will Filipino households survive the next round of excise taxes and inflationary rates since TRAIN Law is a 5-package scheme for 3 years?

Prices of Commodities 6 months after TRAIN Law Implementation:

TRAIN Law started in Jan. 2018.  This survey was conducted June 2, 2018,  University of the Philippines Cebu, College of Social Sciences.

Massive population of low-income earners and contractualized labour:

The Philippine government’s most recent wage order has pegged it to P366.00 on daily basis (DOLE Wage Order No. 20).  At the same time the mass of Filipino work force of about sixty (60) million are a mix of minimum wage earners, contractual labourers, and undocumented underemployed labour attached to the agri, agro-forestry, agri-fishery occupational lines of haggling bases, or the odd labor of carpentry, welding, laundry, driver, auto-mechanic, electricians, and other assorted work not covered in the formal industrial system (Ibon Foundation, May 2018). Hence, the TRAIN Law is not beneficial to the mass of the population but simply extracts from them what amount they could shell off for food and other inflation-driven items in the market. 


Prof. Phoebe Zoe Maria Sanchez is an Associate Prof. of History and Sociology at the University of the Philippines Cebu.

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