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Why derail the Train?

By: Jobers R. Bersales January 10,2018 - 09:54 PM
Jobers Bersales

Jobers Bersales

Whichever side you are on the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train), you have to grant Pres. Rodrigo Duterte full credit for bravely doing what all other presidents, fearing a backlash, only hinted at doing but never did. Social media is now full of praises on the one side and rants and raves on the other concerning this brave and bold move.

Things can go either way for Duterte’s political party, the PDP-Laban, and his allies in next year’s elections: the money to be raised by all the tax increases on luxurious items as well as on fuel will be appreciated by majority of voters, or they will reject Duterte’s firm exercise of political will no matter how unpopular and bitter the pill to swallow.

At the end of the day, here is one president many had derided earlier as just riding on the wave of populism now proving barely a year-and-a-half into his six-year term that he does not care to do things that are unpopular especially to a sector of society that seems to want to see things for the better without necessary appreciating the costs and the betterment of life entails.

We complain so much of traffic and of the lack of infrastructure that’s decades ahead before they’re needed. Yet when we are asked to make sacrifices like paying toll fees in return, we cry foul.

While it is right and proper to be vigilant to ensure that our taxes go where they ought to, the 20-year deficit in the nation’s public infrastructure can only be addressed with urgency if funds can be sourced fast.

Alas, the trillion-peso budget for infrastructure development under the Duterte presidency’s slogan of “Build, Build, Build!” will not just drop from heaven.

Hence the need for tax reforms, one that is simplified at that.

While I can understand the weariness of some sectors as to how taxes to be raised under the Train 1 will be spent, I am sure there is no doubt in the mind of many that we finally have a gung ho president who just might succeed in getting things in place and accomplished before his term ends, with as little corruption as possible.

Compare the legislative progress of this presidency, for example, with the previous lethargic one and you need not be a scientist to see the difference.

Three more tax reform packages are waiting to be passed — and soon.

This everyone should note. They spell in no uncertain terms the urgency with which the Duterte administration is attempting to seize the day or strike while the iron is hot, as it were.

And so, whether we agree with him or not —never mind if you do not like him — you will have to accept the reality that this dogged resolve to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit is something we need badly now.

The question then is, are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices?

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