Senator Sonny Angara has called on the government to use the revenues that will be generated from the new tax reform law on programs that will directly benefit ordinary Filipinos, specifically the improvement of the public transportation system in the country.
According to news reports, for the entire 2017, the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) broke down more than 500 times, where thousands of passengers were forced to disembark due to disrupted operations.
“The TRAIN law should fix our trains. Hindi na po makatarungan na libu-libong pasahero ang naaagrabyado dahil sa madalas na despalinghadong serbisyo ng ating MRT at LRT. Dapat ay siguruhin ng gobyerno na ang makokolektang buwis ay mapupunta sa mga programang mapakikinabangan ng bawat Pilipino,” said Angara, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Under Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, 70% of the yearly incremental revenues generated will be allocated to the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program and other infrastructure projects that seek to address congestion through better mass transport and new road networks.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) cited the lack of available spare parts as one reasons for the MRT’s frequent breakdowns. The MRT transports an average of 463,000 people daily.
“If we provide the public an efficient, dependable, safe and affordable public transport system, it would definitely encourage more Filipinos to take mass transit rather than use their own cars, which would reduce traffic congestion in the country,” the veteran legislator said.
Meanwhile, part of the 70% will also go to projects that seek to enhance military infrastructure, sports facilities in public schools, and potable drinking water supply in all public places.
The other 30% of generated revenues from the TRAIN law will be allocated to social mitigating measures and investments in education, health, targeted nutrition, and anti-hunger programs, social protection, employment, and housing that prioritize and directly benefit both the poor and near-poor households.
“Bukod sa mas malaking take-home pay dahil sa mas mababang income tax simula ngayong taon, dapat ay maramdaman na rin ng ating mga kababayan ang mas pinabuting mga serbisyong pampubliko na siyang nilalayon ng batas na ito,” the seasoned lawmaker said.