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Senate asked to revise TRAIN

A CONSUMER’S group yesterday said if passed into law, the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) under the Senate Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara, will remove the VAT exemptions currently given for socialized, economic and low-cost housing units.

The VAT exemptions cost between P450,000 to P3.2 million per unit.

Rodolfo Javellana Jr. of the Union of Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC) expressed fear that this “spells bad news for the 15 million overseas Filipinos workers trying to earn a decent living away from their families and the rest of our kababayans planning to buy their own homes.”

Javellana said that with the current prices for socialized, economic, and low-cost housing, even workers with a take home pay of P30,000 a month can barely afford a decently sized house and lot.

“If the Senate will agree to increase housing prices to anywhere from P50,000 to P360,000 per unit by imposing VAT, our OFWs and homeless citizens can say goodbye to their dream of owning a piece of property for their families,” he said, underscoring that buyers will take the full brunt of the tax burden as VAT in an after-sales tax.
    
The UFCC appealed to Angara to heed their call and delete the controversial TRAIN provision on housing for the sake of the homeless, which the government estimates to be at least 5.7 million families or more.
    
Javellana stressed that not all provisions of TRAIN is bad, since government tax collectors are good, running after tax evaders and corrupt tax collectors.
    
Housing the poor is a constitutional mandate but government has done little to comply with this, allocating a measly P15.36 billion for the Housing sector for 2017 despite a housing crisis, and instead relying on private developers to build houses for the poor in exchange for tax benefits.