House panel to meet on implementation of TRAIN social benefits

MANILA -- The House Ways and Means Committee will lead a roundtable discussion this week with concerned government agencies to ensure a swift implementation of the social protection programs included in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, its chairman said on Monday.

"Sa darating na linggo may magaganap na round table discussion, so pangungunahan po yan ng ways and means committee tapos tinawagan po natin ang mga iba't ibang ahensya ng gobyerno na nagpapatupad ng social benefits card. (This coming week, there would be a round table discussion, led by the ways and means committee, together with the different government agencies implementing the social benefits card)," said Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua in an interview.

"Ito po ay isang meeting para makahanap ng solution para bumilis ang pag-implement nitong social protection program (This is a meeting to find a solution to hasten the implementation of the social protection program)," he added.

Among the social mitigation measures in the tax reform law include the social benefits card, unconditional cash transfers, and the fuel vouchers.

Cua said the meeting aims to tackle the issues about the delays in implementation and come up with ways of moving forward.

"Malaman natin kung ano ang mga issues; makapag-usap ng harapan. Ito ay isang non-political, pero ano lang, trabaho lang talaga. Ways of moving forward, (We want to know the issues, so that we could discuss it face-to-face. This is non-political, just purely work. [We would also discuss] ways of moving forward)," he said.

Under the TRAIN law, the government shall implement the Pantawid Pasada Program or a social assistance project for commuters and public transport, and the jeepney modernization program to ease the impact of the oil excise tax increases on commuters and the land transport sector.

The TRAIN also provides for additional unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) to low-income earners, amounting to PHP2,400 for 2018 and PHP3,600 for 2019 and 2020. (Filanee Mike Cervantes/PNA)