Gov't may expand subsidies amid fuel hikes but not freeze TRAIN - Finance Usec

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 27 2018 07:45 PM | Updated as of May 27 2018 08:03 PM

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MANILA - An official of the Department of Finance on Sunday said the government may expand subsidies to poor people most affected by recent price increases but again fended off calls to suspend the tax reform law. 

Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua said the government was "moving fast" on providing cash transfers and subsidies to poor people affected by the spike in fuel prices. He said the government may also expand these subsidies. 

"We can also look at possible subsidies in the next budget or even a supplemental budget. We are looking at that also," Chua said in an interview with ANC. 

Chua also said the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law was not to blame for recent pump price hikes, which he attributed to higher prices of crude oil in the world market as well as the weakness of the peso. 

He said the government did not foresee that world oil prices would spike to their current levels. 

"We have many geopolitical issues that have surfaced in the last 6 months and those are unanticipated," he said. 

But he also said that it was wrong to suspend TRAIN. 

"We dont believe that we [should] suspend it right now because there are other factors, and programs will be affected."

The government has said that higher revenues from the recent tax reforms are needed to finance the country's ambitious infrastructure program. 

Senator Bam Aquino has called for the suspension of the fuel excise taxes under TRAIN amid the spike in fuel costs.