Lack of quorum invalidates TRAIN bill, says solon


Posted at Dec 14 2017 12:33 PM

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MANILA - A party list representative questioned the ratification of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill Wednesday night due to lack of quorum. 

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate dubbed the TRAIN bill a runaway measure that was suddenly approved by the presiding officer, despite their objections, around 10 p.m. 

"Our objections were not heard by the presiding officer. To us, it's a runaway, wrecking train and we believe that it is not validly ratified," Zarate told Market Edge with Cathy Yang.

The lawmaker said no copies of the bicam-approved report were distributed for scrutiny. "Before this should be ratified, we want to discuss this on the floor, to confirm whether the bicam really approved an excise tax on all kinds of coal..." he said. 

The Senate Committee on Ways and Means, in a media briefer Wednesday night, said the bicam-approved final version of the TRAIN bill raised the coal excise tax rate from P10 per metric ton to P50 per metric ton in the first year of implementation, P100 in the second year, and P150 in the third and succeeding years.

It said the P10 coal excise tax rate has remained unchanged since 1988 while the local industry has been exempted from paying excise tax since 1976.

The bicam-approved final version did not have VAT on coal, according to the media briefer. 

The Consunji-led Semirara Mining and Power Corp have avoided paying taxes since 1976 under the local coal industry tax exemption based on PD 972.

DMCI’s Chief Executive Isidro Consunji said Semirara is not against excise tax.

"Semirara is not against excise tax. It has no negative impact on our earnings,” he said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.