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Ping notes biggest TRAIN error; Sinabi ko na ‘yan dati pa

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As they feel the pinch from higher prices, more Filipinos are asking: where did the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN) law go wrong?

Sen. Panfilo Lacson can think of at least one issue with the present TRAIN law: the sheer number of exemptions from the value-added tax (VAT).

“As I advised DOF last year, TRAIN should reduce Ph’s 143 VAT exemptions and lower our rate from 12% to 10%, instead of raising excise tax on fuel. Malaysia’s 6% VAT has only 14 exemptions, Thailand at 7%, with 25. I don’t regret voting against the measure,” Lacson said in a tweet on Wednesday (

When the TRAIN measure was being deliberated upon in the Senate late last year, Lacson pushed for lowering the VAT from 12 to 10 percent.

He also pushed for bringing down several VAT exemptions.

Up to P117 billion in revenue can be generated from lifting several VAT exemptions, he said.

Lacson cited the cases of the Philippines’ more progressive Southeast Asian neighbors such as Malaysia and Vietnam, which have lower VAT rates but fewer tax exemptions.

He did not vote for the measure when the Senate did not adopt his proposed amendments.