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New Philippine tax law triggers protest

Manila (UCAN): Church and consumer rights groups in the Philippines have launched a campaign demanding the repeal of the new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, which went into effect in January, which they claim burdens the poor.
Reverend Jerome Baris, national coordinator of the justice, peace, and human rights ministry of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, said, taxation “should not target the poor.”
He said, “The painful effects of the tax reform law are now being experienced by many people.” 
The new tax law lowers personal income taxes for workers but imposes higher duties on fuel, cars and sweetened beverages.
The independent think-tank, Ibon Foundation, said slapping additional taxes on oil products makes the law anti-poor because it doubles taxes through excise duties on top of the value-added tax.
“It will inevitably affect 60 million Filipinos who live on very low incomes,” the foundation said in a statement.
Excise tax on oil products, such as diesel, is expected to increase to up to US$0.10 ($.078) per litre from the US$0.05 ($0.30) per litre this year.
The government says that the implementation of the new tax law will raise US$150 billion ($1.173 trillion) that will be spent on infrastructure projects in the coming years.
The National Economic and Development Authority said the tax reform law will boost consumer and manufacturing demand, but warned that its inflationary pressure could also impact on the cost of production. 

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