Labor group calls rise in inflation ‘imminent’
Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) is calling for the suspension of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law amid ongoing tensions between Iran and the US following the recent assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. In a statement by BMP Chairperson Ka Leody de Guzman, the suspension is needed ahead of projected rises in inflation, which labor official called “imminent.”
They pointed out, the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte should protect the consumers and overseas workers by “acting quickly and decisively” to shield them from “inevitable price hikes on basic goods.”
“The president should quit dilly-dallying and immediately issue an executive order that will suspend the collection of excise and value added taxes on oil to avert inflationary impacts on commodities,” he added. “He must have the foresight and diligence to act swiftly [on] behalf of our struggling countrymen.”
The labor official highlighted recent fluctuations in Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices, which are used as benchmarks for global oil pricing, showing them rising to $69.16 and $63.84 per barrel, respectively.
“If apologists in the bureaucracy argue against the suspension of oil taxes by pointing to losses in government revenue, then the BMP demands it pursue other sources, particularly by increasing taxes on properties, luxuries, and corporate incomes,” De Guzman stated.
He added, if the TRAIN law indicates that tax increases may only be suspended once global crude oil prices reaches or exceeds $80 per barrel, the “catastrophic outcome” of a full-blown US-Iran conflict will not be limited to international oil prices.
However, despite the projects made by the BMP spokesperson, US President Donald Trump affirmed the action was not intended to provoke conflict.
“We took action last night to stop a war,” he stated in a televised address. “We did not take action to start a war.”
Last Friday, Soleimani was killed following a US airstrike in Iraq.
Trump explained the strike was to disrupt an “imminent attack” by Soleimani operatives./DGB, WDJ