Majority leader: Senate still open to passing TRAIN 2

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 7) — The Senate is still open to passing the second tax reform package, Majority Leader Migz Zubiri said Tuesday.

"We're still open to it as long as there's minimal impact on loss of jobs," Zubiri told CNN Philippines' The Source.

Since Senate President Tito Sotto filed the second package of TRAIN at the upper house on August 2, Zubiri said committee hearings would follow. President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the swift passage of the law during his State of the Nation Address.

Zubiri said that Department of Finance officials could "rest assured" the Senate will pass lower income tax, at least.

"No one in his right mind will not agree to lower income tax... It's just tempering incentives taken away by locators and industries. We have to itemize which industries will be hit," said Zubiri.

The senator added that all incentives should be time-bound, and sunset provisions were necessary.

However, Zubiri's colleagues previously expressed otherwise, with Senator Ping Lacson even saying senators "[would not] touch it with a 10-foot pole." The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) 1 — which lowered income taxes but increased taxes on fuel and sugar — has been widely criticized amid unforeseen inflation rates and a lack of financial assistance for the poor.

"Napaso na yung mga senators e [Senators got burnt]. Because in TRAIN 1, during the hearings, we were assured that inflation will not breach four percent," Senator Win Gatchalian told The Source last July.

"Now we're left here answering to the people... On top of that, the mitigating measures that we inserted in the bill are not being complied to date," he added.