2018 study: Rice farmers' income drops due to TRAIN

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The agriculture department's rice research agency said rice farmers' income dropped 10% since the implementation of the TRAIN law. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Rice farmers dependent on pumps for water supply bear the brunt of the government's new tax reform law, a rice research agency said Wednesday.

The agriculture department's Philippine Rice Institute (PhilRice) asserted rice farmers doubled their expenses to fuel irrigation pumps for production since the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law's implementation in January.

"TRAIN increases the production cost of pump-dependent farmers by 50 centavos for every kilogram of palay produced, which diminishes their income by 10%," PhilRice stated.

The research agency said rice farmers spend up ₱3.47 per kilogram (/kg) for fuel while earning ₱5.12/kg before the TRAIN law was effected. Now they consume ₱3.97/kg which reduces their income to ₱4.62/kg.

RELATED: Duterte signs tax reform bill, 2018 budget into law

"Fuel consumption more than doubles for farmers who fully rely on pumps (397-413 liters/hectare), accounting for 29-30% of their total production cost," the article stated.

Rice farmers normally consume 179 to 205 liters per hectare of fuel, which accounts for 13 to 15 percent of their total expense.

According to PhilRice, rice farmers have to adopt mechanization and water-saving technologies to cushion the ill effects of the TRAIN law.

The news come after the Office of the Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court to junk petitions against the TRAIN law for lack of merit.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said "The government stands to lose P146.6B in 2018 from the lowering and restructuring of personal income tax. The TRAIN Law is expected to provide P89.9B in incremental revenues for 2018, and P786B within its first five years," in a tweet Monday citing the consolidated comment on the petitions.

Opposition lawyers filed the petition to declare the TRAIN law as unconstitutional in January on the grounds it was signed without quorum of Congress.

READ: Opposition solons ask SC to strike down new tax reform law

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the TRAIN in December last year, saying he adopted the law to create a "simpler, fairer, and more efficient" tax system.

READ: Duterte: 2018 budget, TRAIN govt's biggest Christmas gift to Filipinos

CNN's Ella Hermonio contributed to this report.