Congressman pins rising prices on TRAIN, NFA

A PARTY-LIST congressman defended yesterday his decision to vote against a tax reform law that he now blames for rising prices of commodities.

In a press conference in Cebu, Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo) also questioned the National Food Authority (NFA) for failing to ensure sufficient supply that could have prevented rice prices from going up fast.

Alejano recalled telling the administration’s economic managers to fix first the inefficiencies in its revenue collection offices, before pushing for the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, on which the infrastructure program depends.

“The process of collection and redistribution of wealth is dismal,” Alejano said of TRAIN, which took effect last January.

As to the NFA, he said that in a House hearing, the agriculture department said it was unaware about any cartel in rice supplies.

“The DA said we are now 96 percent rice sufficient in terms of consumption and stocking. But why did rice prices increase and NFA rice disappear from the market?” Alejano said. “The purpose of NFA is to balance rice supply in the market and provide buffer stocks. But it has failed.” (EOB)