Cynthia Villar files COC, justifies signing TRAIN law

ANOTHER SHOT. Senator Cynthia Villar is gunning for another term in the upper house. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

ANOTHER SHOT. Senator Cynthia Villar is gunning for another term in the upper house.

Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Cynthia Villar will officially seek another term in Senate after filing her certificate of candidacy (COC) as senator on Monday, October 15.

Reporters could not help but bring up her affirmative vote for the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law during a short interview after her COC filing.

Villar defended her decision to vote in favor of the law, saying at the time, she did not expect global oil prices to increase, thereby causing a chain reaction of basic commodity prices.

"Nung binoto natin yung TRAIN law, hindi naman natin na-predict na tataas ang presyo ng gasolina and masyado magtete-take advantage yung mga traders para gamitin nila para tumaas ang presyo," she said.

(When we voted for the TRAIN law, we did not predict that the prices of fuel will rise and that traders will take advantage of the situation to jack up prices of their goods.)

She said the administration is now "correcting what happened," citing as an example President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to suspend the fuel excise tax increase supposed to be implemented on January 1, 2019.

Asked if she regrets signing the law, which some sectors have blamed for sky-high inflation, she said, "Hindi naman regret. Medyo napasama lang ang projection (Not really regret. But bad projections were made.)."

Villar also said, "It's lesson learned. Anyway, everything we do, we learn lessons."

Focus on development

Villar, who chairs the Senate agriculture and food committee, said she will again focus on farmers' issues if she wins another term.

"In m second term, I'll go development pa rin. I want to do things that will help make farmers competitive and profitable and they won't depend on the cartel," she said.

One way to do this, she said, is providing farmers a direct link to consumers so that they won't rely on middlemen who inflate prices largely to their benefit yet pay the farmers a pittance.

Villar belongs to the Nacionalista Party but is also endorsed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio's regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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