November 19, 2012
Leody de Guzman
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP)
No Railroading of New Taxes!
Review the Present Anti-Poor Tax System!
Reform towards a Progressive System of Taxation!
In the light of recent controversies involving taxes on gold and "sin" products, workers are calling on Congress and the Senate not to railroad the passage of new taxes.
Both Houses should prove institutional independence not only from Malacanang but also from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) especially with Christine Lagarde issuing a statement supporting new taxes including a levy on cellphone text messages.
Instead, we demand a status quo on taxes pending the review for an omnibus amendment of the entire taxation system. The current system relies more on sales taxes borne by consumers (through the EVAT) and on compulsory deduction of withholding taxes to wage-earners. It is not just anti-poor and regressive but also unconstitutional.
Article 6 Section 28 of the 1987 Constitution is clear: "The rule of taxation shall be uniform and equitable. The Congress shall evolve a progressive system of taxation".
But tax reform is not just a legal question but a matter of life and death for Filipino workers and their families.
Workers' take home pay is a mere pittance. Not only because wages are below the necessary costs for a decent life. Worse, it is further reduced by withholding taxes and contributions to social welfare. Not only are starvation wages subject to withholding taxes. More so, it is subject to the EVAT when we purchase our families' needs.
Those who have less in life bear more of the tax burden. Unlike the privileged elite who have their lawyers and accountants to disguise their crimes of tax evasion into innocent (and legal!) acts of "tax avoidance".
Hence, an overhaul of the current system towards progressive taxation, based on income and property, is a legal, moral, democratic and nationalist imperative. Tax the rich, not the poor! Resist the impositions of IMF and other foreign finance institutions!