December 10, 2012
For Agreeing to a P35 Billion Revenue Target for 2013:
MILITANTS SLAM THE BICAM!
Five thousand workers, vendors, and informal settlers assembled at the grounds of Hotel Sofitel Grand at the CCP Complex carrying placards painted with "Tama na, Sobra na! Sistema ng Pagbubuwis, Palitan na!", P-Noy at Sin Tax, Pahirap sa Masa" and "Tax Revolt, Sagot sa Regressive Taxation!" slogans. The militants condemned the sin tax bicameral conference that agreed on the P35 billion target tax revenue of government for the year 2013 last Friday.
Gie Relova, Secretary-General of the militant Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino - National Capital Region-Rizal (BMP-NCRR), says "We condemn the bicameral conference committee to the highest degree. Passing the sin tax bill has been the solons’ most appalling act of disservice and treachery to the Filipino people. The 1987 Constitution specifically instructs the legislators to develop a progressive system of taxation; instead, these lawmakers prefer to exacerbate the already miserable lives of our countrymen with regressive taxes".
In spite of the militants disgust for the bicameral committee Relova was quick to add that, "the millions of workers and farmers nationwide reserve the strongest denunciation for President Noynoy Aquino for his puppetry to the prodding of international financing institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and a transnational corporation. The imperialist forces shall profit in trillions of pesos at the expense of our local industry without generating any employment”.
The corporation the labor leader was referring to is the London-based multinational company British-American Tobacco (BAT) which re-entered the Philippine market after pulling out in 2009. The return of the BAT which produces the Lucky Strike brand will only dump surplus tobacco leaves in the country and will clearly benefit from a sin tax law designed to break the stranglehold on the market of a local company thereby increasing BAT's market share in the Philippines .
For Anthony Barnedo, Secretary-General of Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralita ng Lungsod - National Capital Region-Rizal (KPML-NCRR), a co-convener of the alliance Peoples Coalition Against Regressive Taxation (PCART), "the government claims to raise revenue from excise taxes but surely, they shall never be able to obtain their targets because of the high prices, no one will be able to afford sin products anymore, the industry is bound for doom".
"Nor do we expect an enhanced public health program from the government even if they achieve their revenue targets. The Universal Healthcare Program of the regime shall remain a dream, ending in a nightmare once they commence privatizing the twenty-six public hospitals" the urban poor leader added.
"As we commemorate the 64th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), our "honorable" senators and congressmen chose to observe this day with intentional and brutal violations to our right to work and protection against unemployment. With the imminent massacre of jobs and livelihoods, the system of taxation being laid down by the Aquino regime is clearly courting a social revolution they shall soon regret.” the BMP leader concluded.