MANILA, Philippines -- A ?virtual rally,? believed to be the first in the Philippines, for the suspension of the value added tax (VAT) on oil will be spearheaded by Senator Manuel ?Mar? Roxas this Thursday.
The site (www.virtualrally.net), which will be fully operational on Thursday, allows Internet users to pick from more than a hundred customized avatars that will represent them in a simulated EDSA Shrine rally.
?We wanted something more interesting and more fun than a regular online petition with a list of names. But the message remains the same: Zero VAT on oil,? Roxas said in a statement.
?This is a chance for all to tell the government: We will no longer foot the bill through this ?Katas ng VAT? without a fight,? Roxas said after a soft launch of the virtual rally before a group of bloggers last Friday, when he also launched his personal blog (www.marroxasblog.com).
Roxas filed Senate Bill 1962 back in December, when oil prices were just reaching the $100 per barrel level.
With prices having reached $145 per barrel, Roxas criticized the administration, which holds sway in the House of Representatives, for stonewalling even this short-term solution to the problem and hindered Congress from moving on with the measure.
?The poor have been sacrificing the most as a result of the VAT on oil. We want to debunk the administration?s propaganda that the government?s programs are hinged on VAT collections, which are a mere decimal point to the entire national budget of P1.3 trillion,? he said.
?Our government needs to change tack in dealing with changing circumstances. While the VAT on oil may have served its purpose three years ago, it only serves to burden the people today. What the people need now is the government to tighten its belt and collect more efficiently,? he added.