Better tax collection needed, not added taxes — OK bets
MANILA, Philippines — Government should step up its tax collection and use of public funds before imposing additional taxes on the poor, Oposisyon Koalisyon (OK) candidates said on Wednesday.
OK candidate and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said the practice of implementing additional taxes is nothing but the job of a lazy government.
“‘Yong additional taxes, parang trabahong tamad kasi ‘yan eh. Dahil hindi mo ma-kolekta ‘yong dapat mong kino-kolekta, dahil ayaw mo’ng solusyunan ‘yong problema ng korapsyon sa pagkolekta ng taxes, ang gagawin mo, magdagdag ka ng taxes,” Hilbay said during a briefing in Quezon City.
Former Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada, another OK bet said government should first answer if the funds for projects — sourced from taxes — are being spent correctly.
“Ang kailangan munang sagutin, nagagastos ba ng gobyerno ‘yong pondo na nako-kolekta nila? Base sa nakikita natin, may underspending nga ang government,” Tañada said.
He also noted that this may be the reason why Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno opted to use a cash-based budgeting system for the coming years, instead of the obligation-based budget.
“Maybe this is the reason why, looking back, si Secretary Ben Diokno wanted to go to a cash-based na budget. Dahil nakikita nga nila na yung pondo na binibigay sa iba’t ibang mga ahensiya, hindi nauubos,” Tañada added.
“Bakit kailangan pang maglikom ng dagdag na buwis? Wala namang rason, underspending nga eh, so hindi kailangang pahirapan pa ang ating mga mamamayan […] pinaglalaruan ng mga economic managers ang buhay ng mahihirap,” he said.
Hilbay and Tañada made the comments after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the second tranche of excise taxes on fuel products, which is part of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
Under the second tranche, an additional P2.24 per liter would be added to diesel and gasoline prices.
Revenue generated by the TRAIN law would be used by the administration to fund infrastructure projects under the Build Build Build program.
However, critics have attributed the high inflation rates during the third quarter of 2018 to TRAIN. During this period, prices of gasoline skyrocketed to at least P60, while the cost of basic goods and public transportation fares also increased.
Both Tañada and former Bangsamoro Transition Committee member and OK bet Samira Gutoc said government exploring options to raise revenue should not come at the expense of the poor.
“Higpitan po natin ang Bureau of Customs sa anti-smuggling campaign, makaka-kuha po tayo ng malaking pondo d’yan, collection sa BIR, go after those who do not pay their taxes properly […] ang importante, ‘wag nating pahirapan ang ating mga mamamayan,” Tañada said.
“Taxation is always a burden on the poor, especially kaming mga tiga-malalayong (lugar), it’s always a burden,” Gutoc added. /muf
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