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Taxpayers are owners of public works, equipment and vehicles


Public works undertaken by any instrumentality of government are generally funded out of the taxes of the people with the exception of those that are sourced financially from foreign aids, grants, loans, endowments and donations.

These infrastructures such as roads, bridges, irrigation systems, post harvest facilities and others by the basic reason that they are constructed out of revenues paid by the citizens, rightfully, are owned by the taxpayers. The fact that not all citizens of the Philippines pay taxes to the government, these infrastructures or public works cannot be generally considered as the collective property of the Filipino people. Some citizens avoid paying taxes. Other with the conspiracy of private accounting firms and revenue officers, manipulate and understate the income of businessmen, industrialists, self-employed individuals and professionals, so they are able to make it appear that incomes and expenses are exactly the same or incomes are even lesser than  expenses. So while it is true that they regularly file their income tax returns annually, they contribute nothing to the local and or national treasury. Moreover, foundations and religious institutions under our Constitution are exempt from payment of taxes so they cannot be considered co-owners of any facility, equipment and infrastructure constructed or purchased out of public funds.

The rightful and real owners of public infrastructures or works are the honest- to- goodness taxpayers. This being the naked truth, it is just logical, legitimate, and proper that authorized representatives of  the taxpayers should be involved actively in the planning, designing, monitoring, evaluating, inspecting, accepting or rejecting any public project that does not comply with its approved plans and specifications or the quality of work is visibly and evidently below standard.

Ironically, since time immemorial, no instance or event was ever recorded or reported officially that a distinct individual or group of taxpayers was given the privilege and opportunity to be involved in the planning, implementing undertaken by the government. The taxpayers are not even consulted or even just given the simple courtesy of being involved in determining the necessity, usefulness, practicality, and economic justifiability of any project that would be funded out of their monies now making up the General Appropriations Act of the government or the Annual Appropriation Ordinance of the Local Government Unit Worst, in all project and construction  sites, the larger than life pictures of the political officials are posted gloriously and splendidly giving the impression that they are the owners of the projects being undertaken. And when these public works are completed, accepted, and finally inaugurated, all the honor and credit are given to either the Chief Executive or the representative to Congress or other key public officials responsible for the administration of the budget for such purpose. The taxpayers who are the real owners of these public works are not duly and properly acknowledged. They should have been the most important guests of honor that should cut the inaugural ribbons of these projects with the presence of the political officials under whose administration these projects are undertaken and completed.

It would be very proper and inspiring if the highest, major or even the average taxpayer will be given the distinct honor and privilege of inaugurating completed infrastructures projects together with top government officials concerned. The marker of any public work and signage of any government own vehicle should emphasize in bold letters the phrase: “This is a property of the taxpayers.”  Pictures of political officials should be completely banned from being printed or posted in any public work or government owned property.

Why should the public official concerned be the one to get all the credit and honor of undertaking any public work or project when he/she is just a mere employee of the taxpayers? He/she should not be praised or rewarded for the job that he is mandated by law to do and paid commensurately by the taxpayers.

By Clem M. Bascar

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