Saturday, 28 May 2011 00:00
It is very sad and utterly disappointing that many of our top political officials spend much of their time planning, plotting, scheming, and proposing legislative measures on how to collect and impose more tax burdens on the Filipino citizens. The most abhorrent part of these tax impositions, many of which are confiscatory, exorbitant, and excessive, is the fact almost every new tax proposal is passed and signed into law or ordinance without comprehensive public hearings and public consultations. The taxpayers who are the ones shouldering all the revenue loads of the republic, as a sector, is not even given the simple courtesy or the slightest opportunity to express their views and sentiments about any tax bill or proposed ordinance. I could not recall any instance when our Congress or our local legislature conducted a public hearing or consultation exclusively with the taxpayers from whom the new proposed tax imposition was to be collected. Most of the time consultations and discussions are held among legislators and those who might not be paying taxes at all. Even up this writing, the taxpayers are just treated as the Milking Cows or mammary glands of the government.
Why are they always thinking of imposing and collecting taxes, fees, and other financial burdens from the people? Of course, the ready- made justification is for the general improvement of the quality and quantity of their services to the people. Wow, what a humanitarian reason!
What we see however, are cracked roads, very dirty streets and public markets, killings here and killings there, kidnapping now and kidnapping later, grenades lobbed here and grenades lobbed there, and substandard public works everywhere . But fortune of all fortunes, no taxpayer ever complains! So the tax road show never ends.
Graft and corruption of the taxes has become the most lucrative daily concert of many government officials. The most shameful part of this business of taxation, is the fact that the ones legislating tax laws are also the ones deciding how much salary and allowance they should receive. They are also the ones who decide where, how, why, and for what purpose the taxes should be appropriated and disbursed. The taxpayers who are the owners of all public funds are never involved or even consulted. The taxpayers are not even allowed to examine the book of accounts of public agencies.
Cleverly however, very seldom they mention about increasing their salaries, allowances, and other financial privileges which in truth and in fact is a major but usually hidden or understated justification for the new tax imposition. And because the taxes of the people are the major source of the bread and butter of the politicians, the quickest way to improve their economic lot is to increase their salaries and other fiscal perks through legislation even without the benefit of consulting the people from whom the new source of income will be drawn or exacted. Ignoring the taxpayers who are the ones feeding the government day in and day out is the height of ungratefulness.
Obviously in the Philippines, taxes are like wines, cigarettes, and other addictive commodities. A huge number of public officials have already been addicted to all kinds of tariffs, revenues, and taxes. What tax ordinance are you proposing next? Is it true that the taste of tax is addictive?
By Clem M. Bascar
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