Workers, public told: intensify calls for tax relief
The labor group said statements released by Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Senate President Franklin Drilon, and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte last Tuesday expressing openness to proposals for tax relief were brought about by popular clamor coming from workers and the public.
KMU also warned the Aquino government not to exploit calls to lower the income taxes of ordinary Filipinos to further lower taxes being paid by big corporations and to increase the Value-Added Tax from 12 percent to 14 percent.
“The Aquino government was forced to take back its outright rejection of calls for tax relief because of widespread and growing calls coming from workers and the public. Let us make our calls louder so we can force this government to give us some form of tax relief,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
The labor leader also said that Liberal Party candidates, most especially presidentiable Mar Roxas and vice-presidentiable Leni Robredo, would become even more unpopular if the Aquino government rejects calls for tax relief.
“Tax relief for workers and ordinary Filipinos is a legitimate election issue. Roxas, Robredo and other Liberal Party candidates would surely lose more votes if the Aquino government rejects calls for lower income taxes,” Labog added.
KMU has been calling for the passage of House Bill 5401, filed by Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, which seeks to exempt low-income families earning a maximum of P396,000 annually from income tax.
“This government has sucked workers and Filipinos dry through intolerably high taxes. It should be forced by workers and ordinary Filipinos to give us a relief from high taxes before it finishes its term,” Labog stated.
A study of the Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP) shows that while Filipinos earning P500,000 annually is taxed at 32 percent, our ASEAN neighbors with equivalent income are taxed at the lower rates: Vietnam (20 percent), Cambodia (20 percent), Laos (12 percent), Malaysia (11 percent), Thailand (10 percent), Singapore (2 percent), and Brunei (no taxes).