Friday, February 03, 2006

Filipino Youth and Students Oppose Repressive Value-Added Tax

Palace price-watch inutile
VAT time bomb waiting to explode

"Who's taking advantage of who?"

This was Anakbayan's reaction to Malacanang's statement that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now 'prepared to exercise political will' to curb excesses in price hikes of traders and businessmen who might take advantage of the Reformed Value Added Tax (R-VAT) Law's full implementation.

"None other than Malacanang is directly accountable for soaring prices which racked the country upon the R-VAT's implementation. Mrs. Arroyo cannot get away with public backlash by pointing accusing fingers at small traders and macro-businessmen, who in turn will simply justify price hikes as effects of the additional R-VAT imposition. They are merely collectors of a tax that is taking advantage of the poor to extreme," said Eleanor de Guzman, Anakbayan national chairperson.

"Malacanang's so-called price-watch is inutile. The added two percent VAT rate has caused a domino-effect of price hikes that even it cannot regulate. It has totally overlooked this fact, being hell-bent on imposing the VAT hike to bolster Mrs. Arroyo's image to foreign trade investors."

With the raising of the VAT rate, the government expects to rake in an additional P86 billion in income yearly. Seventy percent of additional revenues from the VAT will automatically be used to compensate for foreign debt.

Bite the bullet

De Guzman also lambasted Malacanang's two-faced statement of the R-VAT being pro-poor when it is at the same time unleashing the full force of its Calibrated Pre-emptive Response on anti-VAT protests.

"It is very hypocritical to say that the poor will suffer most from anti-VAT protests when the VAT is unquestionably the poor man's heaviest burden," she said.

"The VAT is a time bomb waiting to explode in Mrs. Arroyo's face. Her payback time will be sooner than she could anticipate. The clock is ticking, and it will be she who will be forced to bite the bullet," de Guzman warned. ###