A million pesos while sizable is still, imaginable, still countable to relatively many people. A billion pesos become already difficult to count and even highly improbable to have for the big majority of Filipinos. But a trillion pesos—this is definitely an amount that baffles the mind of almost all Filipinos. For the present administration however, trillions of pesos are peanuts. And this is especially true when Malacañang indulges in incurring debts from all possible local and international sources.
There is one thing both interesting and disgusting in this matter of national debts. This: The government incurs the debt at will while the people make the payments per force. No big deal if the foreseen national debt this year has a mind-boggling total estimate of pesos 3.82. So what if the debt becomes much more in the years ahead. In fact, to incur more and bigger debts has become a matter of course for the present administration.
The principle and the practice remain the same: the government owes and the people pay. The government is wallowing in money while the people are suffering from hunger and want. No Filipino is spared from paying taxes from birth to death. It is not enough that those who are able pay direct taxes. It was not enough that even the poorest paid value added tax for all consumer goods they need. They are now even required to pay the infamous e-vat for exactly the same items they consume.
Rice and corn, clothes and shoes, milk cotton and diapers—not to mention gasoline, fuel, and all other consumers items—are infallibly taxed and a good number of poor people do not even know that the water they drink and the medicine they need, are all taxed by the government, direct and indirect taxes are all meant not only to pay for BIG government expenses but to pay as well for also big government debts.
The truly disturbing fact is that the present administration has been long since making money by deliberately and resolutely marketing abroad people themselves. It is not a secret that the country is kept financially afloat by the taxed remittances of OFW’s, a good number of whom are working like veritable slaves.
So on goes the ominous and odious reality in this country. The present administration goes on borrowing money while the citizens continue paying with their hard earned pesos. And where does all the money go? This is another thorny issue, another sad story, another sorrowful mystery.
+O. V. CRUZ, D.D.
19 March 2008