It is in consonance with the dictate of reason and in line with the necessity of societal living that the citizens pay taxes to the government to fund its work for the common good, to pay public officials for their service to the people. The truth is that both direct and indirect taxes are ethical demands from the government to be duly responded to by citizens who are capable of paying for their public welfare and developmental opportunities—precisely in exchange for their taxes dutifully paid. This arrangement is in line with the elementary norm of take and give by the citizens vis-à-vis corresponding rule of take and give by their government.
But considering the dreadful political realities in the Philippines and attending to the depressing socio-economic condition all over the land, what is standard has become obscene, what is customary has become criminal to many Filipinos, and even lethal to an increasing number of them now wallowing in poverty and misery. This is the present status and import of the detestable and unconscionable E-VAT—the big symbol of contradiction, the vibrant sign of oppression for the hungry and the sick. There are at least three cogent serious reasons why this particular modus of taxation is not only villainous to the people but also venomous for this country.
First is the unenviable fact that the present government is known for many intriguing agenda except for honesty and integrity, famous for various official glorious claims except for telling the truth and being transparent. For those saying otherwise, they better wise up. A ruling administration that is infamous for its long standing monumental graft and corrupt practices—something known even to the international community—cannot be trusted with the proper handling of taxes dutifully and painfully paid by the citizens. It is like trusting thieves with the house silvers something that is not only ridiculous but downright irrational.
Second is the sickening reality that the poorest of the poor Filipinos pay exactly the same E-VAT as the wealthiest of the wealthy in the land. This is not a jab at the rich who have affluent resources due to honest sweat and toil. This is simply meant to call attention to the obvious: even beggars pay E-VAT from sunrise to sunset every time they buy consumer goods—in exactly the same amount paid by big and fat dishonest public officials from the national to the local levels of government. The hideous reality is that even a new-born baby is already taxed the moment he or she uses electricity, needs alcohol and cotton—especially so when the child starts eating and begins wearing appropriate clothing.
Third is the scandalous fact that notwithstanding all direct and indirect taxes paid to the government by some 86 or so million Filipinos plus the local ad foreign debts incurred exactly by the same government, even the still unborn citizens are already deep in debts. This is neither interesting nor funny. This is an unconscionable and unacceptable reality. No wonder then that the incumbent government having been qualified as corrupt from top to bottom is popularly much distrusted and rejected.
9 June 2008