MANILA — Partylist group Bayan Muna led a picket in front of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 10, to jump-start their planned protest actions against the “anti-poor tax reform package of the finance department.”
“While this tax reform measure is giving more incentives to the rich, it is, on the other hand, further burdening the ordinary consumers and the poor who will bear the brunt of the impact of the proposed new taxes,” said Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate. He called on the people especially the organized sectors “to oppose, launch and participate in more protest actions against the deceptive, anti-people House Bill 4774 being pushed by the Department of Finance.”
Bayan Muna Rep. Zarate said the poor will be hit the hardest in the excise tax on oil and the expanded value added tax (VAT) alone. “Most likely those who will suffer gravely are the commuters, house wives, students, drivers, small operators, OFWs — majority of the people since all products and services will cost more with the tax hike,” added Rep.Zarate in Filipino.
“Unfortunately, this is what the neo-liberal economic managers of the Duterte administration, led by Finance Sec. Dominguez, wanted,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Zarate. The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion bill is a key component of the DOF’s overall tax reform package.
Based on published reports, the latest version of the bill tempered the increases in auto excise tax. Although it maintained largely the same provisions in a previous version a few changes were made including a lower rate of increase.
An initial estimate of the independent think tank IBON Foundation found that in the DOF’s Tax Reform Package, the richest will pay around Php178.3 billion less in reduced personal and corporate income taxes, estate and donor taxes, and capital income taxes.
On the other hand, consumers will be paying about Php341.6 billion more for VAT on previously exempt items and on higher excise taxes on petroleum products. Additional taxes will also be paid by consumers for every sugary beverage they buy.
With this disparate impact on the poor and the rich, it contradicts the DOF’s claim that its tax reform is progressive and pro-poor, said Ibon. The group said the package remains regressive and elitist as it seeks to offset the lowered taxes of the wealthiest Filipinos through additional tax burden on the poor, considering they already earn very low incomes and work at insecure livelihoods.