MANILA, July 16, 2011—Militant labor center, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) assails the Department of Finance’s (DOF) plan to increase the tax payment of workers, under self-employed and professional categories in order to beef up government funds.
Joselito “Ka Lito” Ustarez, vice chair of the KMU said in a statement that the DOF, particularly the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) should go after tax evaders and large corporations, and not after the measly income of individuals.
“It is simply callous and opportunistic for the Aquino government to tax poor vendors, jeepney barkers, sari-sari store owners, and others in similar employment status. Callous because it shows a lack of understanding that they only raise a meager income. Opportunistic because it aims to raise tax collection from people it hardly supports,” says Ustarez.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima estimates P340 billion additional income for the government if the tax of professionals and self-employed be increased by a certain percentage asthe latest Labor Force Survey shows that 30.4 percent of the employed employees are under self-employed category. For the Finance Secretary, it is an opportune time to tap this portion of the labor force as a new source of income.
However, Ustarez sees this move as an evidence of the incapability of the Benigno C. Aquino III government to create measures in improving its tax collection. He also criticized the bachelor president of being pro-rich, instead of pro-poor as the Chief Executive had approved the waving of the P64 billion unpaid taxes by the Team Energy Japan Corp. and the Aboitiz Power Corporation that are supposedly to go to the Quezon Provincial Government’s chest. This was done last January, reveals Ustarez.
“Purisima is also boasting that his fiscal team encountered a case last year with liabilities as high as P25 billion,” said Ustarez.
Ustarez advised the government that to be able to increase tax collections, it should waive the tax holidays given to big companies and conglomerates, run after tax evaders and tax foreign investors.
“Our self-employed kababayans barely earn a living through informal jobs because the government failed to provide them decent work,” Ustarez reminds Purisima.