“Is it not the height of absurdity that amid the government’s failure to assist poor families impacted by the lockdown, it is imposing more taxes on imported oil products, which will obviously burden the already vulnerable sectors?” Anakpawis Party-list former representative Ariel Casilao said on President Rodrigo Duterte issuance of Executive Order 113, increasing tariffs on imported oil products by 10%.
Casilao added that while the social amelioration amounting to at most at P8,000, it will now be eroded by the domino-effect price increases to be triggered by this measure.
“Significant part of the financial assistance obviously will go to taxes such as VAT and excise taxes increased by the TRAIN Law, akin to the government on the left hand giving out, and on the right taking them away. Then this additional burden,” he added.
Casilao slammed that imposition of increased regressive taxes under the pandemic crisis is immoral and inhumane, as it is clear that poor sectors have essentially zero purchasing power due to absence of sources of livelihood, due to the lockdown.
Instead, his group called to raise taxes on the businesses owned by the richest oligarchs in the country, including Duterte’ allies Manny Villar who is worth USD 6.6 billion and San Miguel Corp. President Ramon Ang, who is worth USD 2.8 billion. Forbes’ list of 50 richest in the country, obviously have the financial capacity to cover for the pandemic response, than vulnerable and poor sectors in the country.
“The pandemic crisis is blow-by-blow exposing the regime’s incompetence and callousness, characterized by its failure to address the socio-economic impact on poor sectors, and imposition of more anti-poor measures. We urge the people to express their opposition on the added tax burden and join the call to ‘tax the rich, not the poor,’ to be a policy for the pandemic response,” he ended./Stacy Ang