‘Text tax’ anti-poor –priest

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MANILA, Oct. 2, 2014—A Catholic priest slammed a proposed bill that will impose a tax on text messages, stressing it is “anti-poor”.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), lamented that given what he described as the inefficiency of tax collection in the country, the government can still think of “an additional problem” for Filipinos.

There are an estimated 106,987,098 cellphone users in the Philippines, according to Wikipedia. (Photo: CBCP News)

“It is pointless taxing people further when the government can’t even fix the present system of tax collection,” said he.

In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Secillano pointed out that the government must be able to prove to taxpayers that their hard-earned money are being used appropriately, and not being pocketed by corrupt officials.

According to him, with the excise tax, road user’s tax, and various other taxes Filipinos are obliged to pay, it is only right to demand government transparency on tax collection, especially in the light of the pork barrel controversies, which have caused many citizens to lose faith in the administration.

Agreeing with Manila Auxiliary Bp. Broderick S. Pabillo, who chairs CBCP-ECPA, and with Senator Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero”, Secillano explained that the “text tax” suggested by Finance Undersecretary Jeremias N. Paul, Jr. in order to increase the government’s collection, is an “anti-poor measure” as it puts the burden on the underprivileged majority. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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