By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
When I read a story about Digong’s TRAIN (Tax reform acceleration and inclusion) the Beatles’ song Taxman of the early 70’s run thru my head:
“Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman …”
Even before Christmas time or before the TRAIN was to be signed by the President the prices of vegetables (especially lowland vegies) being sold by the neighborhood mobile vendor was already raised and the volume or servings of vegies being sold became lesser or smaller. A cup of kardis used to be 20 pesos but just before Christmas the street vegetable vendor sold me 4 spoonfuls of it in a tiny ice candy plastic bag for P20, and 5 strings of utong for the same price, and 4 stalks of ampalaya leaves also P20. The combined volume of these total-of-P60 vegies and it does not even fill the needed measure of fiber in one meal for a senior citizen. A half-cup cooked rice is P15 in small eateries where workers go to. A kilo of Sugar is on the average 4 pesos more expensive. Sugar, the usual labay on rice for many young urban poor children when there is no ulam which can be most of the time.
One of 3 Filipino children are malnourished, or 26 percent of children up to 2 years old suffer from chronic malnutrition. And even if it is just 0.1 centavo increase in the price of any basic commodity it immediately increases a ten fold drop on the nutrition or health of the majority of Filipino children.
Gas or fuel cost
When we traveled to visit Sherwin, our columnist, in the Abra provincial jail, the price of gasoline per liter varied from one town to the other. Gasoline in Baguio was the most expensive, there was a P10 difference to the lowest price for premium. Just leave Baguio’s boundaries and it is cheaper by up to 5 pesos. Geez. And the gas costs shall rise again because of TRAIN. If gasoline goes up so shall costs for transporting traded things and travelers – that can be anything from toothpicks, food and bulldozers. Baguio is one of the more expensive urban areas in the north. It could be because of taxes on fuel?
For those trying to justify TRAIN to the Filipinos with statements like: “the price increase will be minimal and it will be temporary (people justly prefer a decrease), or the inability of the poor to participate in society productively (because he does not pay taxes?),” they must be receiving salary by volume of the sound bytes to spread lies to dumbgrade the already confused Filipino. Their role is to try to convince the ordinary citizen taxpayer that it is alright to buy more expensive commodities and stave off the protest from the Filipinos against being robbed blindly just to fill the coffers of the upper 10% of Philippine society – the oligarchs, the imperialists.
As one of the lower poor majority, we must study these proposals being shoved before us and voice our protest against being forced to pay more for taxes and profit that do not even deliver the proper government services to our level. # nordis.net