LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Office of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Jesus Terry F. Adevoso, who is in town Friday for the 63rd Anniversary of Benguet Liberation, urged war veterans and their respective families to take a position on the proposal to remove Value Added Tax (VAT) and Expanded Value Added Tax (E-VAT).
AGED, ALIVE AND KICKING. Benguet veterans, mostly in their eighties, flash wide smiles as Gov. Nestor Fongwan greeted them saying a provincial resolution grants them, or their kin, burial benefits. The vets celebrated the 63rd year of the province’s liberation on August 15. Photo by Lyn V. Ramo/NORDIS
Adevoso quipped the P7 billion paid in pension arrears to war vets and their widows came from the taxes added on the cost of most consumer products.
“Saan kukuha ang gobyerno ng ipambabayad sa mga utang nito sa inyo kung aalisin natin ang mga buwis na iyan?” (Where will government get funds to pay its arrears to you if we remove these taxes) Adevoso asked the audience.
He said, besides veterans pension, other social services are funded from the collections from VAT and E-VAT, insinuating that its lifting as various sectors clamor is impractical.
Adevoso added he is apprehensive the country’s lawmakers might not be able to see fund sources for the veterans’ monetary claims.
Ano pa kaya ang pagkukunan ng gobyerno ng pondo kundi sa mga buwis?” (Where else will government get funds but from taxes) he said. He warned that a reduction in taxes would affect the veterans’ benefits.
In her State of the Nation Address, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo admitted VAT kept her administration responding to the needs of the poor. “Magiging kawawa ang mahihirap kapag inalis natin ang VAT (The poor will be miserable if we removed VAT) she said.
Earlier Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at operators nationwide (Piston) of the transport sector was clamoring for the removal of VAT from petroleum products to ease the spiraling rise in the prices of crude oil, gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which rose by about 20 times since January this year.
Other groups such as the urban poor and student groups Organisayon dagiti Nakurapay nga Umili ti Syudad (ORNUS) and Anakbayan, also raised the scrapping of the VAT on all consumer items because they said it raises the prices of many food items. # Lyn V. Ramo