Sunday, October 4, 2009

Taxing misery

While Metro Manila lies in waste and we have not seen the full extent of the devastation caused by super typhoon Parma (Pepeng) in the North, we were greeted by a GMA news report saying that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) wants to grease its palms with tax from foreign and local aid donations.

Foreign aid fund donations, which will run to the millions or even billions of pesos, are the subject now of government "concern", mainly because these funds are supposed to be "tax-free." But, since government has no more funds for its officials to steal, and Mrs. Arroyo has additional foreign trips up her sleeves before she leaves by June, taxing the misery of people is by far, the most ingenious solution any rational government has ever come up with. That's the most legal way for government to get their hands on these funds.

And it's totally not shocking, considering that even the DSWD and Malacanang have been asking private donor initiatives to "centralize" operations by handing them those relief goods and donated monies. Sagip Kapamilya, a private initiative of the Lopez family, has been asked by government to give all of their relief goods and donated monies to local government officials. Sagip Kapamilya, obviously, cannot leave these goods to the "care" of government. It defeats the very purpose of its existence.

Admit it---private initiatives have rendered government inutile in the face of disasters. These efforts are just face-saving gestures by a government totally rejected by its very people. These twin typhoons not just cleared our streets with filth and garbage--it also illuminated many of us of how useless and expensive having a government is.

Taxing misery is just one way of totally isolating government from its people.