Sunday, August 15, 2010

VAT on Toll: A crooked road paved with good intentions?

Promises, promises
Remember these words?

"Kayo ba ay minsan ring nalimutan ng pamahalaang inyong iniluklok sa puwesto? Ako rin. Kayo ba ay nagtiis na sa trapiko para lamang masingitan ng isang naghahari-hariang de-wangwang sa kalsada? Ako rin. Kayo ba ay sawang-sawa na sa pamahalaang sa halip na magsilbi sa taumbayan ay kailangan pa nila itong pagpasensiyahan at tiisin? Ako rin.

Katulad ninyo ako. Marami na sa atin ang bumoto gamit ang kanilang paa – nilisan na nila ang ating bansa sa kanilang paghahanap ng pagbabago at katahimikan. Tiniis nila ang hirap, sinugod ang panganib sa ibang bansa dahil doon may pag-asa kahit kaunti na dito sa atin ay hindi nila nakikita. Sa iilang sandali na sarili ko lang ang aking inaalala, pati ako ay napag-isip din – talaga bang hindi na mababago ang pamamahala natin dito? Hindi kaya nasa ibang bansa ang katahimikang hinahanap ko? Saan ba nakasulat na kailangang puro pagtitiis ang tadhana ng Pilipino?

Ngayon, sa araw na ito – dito magwawakas ang pamumunong manhid sa mga daing ng taumbayan. Hindi si Noynoy ang gumawa ng paraan, kayo ang dahilan kung bakit ngayon, magtatapos na ang pagtitiis ng sambayanan. Ito naman ang umpisa ng kalbaryo ko, ngunit kung marami tayong magpapasan ng krus ay kakayanin natin ito, gaano man kabigat."

Being fooled this early?
These are serious words and promises which we heard during President Noynoy Aquino's inauguration. He talked about his experience in an unresponsive government. He also promised to uplift our lives and build a government that, as he says in the vernacular, would end an administration that does not listen and does not respond to the voice of the Filipino People.

And now this..

Atty. Ed Lacierda, the alter-ego of the President and his official spokesperson, refuses to heed the views and opinions of several legislators, including VAT advocate Senator Ralph Recto, and Senate president Juan Ponce-Enrile, on the illegality of what Malacanang intends to do come August 16, that is tomorrow, about the imposition of the Value Added Tax on toll ways throughout the country.

Enrile, Recto and even former Cong, Diaz, author of the Revised VAT law, opposes the imposition of the VAT on tollways, saying that it constitutes a tax levied on a tax, which is a violation of the tax policy and Constitution of this Country.

VAT on Toll: A crooked road paved with good intentions?
But no. Lacierda refuses to heed the People and even proudly says that the administration is determined to lose its "popularity" for the sake of the people. Lacierda said that, in the long run, the VAT imposition would fund social services programs of the government and ease the rising poverty incidence in the country.

Malacanang expects to collect 1 billion pesos from VAT.

Lacierda is stupid. He does not realize the social implications of such a move. GRanting, for the sake of argument that these VAT collections would be used to alleviate poverty, it would, IN THE LONG RUN, lead to further increases in poverty incidence.

Consider even a five centavo per kilo rise in commodities would surely have an impact on the domestic retail market. A five centavo rise is not as measly as what Lacierda wants us to think. It would surely impact on the profit-loss statements of companies and these would unduly affect the bottomline of most, especially small and medium sized enterprises. Prices would surely go up.

Aquino administration wants the easy way out.
Instead of going the straight path, they want
the crooked but easy avenues to solve our
What Lacierda wants us to believe is that the Aquino administration is now determined to go to the crooked road because it is paved with good intentions?

Bull. Crap.

The straight road, as what I wrote several entries ago, is littered with mines. It is not as easy as what Aquino and his supporters believed during the elections, that, solving the monumental problems of this country is as easy as mouthing slogans and propaganda of change.

The straight road is an ardous struggle, full of travails and sufferings, yet, in the end, the right, legal and moral end to problems.

Instead of correcting these things, instead of refocusing their efforts on improving the economy, the Aquino administration is bent on implementing the easiest way out of a fiscal dilemma--tax the people.

President Aquino, in his inagural speech, says that the solution to the budget deficit is not to raise nor to introduce new taxes. Let me give you what he said then:

"Hindi kami magiging sanhi ng inyong pasakit at perwisyo. Palalakasin natin ang koleksyon at pupuksain natin ang korapsyon sa Kawanihan ng Rentas Internas at Bureau of Customs para mapondohan natin ang ating mga hinahangad para sa lahat..."

See? It's very clear to the mind of the President that his government would not be a source of burden and suffering of the people. He vowed to strengthen and improve collection and rid out graft and corruption at the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

What they intend to do tomorrow is simply the opposite of what President Aquino told us during his inauguration. It is the complete opposite.

Instead of BIR Chief Kim Henares going after the big time tax evaders and corrupt BIR men, she wants Noynoy Aquino to support her drive of raising taxes and imposing new ones to achieve her fiscal targets.

I thought that the panacea to all our problems lies in effective anti-graft and corruption drives?  This administration is now saying that it is not.

Imposing VAT on tollways is not about political capital nor popularity, as what Lacierda used as an alibi in defending an indefensible proposition.

This is about logic and respect of our laws.

Lacierda is also spending the political capital of the President in his usual wanton style, blaming the previous administration for not imposing this earlier and putting the onus of implementation to the new administration.

Stupid guy.

Stop blaming Arroyo, Atty. Lacierda since she and her minions are not in power anymore. As what former Presidential Management Staff Chief Elena Bautista-Horn said, Mrs. Arroyo refused to implement the measure because she believed that it has no legal legs to stand on and it would greatly affect the lives of the people.

Horn said Arroyo exercised her executive decision-making powers and was, at that time, prudent.

So what if these BIR circulars and memos were not implemented during Arroyo's time? It is now up to the present administration not to implement them if they so chose.

What is so illogical and mind bogging is when Lacierda said that they are ready to lose their popularity due to this.


There are still too many issues that deserves a sacrifice on political capital, not this. This is too small to risk Aquino's political capital on.

This administration is acting like a spoiled cono. When they saw that the cookie jar is completely empty, instead of saving up some money to fill it, they want other people to fill it up.

The problem with this administration is simple---they are not what they profess to be. They are liars. They are pretending to be cause agents when all they are are elites of the same mold as those of Arroyo's.