Research group IBON remarked that the Department of Finance’s (DOF) proposed tax plan essentially remains elitist and is inconsistent with President Duterte’s pro-poor stance. Following the president’s lead, government should be brave enough to tax the richest businesses and families instead of burdening the poor with new taxes.
The DOF on Monday submitted to Congress the first set of its proposed tax reform program. The plan includes reduction of personal income tax and the expansion of the tax base by loosening VAT exemptions. Also among the proposals is adjusting the excise tax on petroleum and automobile products.
According to IBON, the poor will suffer higher prices of goods and services, including transport fares, the new VAT, oil tax and sweets tax.
The DOF’s argument that the new higher taxes are progressive is unsound, said the group. The DOF does not seem to realize that a peso for the poor is worth so much more to them than even hundreds or thousands of pesos for the rich, said IBON.
The additional tax burden that is being put on the poor majority of consumers is unjust amid their already very low incomes and insecure livelihoods to begin with. The administration’s economic managers should not be so reluctant to tax the biggest corporations and wealthiest families and businessmen to raise revenue for social and economic services, IBON said.