Sunday, April 24, 2005

NR0419:Church should oppose tax measures

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release April 19, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Catholic Church leaders and leaders of other religious affiliations should speak out against new tax measures - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that all Catholics and members of other religious denominations should stand against the Macapagal-Arroyo administration's latest slew of tax measures, including the value-added tax (VAT). "The government is turning against even the religious institutions and eyeing their assets while at the same time it's throwing lifelines and tax holidays to multinational and transnational corporations in the country," he said.

Beltran said that the Catholic church leadership and other leaders of religious groups and formations should speak out against the tax measures because they're victimizing Filipinos. He said that it was the government's indifference to the people's ever-worsening poverty that was pushing more and more Filipinos into lives of crime and degradation. "Who else do we have to blame for the steady and steep deterioration of morals and more important the quality of life of majority of Filipinos? If the government cannot provide employment, living wages, affordable health care and education, it's pushing its own constituencies to take desperate acts of crime," he said.

"The Church should speak out against this. More that just saving souls, the Church should actively advocate for saving the health and physical wellbeing of its flock which are being severely undermined by poverty," he said.

He said that the Church should not accept donations from big business groups and entities whom they know to be notorious tax evaders. "The Church should also speak out against tax evasion, but this massive theft is being shouldered by ordinary tax payers," he said.

The veteran labor leader said that many unscrupulous businessmen and corporation give huge sums to the Church and its charitable institutions not because they were generous and pious, "But because because they're using these donations as a means to get more tax discounts. Gifts to charity and the Church are generally non-taxable. It's yet another ruse for these big businesses to cut down on their tax payments," he said.

Finally, Beltran said that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) mmissioner Guillermo Parayno were following a very a flawed and twisted blueprint of tax collection. In order to lure foreign capital and investments, the government has offered various privileges such as tax holidays, duty free and tax free importation, zero tarrification and other fiscal perks and incentives. Revenue collections have also dropped from 16.9% in 1996 to 12.3% in 2003. Aside from the revenue shortfalls, these deregulation, liberalization and privatization programs have also caused the deaths of our local industries. But instead of subjecting these policies to review, the administration is revising other investment laws to make them more attractive to foreign investors. #


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