Tuesday, August 16, 2005

NR0816:SC should declare death penalty on VAT

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release August 16, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
cp number 09213907362 geocities.com/ap_news

Supreme Court should impose the Death Penalty on VAT; Moratorium on OPHs, suspension of Oil deregulation law urged

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today urged the Supreme Court to break the stalemate and declare Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 10-percent expanded value added tax law as uncostitutional and brutally inimical to the interest of the poor and working people. Beltran said that the High Court should step in and help settle the issue and expose the pretensions of Malacanang and its allies that they were worried about the impact of the VAT on the people. He said that the Supreme Court should declare the death penalty on the VAT.

“If Malacanang and its spokesperson on economic affairs Rep.Salceda are so worried about the VAT and how it will affect Filipinos, then they never should’ve passed the infamous law in the first place,” he said. “It’s not a deferment to the VAT implementation that the people want – it’s the law’s junking. Passing this law was a crime against all Filipinos and their children,” he said. “The Supreme Court should take not just legal arguments into consideration when analyzing the VAT, but more so the concrete and actual implications and impact of the VAT on the livelihood of the poor and working people already sorely whipped by the relentless oil price hikes and increases in prices of basic commodities.”

The veteran labor leader said that the VAT should not be implemented at all, nevermind what foreign creditors will say or think. “It’s appalling that Pres. Arroyo and her economic advisers and allies fear what foreign creditors would say instead of first thinking how Filipinos will suffer even greatly once the VAT is implemented,” he said. “All the more reason why Macapagal-Arroyo should be impeached and ousted from office. She should be removed from Malacanang and all her tax measures passed into law declared null and void. There is no way that Filipinos will be able to shoulder additional regressive taxes. The Arroyo administration is intent on turning all Filipinos into starving mendicants.”

In the meantime, Beltran demanded that the government must now suspend the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 8479 or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998 and impose a moratorium on oil price hikes (OPH). This even support for the law’s scrapping was gathering in Congress. “Mrs. Arroyo herself as already admitted that coping with escalating oil prices is now a matter of national survival. She is exposing her hypocrisy once more by not taking more decisive and concrete action against the OPHs. The only measure that could give considerable safeguard on the people and the economy right now is state intervention in pricing of petroleum products in the local market. Macapagal-Arroyo is challenged to exhaust all legal means to suspend RA 8479 and declare an OPH moratorium; otherwise her declarations of concern on the oil crisis are nothing but consummate lies and empty talk.”

Beltran said that the oil companies are fully capable of absorbing the impact of suspending the deregulation law and OPH moratorium amid sky-high global prices. Citing data from the independent think-tank IBON Foundation, oil companies have been overpricing the public in the past years, as they took advantage of automatic price hikes allowed under a deregulated regime. IBON reviewed the actual pump price movement from 2000 to 2004 and found out that oil products have been overpriced by a total of PhP3.68 per liter. This estimate is based on the monthly fluctuation in the price of benchmark Dubai crude and foreign exchange (FOREX) rate, and applied a corresponding weight on the impact of Dubai and FOREX on the pump price. This estimate is different from IBON estimates in the past where it used the old ‘rule of thumb’-- which was dismissed as “outdated” by oil companies and the Department of Energy, saying Dubai crude and the FOREX have already substantially increased over the years.#


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