Can You Smile?
This week, I receive a text message from Atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino, the former Vice Governor of Aklan. The message is too humorous that I like to share with my readers.
Here, read it: “May robot nga gin obra sa Japan agod nga magdakop it mga manakaw. Pagkahuman, ginpadaea ro robot sa France ag nakadakop it kinsi (15) ka mga manakaw sa sueod it traynta (30) minutos. Ginpadaea eon man ro robot sa United States ag nakadakop it quarenta (40) ka manakaw sa sueod it daywang (2) oras. Pag halin sa America, gin padaea eon man ro robot sa Pilipinas. Pag abot it robot, sa sueod it daywang (2) minutos, tinakaw ro robot.”
Abaw! Mawra eot-a ka manakaw ro Pilipino? Sa Aklan, parti it Pilipinas, may manakaw man?
May sumabat, “idto mana sa Congress duro sanda”.
LOWER INCOME TAX
Senator Francis Escudero has urged President Aquino to send to Congress a legislation lowering personal income taxes or simply certify as urgent one of the pending proposals seeking to reduce the income tax rates.
According to Escudero, a “presidential certification will make the bill a priority measure and veto-proof.”
“The reality is that the input of the President is critical when it comes to tax measures. The lawmaking process stops at his desk. If he doesn’t like a bill, he won’t sign it. So if this is the reality, then it’s better to engage him,” Escudero said.
But Escudero added, “historically, measures which presidents send to Congress are not always written in stone”. “Congress can fine-tune, improve and make it better. But at the very least, legislators would know the sense of the Office of the President. It can serve as an input, and a major one at that,” Escudero said.
“More than the specifics of the bill, what is important is the President’s message to Congress that ‘I want this measure passed,” he said. “President Aquino should not let the opportunity pass to bring down one of the region’s highest individual income tax rates.”
“Years from now, when the President goes back to Times Street, he should not look back with regret that he squandered the opportunity to lower the income taxes to their compassionate levels, “ Escudero stressed.
The Philippines’ 32 percent tax bite on a monthly income of $1,100 (P51,491) at P46.81 exchange is one of the highest in the region. “And whatever left in the pay envelope when spent is subject to a 12-percent VAT,” Escudero added.
Escudero favors the lower tax rates, fewer brackets, simpler rules and faster process in personal income tax.
Escudero sponsored the measure that exempts minimum wage earners in the private and public sectors from income tax, and approved as Republic Act No. 9504. The law covers the basic pay, holiday pay, overtime pay, night shift differential and hazard pay received by minimum wage earners. Until 1997, a person who earned 300,000 pesos per year can easily purchase a car. Not anymore today. Wages and prices had tremendously increased.
“The VAT itself can capture the expenditure of a higher take-home pay. There is no need to increase the sales tax to offset any change in revenue collection resulting from the lowering of personal income taxes,” he said. “It’s no longer relief if what is deducted is soon recovered by a higher VAT,” Escudero believed.
The issue here, he explained, is to adjust the tax rates to reflect the erosion in purchasing power caused by inflation because the current one was arrived at 18 years ago when the average salaries were lower and prices of goods were cheaper.
SUBSTITUTE BILL TO BBL SAFEGUARDS FUND MISUSE
SENATE Bill 2894, the substitute proposal of Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. to the Malacañang-proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), contains strong safeguards against reckless appropriation and utilization of funds.
“The appropriations and use of funds that would be made by the Bangsamoro parliament shall be audited by the Commission on Audit (COA). Therefore, they will be held to the generally accepted practices of government accounting,” Marcos said.
Article 5 of SB 2894, or the “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” states that COA “shall establish an auditing unit in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region which will examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to the Bangsamoro Regional Government.”/MP