Rebolusyon! Labanan ang Tax on Text!

September 10, 2009

Joey de Venecia IIIMga kapatid, alam ninyo bang me panukalang batas ngayon itong si Speaker Prospero Nograles pati na itong si Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez na patawan ng buwis ang bawat text natin? Itong dalawang karakter na ito, na nagpasasa sa ating mga pera dun sa multi-milyong hapunan sa Washington at New York ay nagpapanukala ng isang batas na tiyak na lulusaw na naman sa pinaghirapan nating pera.

Para kay Joey de Venecia III, isang businessman at Susan “Toots” Ople, tagapagtaguyod ng mga kapakanan ng mga Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), kalabisan na ito at harapang nakawan at kagahaman.

Ayon sa House-approved measure papatawan ng  five centavo excise tax ang bawat text, picture, video or audio clip sent through mobile phones is uncalled for.

“While proponents of the bill such as Speaker Prospero Nograles say the tax will not be passed on to consumers, it does not provide such a guarantee,” according to de Venecia. “Why pass this burden on to consumers? Why not just improve tax collection efforts and eradicate graft and corruption in government?” he asked.

House Bill 6625 removes the “no pass on provision” of the original bill authored by Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson. This means that the telecoms companies would be allowed to pass on to consumers the new tax. The government, meanwhile, is expected to add an additional P20 billion to P36 billion to its coffers. The Philippines is known as the texting capital of the world owing to the Filipinos’ inherent need to constantly keep in touch with their friends and loved ones.

Between the three major players Globe, Smart and Sun, nearly 40 million cellphone owners nationwide send 2 billion text messages a day. “Texting is a small luxury enjoyed by most Filipinos. The tax approved by the House majority will affect nearly all Filipinos,” de Venecia said.

Additional taxes is not the solution to the country’s very serious problem with graft and corruption, he added. The Geneva-based World Economic Forum very recently said that the country’s perennial problems of corruption, inefficient government bureaucracy and inadequate infrastructure were the main reasons given for the further decline in the country’s competitiveness ranking. This is what the government should address, said de Venecia. Nograles errs when he says the telecoms companies can easily bear the tax burden since the actual cost of short messaging service is very low, according to de Venecia. Capital expenditures of the telcos is in the billions and is constant in order to keep up with constantly evolving technologies, he added. IT-based businessman de Venecia is a pioneer of broadband technology in Asia and helped establish the Philippine call center industry. He became a national figure when he acted as whistleblower of the now infamous ZTE-national broadband network scam whereby an inferior P16-billion broadband network would have been installed with billions of pesos in kickbacks going to the pockets of powerful figures in the Arroyo administration.

susantootsopleSusan “Toots” Ople, whatever fiscal reforms should wait until 2010 and should be of the national vision and economic strategy of the next administration. Para kay Ate Toots, kailangang palakasin muna ng pamahalaan ang tax collection at huwag ipasa sa sambayanan ang kakulangan nito sa koleksyon..

“Ilang milyong OFW ang maapektuhan sa batas na ito na wala namang pupuntahan kundi sa korupsyon.” ayon kay Ople.


Time for Plots and Counter-Plots

November 26, 2008

As I am writing this, I received information that Gloria’s men are meeting in a secluded place in Malacanang and plotting for their next move. With the impeachment complaint squashed, the palace political operator is reportedly plotting to oust ex-Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. The ouster of JDV will be made in a political caucus by Lakas members. Former palace legal counsel Sergio Apostol is allegedly the one tasked to cut JDV’s head.

I think this plot will just be a counter-plot since it will just anticipate the expected bolt of the JDV-FVR faction in Lakas to coalesce with Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party and Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco’s Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). Sources say there is already an understanding between FVR and Cojuangco while FVR’s group reportedly is almost close to talks with Villar’s. Meaning, Lakas is just trying to mitigate the effects of a formal split, since obviously, Malacanang, for the longest time, has been trying to marginalize both JDV and FVR.

A split within Lakas will definitely affect the strength and stability of the entire “rainbow coalition” at the House. It would impact particularly on KAMPI, since majority of its members are former Lakas stalwarts. If JDV and FVR succeeds in coalescing with Danding and Villar, the possibility of another party raid within Kampi-Lakas is huge given that JDV and FVR still commands respect among the old guards of Lakas. In practical terms, with Danding and Villar united, this sends a message to Congressmen that the gravy train has shifted from Gloria to again, the JDV-FVR tandem.

JDV’s marginalization will all be done immediately after the AFP attack on Camp Bushra of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Reports say, the AFP brass is preparing for an outright assault on Bushra this December. JDV’s ouster from Lakas will coincide with this military assault.

By the way, Joey de Venecia the Third, who I find to be a very serious Nationalist, sent me his statement stating his opinions on the killing of his impeachment complaint. This is what he has to say:

STATEMENT OF JOEY DE VENECIA III
DISMISSAL OF IMPEACHMENT CASE
DUE TO INSUFFICIENCY OF SUBSTANCE
November 26, 2008

This is a sad day not only for us the complainants and the minority lawmakers, but more so for the Filipino people. Our right to take President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to task has again been taken away from us.
As our minority lawmakers have said repeatedly, this process is a way to let government show the transparency that the Constitution mandates.
The impeachment process is the proper and legal forum to let the people know what is happening and to allow the government and its officials to explain themselves.
It appears that the government would rather that the people take its grievances to the street than offer them a decent and legal forum.
The House Justice Committee might have stopped the impeachment complaint but I assure everyone that the Committee cannot stop us from airing our grievances and allegations in any and all other forums available to us.
We will bring this case straight to the people. We will go to them and talk to them. We will put out into the open what the government would rather keep under the cloak of darkness.
I give my utmost appreciation to all those who supported us in any way. I thank the Filipino people for their sentiments and their prayers.
We will not keep quiet. The fight in the halls of Congress may be over but the real fight for truth and justice goes on.