By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today
A day after putative Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas rejected proposals to cut personal and corporate income taxes, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. slammed the Aquino administration for refusing to extend tax relief to the people despite its failure to deliver basic services.
“The tendency of this government is to collect and collect. It can’t be ‘tax pa more’[even more taxes] all the time.” Marcos told more than a thousand students at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in San Fernando City in La Union.
“What is more important is ‘public service pa more’,” the senator said, noting that Filipinos already pay the highest personal and corporate income taxes in Asia.
Under the National Internal Revenue Code, annual income of more than P500,000 is taxed by the maximum rate of 32 percent. The group said this is high when compared with some other Asean countries.
In peso terms, Marcos noted that Indonesia taxes a 30 percent for yearly income of more than P1.6 million while Malaysia gets 25 percent of income more than P4.3 million. Singapore has the lowest rate of 20 percent for those earning over P10.6 million in a year.
While Vietnam and Thailand charge 35 percent, that rate applies only to those who earn from P2 million and P5.2 million.
The Philippines is also the highest in corporate tax rates with 30 percent compared to the 25 percent of Indonesia and Malaysia, 22 percent of Vietnam, 20 percent of Thailand and 17 percent of Singapore.
“[But] the people in these countries are not complaining because the roads and highways are adequate, school buildings and classrooms are sufficient, there is peace and order, and all the other basic services are being enjoyed,” Marcos said.
The situation is different in the Philippines because while the people are paying high taxes, government services hardly reach taxpayers, Marcos said.
“I fully support the lowering of income tax. What’s the rationale behind collecting too much tax when the government doesn’t know when and where to spend it?” he said, adding that the Commission on Audit itself reported that of the P2.72-trillion national budget for 2014, at least P763.84 billion was unspent.
Marcos’ cousin, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, belied the Aquino administration’s claim that income tax cuts will result in P30-billion annual revenue losses because the government may in fact gain P44 billion more from two new revenue sources.
“The truth is, the government will gain the most because the projected P30-billion revenue losses can be augmented by other sources of income plus extending compassion to our ordinary workers,” he said.
The House Committee on Ways and Means said that the government would generate a combined P44-billion new income from the P13-billion tax after the P50.6-billion Salary Standardization Law IV is implemented next year and the P33 billion from the pro-health measure seeking the imposition of a 10-percent ad valorem tax on soft drinks and all sweetened beverages.
“If the government will focus on apprehending big time smugglers, the possible loss of income as an offshoot of lowering income taxes will be addressed,” said Romualdez.
The congressman urged his colleagues to pass a bill that seeks to lower personal income and corporate tax rates, despite Aquino’s declared rejection of the measure.
“As lawmakers, we should pass laws to help ordinary workers and give the final decision to the President. Right now, let us show our compassion to workers,” stressed Romualdez.