P8-B VAT subsidy a ‘grand deception’


By Katherine Adraneda
Thursday, July 24, 2008

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Kontra-KulimVAT, a nationwide campaign initiated by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said the administration’s Katas ng VAT Program is “a grand deception” because in reality, the subsidy scheme merely earmarks P8 billion, or a scant 11 percent of the total projected VAT on oil collection by the government, which was estimated to reach at least P74 billion by end of 2008.

“It’s like for every peso that the government gives back to the people (through subsidies), the government amasses P9 from the VAT on oil,” noted Renato Reyes Jr., secretary-general of Bayan.

“It’s like one for you and nine for me, which is really a grand deception. The Katas ng VAT Program to supposedly mitigate the impact on the poor of the raging oil price crisis is only a sheer gimmick by the Arroyo administration,” Reyes said.

According to Arnold Padilla, spokesperson for Kontra-KulimVAT, the imposition of VAT was not actually meant to raise money for social services but to generate revenues to assure the government’s foreign creditors.

Highlighting the P8-billion fund for programs on subsidies, as opposed to the more than P66-billion VAT on oil that the government stands to collect and retain in its coffers, Padilla stressed that the Katas ng VAT is truly intended to benefit the administration more than the public.

“Clearly, the VAT is not helping the people as claimed by (President) Arroyo. It is an unjustifiable burden being imposed by a callous regime,” Padilla said.

At this point, the militants insisted that canceling the VAT on oil remains the best option to ensure a more significant impact on the people.

Padilla said that if VAT on oil is removed, a family of a jeepney driver would have an estimated P212 increase in his daily income, as he would no longer pay for the VAT imposed on diesel.

He insisted that such benefit is direct and would be felt immediately as compared to the microfinance program that President Arroyo is pushing for the wives of jeepney drivers.(PStar)

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