Workers light up torches to shine light against pending darkness of VAT approval

Workers today continued their fight against the imposition of an increase in the value added tax rate from the current 10% to 12%.

The APL held a torch parade from Rodriguez Ave after holding a public forum on VAT and then marched towards the Boy Scout Circle in Morato.

“We vehemently condemn the move of the government to impose additional tax measures, which will only further our miseries especially the poor who will now have to bleed more for every centavo they need to make a living as we are entrenched deeper into extreme poverty,” Josua Mata, Secretary General of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), said. “Unfortunately, with the senators-apologists of Malacañang actively campaigning for VAT, the Senate it seems is not doing a kinder version but a polished VAT measure that could be even worse than the House version,” Mata added.

Meanwhile, Edwin Bustillos, deputy secretary general of APL said, “The government loses around P40 billion in VAT revenues each year due to leakages. In 2004 alone, there was an estimated 59% collection gap in VAT, which clearly demonstrates that the problem still remains with tax collection and administration. So why not focus on that part of the problem?”

“The cost of living in Metro Manila alone is already somewhere north of P500, and continues to rise, therefore, a VAT rate increase will only end up being paid for by workers as this regressive tax finds its way to products that are socially sensitive,” Bustillos added.

APL staged a noise barrage to remind the public of the outrage that accompanied the proposal to increase the VAT rate, and that more people, they say, should express their disagreement with the policy.

The group vowed not to let this government get away with making its citizens and workers shell out more money to prop it up while the people don’t get what they deserve to get in return — a competent and transparent government.

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