The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) condemns the brutal dispersal of the peaceful protest of the people going to Malacañang to denounce the start of the imposition of a 2% hike in the E-VAT rate from the current 10%. Without any provocation, the anti-riot police begun smacking mercilessly the protesters with their batons leaving many injured while some are arrested and put to jail.
“The dispersal only manifests that the government will not hesitate to use force and suppress the legitimate rights of the people to impose its will against our interests,” said APL Secretary-General Josua Mata.
“To claim that the additional tax burden will benefit the working class is a scandal,” said APL Secretary-General Josua Mata. “But to impose it on workers who are already reeling from massive unemployment and low wages amidst a regime of rising cost of living is a crime,” he added
From the very start, the APL opposed the E-VAT not only because it is regressive but also because it would lead to the contraction of the economy, as new taxes collected will only end up being leaked abroad in the form of onerous debt payments. Needless to say, a contraction of the economy would lead to a worsening of the jobs crisis.
The APL has always contended that any solution to the fiscal crisis should not be at the expense of solving the jobs crisis. Studies revealed that increasing tariffs and cutting debt payments would have been the better solution. Higher tariffs not only protect jobs, but it also increases government revenues.
“Rather than lift us up from economic stagnation as the government claims, the increase in E-VAT together with increasing oil prices, could be a potential recipe for an economic downturn which would surely harm the working people,” Mata said.
Even the new foreign investments that the government claims E-VAT would encourage remains to be seen. That is hardly surprising as no foreign investor in his/her right mind would dare come in while the political crisis linger.
“At the very core of this government is an unresolved question of legitimacy, thus it is highly immoral for GMA to keep asking poor Filipinos to shell out even more money to pay up for goods and services government that should be providing in the first place, such as electricity and water,” explained Mata.
The APL believes that the E-VAT would not be repealed while Arroyo is in power as she depends on the amount it would generate to keep congressmen and local government officials loyal to her through the pork barrel and other allocations.
“Thus the only way the working people can get rid of E-VAT is by getting rid of the Arroyo Regime,” Mata said.