30 September 2017


Youth disowns support for Angara bill on tax reform


Members of the Youth for Sin Tax and Student Advocates to Reform Tax (START) Now! reject the substitute bill on tax reform authored by Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Sen. Sonny Angara because of compromises in the reforms and significant reduction by more than half the target in revenues.


They also withdraw their support from Angara, saying health, education, other social services, and infrastructure will surely suffer because of lack funds.


Angara who is up for re-election in 2019 cut the target increase in petroleum tax, retained most of the exemptions in value added tax (VAT) and lessened the personal income tax discount of low income and wage earners.


“It is unfortunate that Sen. Angara chose to deny our low income earners with the personal income tax relief promised by the reform. Even more sadly, Sen. Angara imposed the position of the petroleum industry when minimal tax increase was imposed on fuel products and retained the exemptions in value added tax, again to accommodate the interests of industries covered by these exemptions,” explained Rio Dayao, one of the leaders of START and Youth for Sin Tax.


According to the study of Action for Economic Reforms (AER), the government’s target revenues of PhP 74.8 billion on the first year will suffer a large cut in the Angara bill. For fuel tax alone, the expected revenues of PhP 73.7 billion will slide down to PhP 40 billion only.


“For our students, we are already looking forward to hiring of more teachers and the corresponding building of classrooms, desks and learning materials for our fellow youth in remote areas who been long denied of this basic social service. With the limited money raised by the Angara bill, we are alarmed that we may not be able to achieve the target 100% enrollment rate,” Dayao said.


In a statement released to the media today, the youth groups expressed alarm over Angara’s insertion of provisions that will abet tax avoidance and tax evasion, citing the inclusion of “services rendered to entities registered with the special economic zones and freeport zones authority will benefit from a zero percent rate.”


The elder Angara, former Sen. Edgardo Angara was the author of Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport which critics have called Angara’s Private Economic Zone and Freeport. The Angaras hailed from this northeastern tip province in Luzon. (END)