Tag Archives: Value added tax

[Press Release] Trucks, Buses hold protest caravan in North Luzon Expressway against VAT on Toll fees and High Oil prices- PMT

Members of the militant transport group Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT), Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP) and National Council for Commuter Protection (NCCP) held a protest caravan along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) early Tuesday morning. More than 100 trucks, buses, jeepneys and private vehicles snarled traffic along the NLEX as protesters asked P-Noy to stop the imposition of the VAT on toll fees.

On October 1, 2011 toll fees rose by 12% as toll ways operators started collecting the value-added tax (VAT). This will inevitably result to a domino effect on prices of basic commodities and services. What makes it worse according to protesters is that the punishment will increase over time. Toll ways contracts allow for yearly increases in toll fees. This meant more VAT revenues for government at the expense of the people.

For Class 1 motorists (cars, jeepneys, vans and AUVs) of the NLEX are charged an additional P1-23; Class 2 (light trucks and buses) an additional P3-58 and Class 3 (trailers and large trucks) an additional P4-69 depending on entry/exit point. For the SLEX, Class 1 motorists are be charged up to an additional P10; Class 2 up to an additional P20 and Class 3 up to an additional P30. The SCTEX, STAR and Skyway toll fees increased similarly.

PMT Secretary General, Larry pascua exclaimed, “We already have our backs bent and bowls begging from the debilitating effects of exorbitant prices of petroleum products, power rates as well as high prices of basic commodities and services. Malacanang’s persistence in collecting VAT on toll shows its apathy and callousness to the plight of our overburdened people.”

Calls to stop the implementation from various sectors and other government officials fell on deaf ears as Malacanang insisted that it was left with no other choice but to collect the VAT after the Supreme Court lifted the Temporary Restraining Order and affirmed the legality of the VAT on toll. Government expects VAT revenues to increase by 2 billion pesos as result of this.

Pascua explained “It is not true that the SC decision ordered the Malacanang to collect the VAT. It merely declared legal the imposition of VAT but at the same time stated that “the exclusive discretion on the implementation of tax measures lies with executive department”. To us this meant that Malacanang in deciding to implement this tax measure must first put into consideration its effects on the people. Clearly, Noynoy chose revenues over the welfare of the people.”

Pascua reminded palace officials, “Malacanang’s primary duty is to serve and protect the people. With this, Noynoy has revealed his true nature. He is no different from his predecessors. His “tuwid na daan” is a farce. He has opted to stand against the welfare of the people and genuine development. We will continue with protest actions until we have a government that puts the interest and welfare of the Filipino at the forefront of its programs.”

October 11, 2011
Dante Lagman, PMT President

[In the mews] Palace: VAT proceeds to be used for better social services – www.philstar.com

Palace: VAT proceeds to be used for better social services
By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – Amid public outcry over the imposition of the value-added tax (VAT) on toll yesterday, Malacañang tried to console the public by saying the funds would be used for better social services.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte reiterated over state radio dzRB that the VAT on toll was contained in a Supreme Court decision that the executive branch was bound to implement.

“Our commitment here is, according to our computation, the impact on goods and services will be very minimal and we will be watching those who will be increasing their prices beyond the computations that we have set,” Valte said.

“So we will not hesitate to go after those who will abuse and use the excuse of the VAT on toll to unduly increase their prices,” she said.

Valte said the government needed the additional revenues for social services and certainly, “we will make the people feel where their taxes are going.”

“We will ensure that these (taxes) will not go to where it is not supposed to go, that these are utilized properly. If you can see, the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) has taken every pain and every effort to make sure that public funds are spent wisely,” Valte said.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

[Statement] On the creation of DOTC-DOE-DOJ task force: Government action or ploy? – PMT

Reacting to the nationwide protest actions spearheaded by transport groups held Monday, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas announced the creation of a tri-agency task force to look into the pricing scheme of oil companies to determine if there is truth to suspicions they work as a cartel to control prices of oil in the country. Along with the Justice and Energy department, the task force will investigate complaints of overpricing and determine if price increases were just and reasonable.

“We find this announcement very suspicious. Was it meant to address the grievance raised by transport workers on oil prices or just another ploy to deceive us and the public?” said Dante Lagman, President of militant transport group Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT).

On September 14, 2011, the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT) filed a complaint with the DOJ. They want oil companies, particularly the Big 3 (Petron, Shell and Caltex), to be prosecuted and penalized for collusion, overpricing and price manipulation.

“In our complaint, we asked the DOE-DOJ task force to act within the 30 day mandatory period. This task force is a mechanism created by the Oil Deregulation Law (ODL) to check abuses by oil companies, contrary to claims by government that they are powerless against patently unfair and unreasonable oil price increases. The wisdom of the 30 day period guarantees swift and decisive action to arrest the exploitative nature of the oil oligopoly. It’s just that this remedy was never exercised. Government opted to protect the interest of oil companies over the masses.” stressed Lagman.

“We fear that the tri-agency of Roxas aims to once again circumvent the law.It is a ploy to let the masses think that PNoy administration is doing something to solve the problems of the country. Worse, it will rule in favor of the oil companies and proclaim that deregulation can still work.”

“The PNoy administration should stop being an accomplice to unjust profiteering by oil companies. It should instead listen to the demands of its people – substantial roll back of petroleum prices, punish oil companies, remove the VAT and repeal the Oil Deregulation Law.” concluded Lagman.

PagkakaisangManggagawasaTransportasyon (PMT)
Dante Lagman

[Press Release] Which is worse? The inability to paralyze transport or government inaction to the pleas of the people? – PMT

A question for MMDA Chairman Tolentino and Spokeperson Lacierda:

Which is worse? The inability to paralyze transport
or government inaction to the pleas of the people?

Palace spokesperson Lacierda and MMDA Chairman Tolentino are in a chorus. They say that the so-called transport strike was a “dud” because it failed to paralyze transport in the country.

But which is worse? The failure to paralyze transport? Or government failure to address spiraling oil prices and its paralysis on the people’s demand for oil regulation, a bigger and substantial rollback, and the removal of VAT on petroleum products?

Infinitely much worse is a government that is a willing and able accomplice to unjust and immoral profiteering by the oil industry. A government, which does not lift a finger to bring down oil prices because it collects more taxes, through VAT, in as much as prices increase in a deregulated market.

Was the recent “transport strike” a success or a failure? How do we measure a success of a strike (be it in transportation or in factories)? First, a strike must be able to paralyze the operations of a business. Second, as a consequence of the stoppage in the circulation of capital, the management gives in to the demands of the strikers, which could either be a partial or full concession to them.

Using these two conditions, we could say that the so-called “strike” was a failure. Even before September 19, the PMT knew that organized groups in the transport sector have not mustered enough strength and conviction to paralyze transport. In so doing, we called for a nationwide protest, not a strike, for the regulation and control of the oil industry.

This “mistake” of PISTON and Mateo is not a costly one; and could be justified. They probably used the term “transport strike”, more for propaganda than an actual call to paralyze transport, in order to highlight a just and moral demand that needs more attention in the mainstream media.

However, we openly declare that the so-called “transport strike” was a success. It popularized, on a nationwide scale, the demand to remove VAT on oil prices and to control oil prices. Because even the commuting public viewed the protests not as a nuisance but a legitimate expression of their discontent and disgust against the scandalous profiteering by oil companies.

Hence, we view the nationwide protest as a “break in”, a warm-up for an actual paralysis of transport in the coming period. More so, because oil companies had the gall to grant a pittance after today’s protest.A mere twenty centavo (P.20) per litter rollback, which further stokes the discontent of the Filipino people.

Along with Lacierda and Tolentino, the oil oligarchs are provoking the people to rebel against the system. However we will not pursue an “inciting to sedition” case against them. If they would continue to ignore the people’s desperate plea to control oil prices, they would have their day and we will give them want they want! #

Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT)
Dante Lagman

[Press Release] CWS supports the people’s protest vs. oil price increases

The Church People-Workers’ Solidarity (CWS) calls on government to listen to the demands of the transport and other groups launching a transport strike against high oil price increases, saying that the people have a right to protest, “to participate in social and economic life” and to work for the common good (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 333).

Quoting the  Church’s social teachings,  Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, one of the convenors of CWS said that “governments must work for the realization of the common good. It has also the duty to protect the rights of all its people, and particularly of its weaker members, the workers, women and children. (Blessed John XXIII’s Mater
et Magistra, # 20)”

“Oil price has increased more than 20 times since January 2011, and this is causing added burden not only to drivers and operators but to workers, peasants, fisherfolks, and their families.”

Transport groups are calling for P9.00 per liter rollback of price of all oil products, as overpricing in oil prices since last year has reportedly reached to P9.00 per liter as a result of the monopoly of the Big 3 (Shell, Petron and Caltex) and the government’s deregulation

“In a situation where workers receive very little wages, the unabated oil price hikes erode the value of our workers’ income since prices of basic commodities also shoot up. The effect is far worse for workers whose jobs and income are both irregular.”

Ibon, an independent research institution, says that increases in oil prices are driving inflation.

Bishop Alminaza is also concerned of reports that both oil companies and the Philippine government are raking in billions in profits and revenues at the expense of the ordinary consumers.

According to Ibon Foundation, the profits of the oil firms since 2001 have  totaled to P141.7 B in 2010.

The Philippine government has also been getting revenues of P48 billion pesos annually or a total of P239.6 B in the last five years due to the 12% VAT on oil, according to a study by Ibon.

“Profit at the expense of the poor is immoral and unjust. The Church is very clear in its teachings that the well-being of our toiling brothers and sisters should come first before profit. Government must regulate oil industry  to moderate the greed of private oil firms.
The welfare of the majority must be prioritized,” Alminaza added.

Alminaza said the government must heed the calls for the review of the oil deregulation policy and for the removal of VAT on oil products.

A legitimate strike

Meanwhile, Garry Martinez, spokesperson of the CWS, also reacted to the threat of Malacañang and PNP that they will arrest  those who will join the transport strike.

“The transport strike is a lawful exercise of a constitutional right to freedom of expression and of assembly. It is a legitimate form of action of the people, so that those in power will be able to listen to the people’s demands,” Martinez said.

“The Aquino administration must show the political will to stop the big oil companies from imposing unreasonable prices.  The proposed extension of pantawid pasada program (PPP) which Aquino promised to prevent transport groups from staging the strike is not the solution. The PPP budget of P450 million is not even 1% of the government’s annual revenue from VAT on oil. The transport sector together with the people must be firm in its calls to rollback oil prices, to end the control of the oil cartel and remove VAT on oil.”###

Bp. Gerardo Alminaza, Convenor CWS
Gary Martinez, Spokesperson CWS, 0939-3914418