EDITORIAL - Confused system of governance

The Freeman

The government should not fall for frivolous proposals that seek to grant tax exemptions to just about anybody who achieves something of note, such as that being pushed for newly-crowned Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. Such proposals are unfair to the anonymous and insignificant many who religiously pay through their noses one of the highest taxes in the universe.

It is bad enough that taxes are often not paid or not paid correctly and then stolen when they are, it is worse when others are taxed and others are not. Taxes are a burden that should be shared by everybody. If the government wants to show appreciation to anyone for a job well done, there is no shortage of the ways and means to do precisely that.

Besides, how can a government that unconscionably held up the immediate release of foreign emergency relief donations for Yolanda victims on account of unpaid taxes now be so careless and callous in reversing its position on the strict collection of taxes? If anything so badly needed to be exempted from taxes, it was those emergency relief donations, not the winning of some crown.

This proposal to exempt Wurtzbach from paying taxes on her winnings is a reflection in reverse of government's tendency to equate or place a monetary value on any achievement worthy of national pride. Rather than investing in globally competitive sports training programs, the government instead dangles cash rewards for gold medal finishes in the Olympics.

It is not the millions in cash rewards that can produce the Olympic gold that continues to elude the Philippines. It is the millions spent in training athletes that will. Any government can easily afford to waive off millions in taxes or heap the same in cash incentives. But there is a limit to the miracles that money can buy just as no amount can ever buy sincerity of appreciation.

The pride all Filipinos felt over Wurtzbach's winning the Miss Universe crown carries no price tag. And it will outlast the millions she might save if the plan to exempt her winnings from taxes gets carried out. She will forever carry that pride wherever she goes. It will remain with her long after the people who proposed the exemption even remember having made the proposal in the first place.

What the government truly needs to do is practice a little consistency, especially when it comes to monetary benefits for the people, whether individually or collectively. So far, the government has fared very badly when it comes to consistency.

People who really need a break in terms of pension benefits and salary hikes are being denied while those who need anything but money are being offered cash breaks or cash gifts. What a confused system of governance.












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