Taxes, inflation, and Cebu City CLUP

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Pay your taxes.

Last Tuesday, Marcos Jr. reminded Filipinos to pay their taxes on time.


How dare he ask the Filipinos to pay their taxes on time when he and his family have not at all paid their taxes on time?

The Filipinos are asking instead: what about the Marcos unpaid estate tax of more than P203 billion?

Why did Marcos Jr. and family not pay this tax on time? Why have Marcos Jr. and family not paid this huge estate tax at all?

If the Marcoses did pay their more than P203 billion estate tax, how much do you think this amount will help the Philippine economy and our people?

Marcos Jr. can even use this P203 billion to jumpstart his favorite Maharlika Fund!

And again, he dare ask Filipinos to pay their taxes on time so they can help the Philippine economy?

Should he not lead by example? Shouldn’t he first recognize his moral/civic obligation to pay taxes before asking the struggling Filipinos to pay their taxes on time?

Millions of wage earning Filipinos have been paying their taxes on time. They have no choice. Their taxes are automatically deducted from their monthly salaries as mandated by law.

The Marcoses have the capacity to pay unlike many Filipinos who continue to struggle daily for their subsistence.

Yet Marcos Jr. and family continue not to pay instead.

 The P203 billion or more unpaid taxes are also just a drop in the Marcos’ accounts stashed in Swiss banks and elsewhere.

So why not pay now/immediately and lead by example?

How can the BIR compel the Filipino people to pay when they cannot even compel Marcos Jr. and family to pay their huge unpaid estate tax?

Will Filipinos protest about taxes/inflation/high prices soon, during this month of February, the month Marcos Sr. was toppled from his dictatorship by Filipino people power?

Marcos Jr.’s timing for asking the Filipino people to pay their taxes was off.

His call came at the same time the news reported that the nation’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 8.7% in January, higher than the 7.7% forecast in a Reuters poll and topping the 8.1% rate in December.

Pay taxes? Most Filipinos can hardly meet their daily subsistence needs!

Interviewed in public markets/groceries, many Filipinos lament the reality that their peso can now buy fewer items.

Instead of buying fish, they are now shifting to cheaper bagoong. Many can no longer afford more expensive basic items like sardines/milk/others.

Diesel and gas prices may have dropped this week. Public drivers are happy, of course, but at the same time, they are wary that government will once again raise gas prices in the coming weeks!

If those who are earning are hard up now, how much more those who are jobless? Expect the statistics about the hungry and poor to rise as well.

Rather than expensive, unnecessary trips abroad, why does not Marcos Jr. instead save/use//prioritize public funds immediately to respond to inflation and urgent needs of the hungry and poor now?

In Cebu, Pagtambayayong Foundation, led by Bimbo Fernandez, shared a copy of a position paper drawn from consultations with multisectoral partners about Cebu City’s proposed Comprehensive Land Use Program (CLUP) which highlighted:

1) Lack of genuine and comprehensive stakeholder consultations in the drafting of the proposed CLUP

2) Tight/unreasonable submission deadline for reactions to incomplete CLUP copy provided (received February 4 with February 8 deadline), and,

3) Twelve-point proposals raised about the CLUP’s vision/mission/process and contents to include comparative review of previous CLUPs/ climate change/disaster management/social housing/watersheds/organic farming/informal sector/waste management/coastal greenbelt zones/other sustainable development goals for better protection of people and planet.

Any proposed CLUP should be inclusive/consultative/participatory, data-based,

responsive to immediate/ prospective needs of people/economy/environment.

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