Tax exemptions for
the working class, not for local capitalists and foreign monopolies
By Bukluran ng Manggagawang
September 20, 2015
QUEZON CITY – A militant
labor group is calling on organized labor to rally behind the proposed
measures by Rep. Quimbo and Sen. Angara that would raise the ceiling
of tax exemptions. Angara’s bill, in particular, aims to exempt
monthly incomes of below P88,000 from tax obligations.
The Bukluran ng Manggagawang
Pilipino (BMP) argued that, “The proposed tax exemption would result
into the much-needed increase in take-home pay for wage and salaried
workers who earn more than the atrociously-low minimum wage and are
not covered by the orders of the regional wage boards since their
creation in 1989. But more importantly, it is the height of injustice
that the Philippine government could afford billions in tax breaks and
incentives to foreign multinational monopolies – as cited by Sen.
Angara and Rep. Neri Colmenares”.
They likewise complained
that despite obvious bias of the Aquino administration, “it has the
gall to complain of the P30 billion that would be reduced from the
nation’s coffers due to the Angara-Quimbo bill – as alleged by the
“The proposals would not
cause a big loss in the tax base for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
since the increase in take-home pay will spur consumption and increase
the collections for the value-added tax,” Leody De Guzman, chairperson
of BMP disputed.
He further explained that,
“The proposal is a step towards the reform of the present regressive
taxation system, which operates under the principle: “those should who
have less in life should have more in taxes”. At its present
structure, the tax burden is borne more by workers whose wages have
automatic deductions for withholding taxes than by corporations that
have access to various legal means of tax avoidance both to their
corporate incomes and properties – contrary to the Constitutional
policy for a “progressive taxation system”.
The militants believe that
the workers deserve a reprieve from almost six years of hardship under
the neoliberal and elitist regime of Noynoy Aquino.
De Guzman pointed out that,
“Despite its anti-corruption rhetoric, which is but a pretense to
attack its rivals in the political opposition, public funds are still
use to enrich those who are in power. As long as billions of state
funds are lost to corruption, taxpayers – especially the working class
who are the most tax-compliant sector of Philippine society – have
every right and reason to call for less taxes, or even for a tax
“From whence do all taxes
come from? It is from the collective toil of millions of workers. Yes,
all taxes, in general. Not just the deductions for withholding taxes
to already starvation wages but also taxes to corporate income and
property as well. In the production of goods and services being bought
and sold at the market, workers create not just the commodity but also
its value. They add to the existing value of materials and tools used.
This “value-added” is the well-spring of wages, profit, rent, interest
– all of which are subject to tax. Hence, wages should be tax-exempt
not just because it is below the Constitutionally-mandated living
wage. More so, since the taxes paid by employers, bankers, and
landlords come from the surplus value that was created by labor but
unpaid by capital,” he continued.
“But lest we be charged of
rescinding from our obligations to the national interest, labor must
declare that it has no obligation to fund a capitalist state that is
not only a coercive watchdog of the propertied elite but also as an
absentee government that has abandoned the needs of its own citizenry
to serve the local oligarchs and their foreign masters through its
pursuit of the policies of liberalization, deregulation,
privatization, and contractualization. Tax the rich, not the poor!”
the veteran labor leader concluded.