Go after smugglers or use presidential pork barrel, but don’t tax text messages – binay

PRESS RELEASE
11 September 2009
REF.: MAKATI ICRD, 8998938

Rather than impose a tax on text messages that will surely be passed on to the public, Malacañang should instead improve its campaign against smuggling, Mayor Jejomar C. Binay said today.

Binay added Malacañang could also tap Mrs. Arroyo’s billions in presidential pork barrel funds if it sincerely wants to improve the state of education.

“Malacañang is taking the easy route by taxing text messages, but by doing so it is again displaying insensitivity and disregard to public welfare,” he said.

Binay said rather than consider taxing text messages, Malacañang should compel revenue collecting agencies to go after smugglers and plug loopholes in tax collection.

He cited figures showing that some P130 billion has been lost to smuggling.

“The revenue lost to smuggling and to loopholes in tax collection would be enough to meet the goal of improving the state of education, which has been cited as the objective behind the tax on text messages,” he said.

Binay added that Mrs. Arroyo’s presidential pork barrel alone, if properly and judiciously used, would also provide the needed funds for education.

“Mrs. Arroyo enjoys billions in pork barrel funds. Why not do the right thing for once and use it to improve basic services like education instead of using the funds to buy political support?” he said.

Binay said Mrs. Arroyo was allotted P835.97-billion in pork barrel funds for this year. He had asked Malacañang to disclose the total amount of presidential pork in the proposed budget for 2010.

Malacañang had said it was backing a move in Congress to impose a tax on text messages. Authors of the bill said proceeds from the tax, already being criticized by consumer groups, will be used to improve education facilities.

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