Tax on Text Labanan!

September 10, 2009 § 1 Comment

Joey de Venecia IIIDo you know that Congress, led by Speaker Prospero Nograles and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez are leading the charge to tax us on every text we send to our friends? For businessman Joey de Venecia III and OFW crusader Susan “Toot’s Ople, that’s too much.

For Joey, the House-approved measure imposing a five centavo excise tax on every text, picture, video or audio clip sent through mobile phones is uncalled for. “While proponents of the bill such as Speaker Prospero Nograles say the tax will not be passed on to consumers, it does not provide such a guarantee,” according to de Venecia.

“Why pass this burden on to consumers? Why not just improve tax collection efforts and eradicate graft and corruption in government?” he asked.

House Bill 6625 removes the “no pass on provision” of the original bill authored by Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson. This means that the telecoms companies would be allowed to pass on to consumers the new tax. The government, meanwhile, is expected to add an additional P20 billion to P36 billion to its coffers.

The Philippines is known as the texting capital of the world owing to the Filipinos’ inherent need to constantly keep in touch with their friends and loved ones. Between the three major players Globe, Smart and Sun, nearly 40 million cellphone owners nationwide send 2 billion text messages a day. “Texting is a small luxury enjoyed by most Filipinos. The tax approved by the House majority will affect nearly all Filipinos,” de Venecia said.

Additional taxes is not the solution to the country’s very serious problem with graft and corruption, he added. The Geneva-based World Economic Forum very recently said that the country’s perennial problems of corruption, inefficient government bureaucracy and inadequate infrastructure were the main reasons given for the further decline in the country’s competitiveness ranking.

This is what the government should address, said de Venecia.

Nograles errs when he says the telecoms companies can easily bear the tax burden since the actual cost of short messaging service is very low, according to de Venecia. Capital expenditures of the telcos is in the billions and is constant in order to keep up with constantly evolving technologies, he added.

IT-based businessman de Venecia is a pioneer of broadband technology in Asia and helped establish the Philippine call center industry.

He became a national figure when he acted as whistleblower of the now infamous ZTE-national broadband network scam whereby an inferior P16-billion broadband network would have been installed with billions of pesos in kickbacks going to the pockets of powerful figures in the Arroyo administration.


Senator Richard Gordon knots ZTE-NBN deal

August 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the powerful Senate Blue Ribbon Committee already concluded that the mothballed ZTE-NBN deal is not a mom and pop operations. No. For him, it’s a father and son caper. That’s how Gordon sees it.

Never mind if there’s a photo of the First Gentleman Mike Arroyo with his wife Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with ZTE officials at Shenzhen Golf and Country Club. Nothing wrong when the First Gentleman met ZTE officials and project proponent Joey de Venecia III and uttered those infamous “back off” threats as nothing sort of an everyday expression from his friend.

Nothing wrong when Joey de Venecia III spilt the beans to the “most corrupt government project of all time” which was worth P 16 billion pesos, with a few billions thrown in good measure to Abalos, Neri and Mike Arroyo. Of course, Gordon saw nothing wrong when the President left for China while her husband lay sick in bed only to witness the contract signing of ZTE officials with DOTC officials, led by Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

And probably, Gordon would just flash his toothy smile and wink when he is reminded of that debacle in China, when DOTC officials reportedly lost the only signed copy of the deal. Of course, for Gordon, it is too presumptious for colleague and former Blue Ribbons chair Alan Peter Cayetano to say that the deal stinks as high up as the First Couple.

And obviously, Gordon saw nothing wrong when Mrs. Arroyo’s met with former NEDA chief Romulo Neri and told him to “just accept the money and approve the deal.” Or that infamous meeting between Jun Lozada and the First Gentleman when Lozada reminded everyone to “moderate the greed” because this could blow them all over. ” Bubukol ito, ” for Gordon, probably meant a description of the First Gentleman’s big tummy.

I’m beginning to think that the reason why Gordon wants to be chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee is he wants to ingratiate himself with the First Family. Is he serving as the First Couple’s hatchet man or he’s just being himself? I remember a few years ago when the Americans were still running Clark and Subic.

When cases of abuses were filed against American servicemen, Gordon saw nothing wrong with the accused safely inside the bases facility and waited for days before the cases were dismissed. Gordon saw nothing wrong with protecting the Americans rather than those comfort girls in those Zambales honky tonks. And of course, Gordon found nothing wrong when he showed the world how he wept unabashedly in public while his fellow Americans left our shores.

Gordon also saw nothing wrong with Americans spraying dirty water to Gordon’s fellow Filipinos protesting in Subic. Gordon even saw those protestors as “monkeys”, just like what those WASPs think of us.

So, I’m not really surprised that Gordon wants to crucify the whistleblowers than the masterminds. Or Gordon is doing it because Joey de Venecia stands to get his seat in the senatorial elections?

Or, probably, that was the concession Gordon got because America and his friends, Mrs. Arroyo already agreed to revive the Clark and Subic bases and Gordon wants nothing sort of getting his old post back? Or, Gordon really saw nothing wrong with his logic.

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