September 10, 2009 § 1 Comment
Do 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.