MANILA, Philippines – Urban poor groups coalition Koalisyon Kontra Buwis-it (KKB) on Friday called on President Benigno Aquino not to sign the sin tax bill, to reform the current tax system and stop impending new taxes which they believe are disadvantageous to the poor.
"Bakit ang husay nila mangolekta sa mahihirap pero sa mga may kaya hindi," said Leody De Guzman, convenor of KKB.
"Di kami naniniwala na ang punto ng sin tax ay sa health."
The group believes the government is using "public health" as a ruse to make the sin tax more acceptable.
De Guzman said the P60 billion projected income from the sin tax only shows that the government does not believe people will stop smoking.
During a press conference in Quezon City, the urban poor groups wore Santa Claus hats together with a Santa Claus mascot as a symbolic statement to the government to give the tax reform as a gift for the Christmas season.
They sang "Buwis na Naman" to the tune of "Pasko na Naman".
De Guzman said: “Malaking pamasko naming tatanawin ito, malaking kaluwagan ito sa ating mga mamamayan."
The group said those who have more in life should have more of the tax burden.
Pedring Fadrigon, convenor of KKB, said, "Ang tinututulan namin ay ang klase ng buwis na nakakarga sa presyo ng mga batayang pangangailangan, mga klase ng buwis na nakabatay sa konsumo imbes na sa kita at pag-aari."
They refer to taxes being imposed on basic items and services that directly affect the capacity of the poor to alleviate their lives such as taxes on utilities like water and electricity, taxes on overtime pays and bonuses, oil, and road users tax.
The group notes that the impending taxes on gold, cigarettes and SMS on cellphones are once again anti-poor.
"Binabatbat na kami ng sobrang pagbubuwis," Fadrigon said. "Hindi tulad ng mga negosyanteng may mga accountant at abogado para makaiwas sa pagbubuwis."
The group plans to stage a big rally on November 30 at Mendiola to protest the new taxes.
"Kami ay humihiling sa Pangulong Aquino na bigyang ng maagang pamasko ang mahihirap. Itigil ang mga bagong buwis at sa halip ay gawing urgent ang pag-rereporma sa sistema ng pagbubuwis," Fadrigon said.