Marcos urged to tax billionaires, not the public as govt seeks boost in revenues

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2022 08:48 PM

People walk in the business district of Makati City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People walk in the business district of Makati City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr should tax billionaires instead of imposing new taxes on the public, an economic think tank said on Wednesday. 

As the government mulls new taxes to raise revenues to plug the fiscal deficit and pay debts, IBON Foundation said the government should instead levy a wealth tax on the richest Filipinos. 

IBON Foundation proposed a tax of 1 percent on those earning P1 billion, 2 percent on P2 billion, and 3 percent for those earning beyond P3 billion. This could generate P470 billion, the group said.

"There are so many options in terms of raising resources for social assistance and stimulating the economy, like realigning budget items for different intent and proposing new taxes on wealth, but if the government does not break away from its old ways of thinking, the old problems will persist,” IBON Foundation executive director Sonny Africa said.

The group said the administration is likely to improve tax collection and impose new taxes to raise revenues given the country's elevated debt.

“When all those things come into play, I think they will—in the interest of preserving credit worthiness—sooner or later be pushed into announcing new taxes,” Africa said.

Marcos should also present urgent solutions to economic challenges during his first State of the Nation (SONA) address on July 25, Africa said. 

However, Africa also said Marcos does not seem to have "a sense of how serious the economic crisis is."

"The fact that he is not raising any question about giving more social relief, halimbawa, I think that’s very problematic. I think he’s burying his head in the sand.” 

He said among the present concern the president should address is unemployment which was at 6 percent in May or equivalent to 2.93 million jobless Filipinos. 

Food security and inflation should also be prioritized, Africa said. 

As inflation further quickened to 6.1 percent in June, IBON said the government must also provide cash assistance to households, substantial wage hikes and subsidies. Marcos should also remove excise tax on oil, ensure affordable and reliable transport and support agriculture and small businesses, IBON said.

“One thing we are, actually, watching is if he will push through with his claims of pursuing food self-sufficiency because that would be one of the traits from the previous attitude of past administrations," Africa said.

"If he has a well-developed plan about that in the SONA, I think that’s actually worth supporting," he added.

Marcos said he would become the head of the Department of Agriculture. During his inaugural speech, the President also vowed to beef up productivity and ensure food security. Recently, he also said he is willing to negotiate government-to-government fertilizer deals.

-- with a report from Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

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