Wednesday, September 23, 2009

House Speaker welcomes committee action on tax on text measure

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Prospero Nograles lauded the action taken by the House Committee on Ways and Means which reconsidered its decision to conduct further deliberations on the proposed tax on "text bill" as he pointed out that the measure can only gather support if it can guarantee that it will not increase the existing text cost now being billed on millions of consumers.

Nograles also shrugged off renewed threats by Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez that he will challenge the Speaker's leadership if he cannot facilitate the passage of the tax on text measure and stressed that he is supporting the measure provided it is free from any pass-on provisions that will mean additional burden to the consuming public.

"I'm not going to be blackmailed by such threats. All I want is to make sure that we will pass a measure that is palatable not only to the public but also to our peers in Congress, including the Senate. I support this measure especially if it will mean additional classrooms and modern educational facilities for our children but any tax on texting should be solely shouldered by the service providers and not by the consumers," Nograles said.

"Chairman Exequiel Javier and his committee did the right thing. We are never insensitive to the plight of the people," Nograles added as he urged all concerned to voice their proposals to ensure that justice prevails in all matters pertaining to taxation policies.

The House leader said that the intent behind the measure is to bolster the country's education program and the good of the youth.

"We will always listen to our people. We will listen to all the stake holders. Congress is the right place for an intelligent, comprehensive and open debate on issues of public concern," the House leader stressed.

Nograles pointed out that the decision to reconsider the approval by the ways and means panel is not a show of surrendering its position but to find the best way to address the needs of the country to promote development.

"We are not giving up on a viable idea. What we are trying to do is find ways to promote development without doing injustice to the people. This is what democracy is all about," Nograles stressed.

Congress, Nograles added, is also considering several bills promoting tax reforms, including the proposed revision on the tax levels on the so-called tax on sin products, without jeopardizing the growth of industries and the government's jobs generation programs.

"Somewhere along the way, each of us will have to sacrifice for the good of the country in general. We also have to take into consideration our efforts to attract investments," Nograles added. (Gil Bugaoisan)

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