MANILA, SEPTEMBER 16, 2010 (MALAYA) By AMADO P. MACASAET = I can only shake my head in wonder on what is happening lately in this country. More than a week ago, the country witnessed a hostage taking which left eight people dead. Yet, we see our top public officials arguing on who are really culpable for the bloody mess which badly affected the country’s image.

In other countries, that incident would result in the voluntary resignation of the officials involved in the botched rescue. But not in our poor country where delicadeza appears to be missing among some of our government officials.

And now this!

A few days back, I read an article where government claims that excise tax collections will decrease by 9.5 percent next year as the "country’s excise tax regime has yet to be rationalized."

Rationalization…that is a good word to use. In my book rationalization is just another word for tax increase.

How’s that for broken promises?

Just three months into office and the Aquino government is already back-tracking on its campaign promise of NOT imposing new taxes or increasing the tax rates. Instead, to put our story fiscal state in order, the current government promised to go after tax cheats and plug leakages in the tax system.

If you ask me, a campaign promise made by the highest public official in our country cannot be equated with a New Year’s resolution which is meant to be broken a couple of weeks after being made.

At the very least, the people who elected that government official on the basis of all that he promised to do once elected expect THAT government official to do everything reasonably necessary within his power to fulfill his promise. After all, he got the overwhelming mandate of the Filipino people because he said he can make a difference, that he is in fact different from all the others who vied for the top post.

Just three months into office and we now hear a different tune. I don’t think it is fair to claim that the Aquino government through the Department of Finance (DOF) has even tried hard enough to go after big-time tax cheats. How can they claim they tried? How many tax fraud cases have been filed? Six!

A two-year-old kid can count up to six so I am guessing that one cannot relate that number with the claim that officials of the DOF have tried their best in going after tax cheats and smugglers.

What this tells me is that the DOF is not doing a very good job of catching the cheaters in our tax system.

Fine, but instead of admitting this fact, the DOF appears to be fooling Filipinos into thinking that the reason it cannot collect the amount of taxes the country needs is because of the faulty excise tax system. They even camouflage their intention of increasing taxes by calling it something else … rationalization. Nice word.

You can call it by any other name but it is the same … it means tax increase.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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