Lawmakers have warned the government against adopting a proposal of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to impose an excise tax on mobile telecommunication services.
In its March 2012 country report, the IMF recommended the imposition of excise tax on Philippine telecommunication services as an additional revenue source and to mitigate the adverse effects on consumers of higher excise taxes on oil, tobacco, and alcohol products.
Rep. Neri Colmenares (Party-list, Bayan Muna) said the IMF proposal is essentially a regressive tax that would again be a burden to the people.
“I disagree with the IMF recommendation. It is a common imposition of the IMF to bleed the people dry of their hard-earned money just so that their client states can pay up and earn a seal of good house keeping,” said Colmenares, a vice chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms.
Colmenares said the government would only again be taxing the people to cover up for its inefficient and corruption-ridden tax collection system and spending public funds.
“They are using this as a measure so that excise taxes on sin products would be exploited, but we must be very careful because next time they will be targeting texts and cellphone calls,” Colmenares said.
Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo (2nd District, Valenzuela City) said the IMF proposal to impose an excise tax on mobile telecom services has no legal basis.
“This IMF proposal is not found in the Tax Code, and it will run counter with the administration’s no new tax policy,” said Gunigundo, a deputy majority leader.
Aside from that, he said excise taxes are usually imposed to discourage consumption or usage or behavior of taxpayers.
“That is why we have excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. Are we therefore discouraging cellphone subscribers, at least five million, to limit usage of their cellphones,” said Gunigundo.