BY EMILY VITAL
January 10, 2008 – 3:32pm
Consumer group TXTPower slammed the proposal increase tax on text messaging.
The Arroyo government at present collects 12-percent RVAT (Restructured Value-Added Tax) from all local text messages and calls, and another Overseas Communications Tax for international text messages and long distance calls.
As of end-2007, the Philippines has 55 million mobile phone users. Smart reports 30 million subscribers while rivals Globe and Sun each report 20 million and five million subscribers each.
TXTPower has long opposed any new tax on telecommunications.
TXTPower President Anthony Ian Cruz said Trade Secretary Peter Favila was “being ignorant, callous and incompetent” in denigrating the value of texting to the public.
“Texting is the de facto messaging standard today, because it is cheap. It is important to the public. It is used principally for personal and official reasons. The true source of public cynicism is not texting but the Arroyo government and its abominable projects such as this text tax,” said Cruz.
Cruz said, “Perhaps Favila does not know anything about the costs of texting because the public pays for billions of pesos in the government’s communications expenses.”
The group proposed the Arroyo government to scarp foreign trips. Cruz said, “Without these junkets, we won’t need any new text tax and may abolish the much-hated value-added tax.”
Mrs. Arroyo is said to have spent P692 million in public funds her 2005 and 2006 junkets alone. Another estimate is P8.2-billion for the past six to seven years. “Just imagine how much money the Philippines will save if she declares an end to her jetsetting lifestyle,” said Cruz.(Bulatlat.com)