Just like Manila Water and Maynilad, the government and its Metro Rail Transit Corporation is making the public pay its corporate income taxes.
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Another public-private partnership’s business practice that is disadvantageous to the public came to light in this week’s budget deliberation. Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares condemned, Monday September 2, the practice of the government and the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) of passing their incomes taxes, value added tax, documentation stamps and other taxes to consumers. To date, this amounts to P2.1 billion ($48.275 million). The information came to light as Rep. Colmenares questioned Transportation Sec. Joseph Abaya at the budget deliberations in Congress.
Colmenares likened this habit of passing-on taxes to the public while pocketing the profit to the same practice being done by Manila Water and Maynilad. He described it as “highly immoral.” He wanted the practice stopped “especially since all companies are public utilities whose supposed main principle is public service and not to earn profits.”
“Why should we pay for the income taxes of this private corporation, and yet allow them to burden the people with higher fares? The DOTC should act now to end this practice and stop all moves to increase the fares of MRT and LRT,” Colmenares said.
Colmenares promised that they would file a resolution in Congress to investigate this practice, “so this will be stopped and not happen again.” The legislator from Makabayan bloc said this practice of making the people shoulder all the risks and losses of public utilities, awarding favored companies contracts and prioritizing their profits instead of public service has to stop.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III himself has supported calls for fare hikes in MRT and LRT, when the train companies have been pocketing huge profits and passing on business costs to the riding public.
Bayan Muna Rep. Colmenares said the investigation they want Congress to conduct “should produce a law that would prohibit this practice of allowing profit-hungry businesses to enter the business of public utilities.”