MANILA, Philippines – House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said the minority bloc wants to abolish income tax for Filipinos earning P30,000 and below.
To answer the projected P27-billion government revenue loss should this push through, Suarez said he plans to impose a tax on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the water it gets from watersheds.
In a press conference on Wednesday, August 17, Quezon 3rd District Representative Suarez recalled the campaign promise of his United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party mate and ex-vice president Jejomar Binay to scrap income tax for the poor.
“During the campaign, no less than our candidate VP Binay made the statement that he will remove the income tax of those receiving P30,000 and below. We here as minority, in UNA, would like to pursue that, lowering the income tax for those earning P30,000 and below,” said Suarez.
“Right now, the water that we’re drinking is free. Libre ‘yan. ‘Yung service provider (That’s free. The service providers) Maynilad and Manila Water, just distribute it,” said the lawmaker, adding that water for Filipino consumers is being sourced for free by the MWSS from his own province.
Suarez said he would file a bill that would seek to amend the MWSS’ charter so that it would be taxed on the water it sources and distributes to consumers, but he did not specify how much.
“I think if we amend the charter, we can assure that the water makes revenues for government to cover up for the deficiency if we will impose the P30,000 and below tax exemption,” he said.
Burden on consumers?
But will not imposing a tax on the MWSS lead to consumers paying more for water? (READ: The price of water: Areas of controversy)
House Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza, who is also from UNA, said they would then block attempts to put any pass on provisions in Suarez’s proposed bill that would allow the MWSS to charge consumers for the added costs.
“I agree with that purely but I would insist on a provision [that says], ‘No pass on',” said the Buhay representative.
Former UNA president and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco already filed a bill seeking to abolish income tax for employees earning P30,000 below.