Press Release
November 19, 2012


Senator Chiz Escudero opposed the proposal to raise tax on text messaging to boost government revenues by International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Chief Christine Lagarde during her visit to the country over the weekend.

"It is not for any institutions or any foreign entities for that matter to dictate upon us what to and what not to tax. IMF and its chief has no business in even suggesting that we impose tax on text. The power to tax is inherent in Congress and any external intervention is already meddling with our sovereignty" Escudero said.

Lagarde in a press conference in Malacanang, suggested that telecommunication services are mines for new source of taxation because of its wide base of 102 million subscriptions.

She said that passing the sin tax bill would be "great progress for the revenue collection of the country" and added that "if more is needed in the pure decision of the government of the Philippines, then telecommunication would satisfy those two criterias," referring to text messaging and calls.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights said Lagarde's suggestion is skewed, if not so unfeeling, granting that it has a place in our economic affairs.

"I strongly oppose this foreign meddling and even the idea behind it. Ms. Lagarde is better off making suggestions to her fellow Europeans who can perhaps learn a thing or two from us".

The senator said taxation should be based on the ability of taxpayers to pay. He said text messaging is so ingrained among the lower socio-economic strata with about 90 percent of mobile phone users have pre-paid lines. "Instead of providing relief for the Filipino public, this twisted idea of taxing text is an additional burden to the masses".

Escudero said he will block the proposal if and when it reaches the Senate. "If at all, why not set our sights on taxing luxury goods such as motor vehicles and jewelry instead of taxing text messages?"

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