Stark Contrasts-A A +A
At Close Range
Thursday, March 21, 2013
WE MUST have seen on television the pomp and pageantry which attended the Catholic pope's inauguration who, from accounts, espouses humility, simplicity and poverty.
From being a priest, he rose to become a cardinal, all the while living with near bare necessities, in a modest abode in Argentina. Now the head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio exemplifies austere existence which, if heeded by the Church faithful, could lead to reforms to reshape its sagging image and credibility. The new Pope's policy is to make the Church closer to the people.
Contrast the grand and pompous adulation to the pathetic, nay, tragic death of University of the Philippines (UP) student Kristel Tejada who, as reports cite, came after she filed a leave of absence in the middle of the second semester for failure to pay tuition of less than P10,000. The father was later heard saying: How painful was it to remove the sole hope to help your parents and yourself? Yes, indeed, why should death be the price for lack of money to pay tuition and debts?
I could only commiserate with the parents of Kristel, who pinned their hopes of good life on her, only to be frustrated by the hypocritical Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program of a supposedly government-subsidized UP! How many more Kristels will suffer the same fate due to poverty? Now the school officials are profused with regrets and apologetic stance. Too late, sirs. The student who vigorously lobbied for your reconsideration is dead. De masiado tarde, hombres.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is, by law, mandated to generate revenues to sustain the government's operations. For this purpose, it sets its targets and/or goals to arrive at its forecasts.
It is reportedly on close watch on self-employed individuals and professionals who are reportedly paying "ridiculously low" taxes, those who do not pay at all or are not even registered with the BIR.
Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim S. Henares announced her agency's plan to file charges against lawyers, doctors, dentists and others practicing a profession who pay less than P30,000 in taxes a year. She should also order her men to look for other tax evaders like those engaged in so-called underground industries and promptly file cases against them. And what about those who own multiple houses and buildings for rent? Are they exempt from the BIR's line of fire? Smugglers also abound. Are they monitored or are they also exempt from the agency's ire?
Such stark contrasts prevail in our midst despite the growing prosperity indices and the climbing economy.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 22, 2013.