VARIOUS civil society groups in the Philippines have pushed for the “Peoples’ Recovery” agenda that seeks to replace value-added tax (VAT) with a one-percent wealth tax on the assets of billionaires in the country.

"Tax policies should be progressive and equitable. Tax revenues should be used to address poverty and provide for social services even more urgently needed in the face of multiple crises," said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

“While ordinary Filipinos are burdened with regressive taxes, corporations are freely permitted to shift profits and even encouraged to erode tax bases through unnecessary fiscal incentives,” added Manjette Lopez, president of Sanlakas, on Friday, September 23, 2022.

The groups estimated that “this will raise close to P300 billion in revenue, which can and should be channeled into healthcare, education, housing and other basic public services.”

In a demonstration they held in front of the Department of Finance (DOF) office in Manila, the groups maintained that the “People’s Recovery” agenda would address the inequalities and rebuild the country’s economy from the pandemic.

“The Peoples’ Recovery program calls for the country’s tax burden to be shifted away from working households, women and LGBTQI+, and other marginalized groups, and onto billionaires and large local and multinational corporations, which have seen record-high profits all throughout the pandemic,” the groups said in a joint statement.

“The government is buried in debt, citizens are once again experiencing a crisis, and wealth is centralized in the hands of billionaires; it is they who should be taxed," added labor leader Ka Leody de Guzman.

Other groups who joined the simultaneous protest actions in Manila, Cebu and Tacloban included Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Oriang, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML), and Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA). (SunStar Philippines)