FRANTIC could be the term to describe best the plan of the P-Noy administration to raise cash to finance its programs.
Confronted with a deficit estimated to hit P293 billion inherited from its predecessor, the Aquino administration will tap the private sector to help out. It will also go after tax evaders and extract from them additional taxes that could amount to $3.1 billion.
These twin moves may appear as being undertaken in desperation, but it looks to me like they are bold ones that should have been undertaken by the previous administrations to inculcate on our people not only the need for them to participate in “nation-building” but also to fulfill their obligations as citizens.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisma said that if the high-profile taxpayers could be induced to pay their taxes even at just an average of P100,000 each, government can already have P140 billion in cash for public projects. President Noynoy Aquino himself surmised that “at least P250 billion a year” is lost because of tax-dodging. Certainly, with this move alone, part of the deficit could be met.
Consider this fact: the greater part of the personal income taxes paid last year, which is 82 percent of the total, were paid by fixed income persons whose salaries are already retained at source under the so-called withholding tax practice of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
And yet, only some five million of our people actually pay taxes out of a labor force of 38 million. Thus, the BIR has good reason for going after many high-profile tax-evading individuals.
Meanwhile, the cash-strapped P-Noy administration is turning to the private sector for help in building six airport terminals to strengthen the tourism industry. The mechanics is for the government to build the horizontal infrastructure, such as the runway and access roads, while the investors will take care of the vertical infra, such as the passenger terminals.
One of the six envisioned projects is in Bohol where the tourist arrivals are expected to increase this year.
The plan is designed “to double the number of annual tourist arrivals to six million by 2016.” It’s a quite ambitious plan, if I may say so, but it is not really difficult to achieve.
All that it needs is true determination and hard drive on the part of P-Noy’s people.
And truth to tell, drive and determination appear to be what the Aquino government has so much of. In fact, along this line of action, new jobs may be generated, and lessen somehow poverty pressures among our urban poor.