Teachers decry Marcos’s veto on election service pay tax removal

Government teachers take a
Government teachers take a "selfie" with Philippine Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (R) after attending a breakfast forum in Manila on October 7, 2015. (Photo: TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

Teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines called President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s decision to veto the bill granting tax exemptions to the honoraria, allowances and other benefits given to election workers a “slap in the face of every teacher.”

In an announcement by Malacañang on Saturday (July 30), Marcos said that the proposed bill, while laudable, would be “inequitable to other persons performing similar activities or services,” and would run counter to the government’s tax program “to correct the inequity in the country’s tax system and negate the progressivity of the reforms introduced” by Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law.

ACT Philippines’ Chairperson, Vladimer Quetua, said that Marcos’s veto on the bill is a grave disrespect to the level of commitment and dedication that the teachers have shown during the elections.

Pagbale-wala ito sa lahat ng hirap at sakripisyo ng mga gurong sa kabila ng pandemya at iba pang panganib ay nagbantay sa halalang si Pang. Marcos Jr. rin ang nakinabang,” Quetua said.

(The decision to veto the bill is a snub to all the hardships and sacrifices that the teachers gave amid the pandemic and other threats to their security and safety in an election that President Marcos Jr. benefited from.)

The progressive teacher said that the government shouldn’t think of the P1.5 billion potential revenue loss for this tax cut program as a waste of the people’s money because this is but a small way to thank the teachers for their performance every election.

Ang malaking kawalan sa bayan ay ang P203 bilyon estate tax ng pamilyang Marcos na hanggang ngayon ay hindi nila binabayaran,” Quetua added.

(What’s wasteful is the unpaid P203 billion estate tax of the Marcos family that, until now, they haven’t paid yet.)

Meanwhile, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro said that cutting the 20% tax on the teachers’ honoraria is justified due to longer hours of poll service that they have to endure and additional risks connected to their work as election officers.

She also added that this move destroys the “spirit and intent” of Republic Act 10756 or Election Service Reform Act in compensating those who are performing extraordinary election-related service, and that teachers regularly pay taxes year in and out and so they must enjoy this compensation without additional burdens.

“Teachers and ordinary citizens who volunteer to render election service faithfully pay their taxes, on time, year in and year out, however high and unjust the rates are,” Castro said.

Currently, Castro said that they’re looking at all possible legal options to counter this, and calling on “all teachers and election service volunteers to reach out to their district representatives and senators so that both Houses of Congress can override this unfair veto.”

Aktibo tayong mananawagan sa mga mambabatas na baliktarin ang veto ng lapastangang pangulo,” Quetua said.

(We will actively call on lawmakers to reverse the veto of an irreverent president.)

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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