Why EVAT is anti-poor

The editorial by Philippine Daily Inquirer today (November 3, 2005) has a great argument against EVAT:

Administration officials have described EVAT as a progressive tax that imposes a heavier burden on the more affluent who consume more. Finance Secretary Margarito Teves says that as much as 83 percent of the additional P80 billion revenue from EVAT yearly will be paid by the upper 50 percent of Filipino income earners. But even such a disproportionate sharing of the tax burden does not necessarily make the tax equitable. If you take away P83 from someone who holds a good job, he would probably give up his usual cup of coffee at the nearby café. But P17 taken away from a farmer or fisherman will probably force his family to go to sleep hungry. For those already living in poverty, the smallest added burden could already break their body and spirit.

For all the talk about safety nets, there is no escaping the wide net cast by EVAT. There are no discounts for the poor who ride jeepneys or ships. Poverty does not immunize anyone from diseases. How can those who cannot afford it avoid paying the tax?

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