PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — WHILE the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to scrap the EVAT law and some bishops have criticized the President for defending the EVAT in her State of the Nation address last Monday, a Bulacan bishop came to Arroyo’s defense.
Malolos Bishop Jose Olivares brushed off stand of other prelates against the EVAT, saying the government has the right to implement taxes for the good of the country.
Oliveros said it is the prerogative of the national government to impose VAT that would be used to fund programs for the people.
“We are not the only country with VAT. Other countries such as the United States have their own, which is even higher than ours,” he said.
The bishop urged the people to instead trust the Arroyo administration because what Arroyo is doing is for the good of the nation.
“It may hurt pockets of many people but still, it is their clear obligation to the government,” he said.
Oliveros defended the government’s “Katas ng VAT” program, adding that it’s the poorest of the poor who would benefit from it anyway.
“Because of VAT, the government is able to provide subsidy to the needy. Subsidy means poorest of the poor,” he said.
However, despite coming to Arroyo’s defense, the bishop said the government has the moral obligation to inform the public how it uses revenues generated from taxes.
“So, andoon ‘yung transparency, ‘yung mahalagang tungkulin na gamitin ang mga buwis na nakuha para sa kabutihan ng madlang sambayanan,” he said.
Oliveros pointed out that the tax should be used for social services.
“If these taxes were used to subsidize the needs of the poor, subsidy for the poorest of the poor, then, there would be no problem,” he said.
Outspoken Archbishop Oscar Cruz has been blaming EVAT as the culprit for the high prices of prime commodities imposed forcibly on the people.