Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gordon blocks House P.10 text tax proposal

INDEPENDENT Senator Richard Gordon yesterday opposed a House proposal setting aside 10 centavos from the telecommunication firms’ annual net revenue from local text messages to allow the government cope with its huge deficit.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate government corporations and public enterprises committee, said he would oppose any move to impose tax on short messaging system (SMS) unless that the funds would directly and exclusively go to the improvement of the educational and health care systems in public schools.

“We should know what we must prioritize in our country. The educational and health care system in our public schools has long been in a dismal state, suffering from the expanding backlogs in infrastructures,” he said.

“The telecommunications industry is one of the most progressive businesses in our country and a 10-centavo fee for each text message would not really hurt them. But this fee should not be passed on to the consumers,” he added.

Quezon City Rep. Danilo Suarez has earlier proposed a revenue measure that would impose a 10-centavo fee on each text message to generate more revenues for the government.

While he has long recommended to require telecommunication firms to set aside a portion of their annual net revenues from SMS, Gordon said the projected revenues should be used to rehabilitate the education and health care systems.

Gordon had proposed for the creation of a Health and Education Acceleration Program (HEAP) Corporation, contained in Senate Bill 2402, which shall be in charge of the funds that would be collected from a small portion of the telcos’ revenues to fund the education and health care requirements nationwide.

“It is important that we realize that, at some point in time, we should have the determination to find out how we can help the country. I am not going after the telcos here, I am going after poverty and the pitiful state of the country’s public educational system,” Gordon said.

He explained that once the bill is passed into law, it would address the problems plaguing the education and health care systems among the more than 43,000 public schools all over the country. By: Marlon Purificacion - JOurnal online

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