Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Lets Just Get on With EVAT and Our Lives

Today, I got an email from another bleeding heart harping about the EVAT and how it is another ploy of the imperialist countries, yadda yadda yadda. Nice piece of work; at least as far as grammatical correctness and syntax are concerned.

What we need to remember though, is that this is the point of view of the opposition and the "ideological"
forces in congress. Note the inevitable anti-IMF and anti-foreign investment slant. I know, I used to write these things too.Nothing wrong with that as long as we take that context in the evaluation.

The issue is also ideological. The email does make a valid argument on the inefficiency of the tax collection
system in the Philippines. And this is a very ticklish issue for don't we all try to get around taxation? Yes, the government is to be blamed for the leaks - such as when it grants perks to foreign investors and etc. But what
about the investment they bring in? What about the employment they generate? There is a lot of static surrounding tax collection as a social and cultural issue and any tangible effort to fix it would be most welcome.

But armchair diagnoses and advocacies and demands for nothing but the PERFECT SOLUTION is plain intellectual and ideological masturbation. Yes we can try to find that perfect solution, but in the meantime, we need to do something and hopefully not just rant and bitch about it.

To begin with, it is the working class, that is actually heavily penalized by all kinds of additional taxation. We whose salaries are automatically taxed and who - by the way- also eats sardines and noodles and avail of
services that are subject to tax. But it does not make for good propaganda to advocate the rights of the working class. It does not make for drama.

It is the poor, the masa that is better fodder for drama.

Maybe this is what it really is all about - making headlines. Those of us who work hard and pay taxes honestly will grin and bear it not because we can afford it, but because we continue to have faith in Filipinos, we continue to trust that despite the childish tantrums and power trips of our leaders, they have our best interest at heart. So we do not go to the streets to oppose what hurts us because we know in our heart of hearts that we need to do our part.

Meantime, the poor - the real poor, not those who can afford to march all day and not work - will struggle on. Majority of them will not go to the streets either - they will try to survive in their own way. Sure, they will
have to tighten their belts some more. Sure, those who subsist on noodles and sardines will have to work an extra hour to be able to afford it. They will pray harder. They will drink more. But they will grin and bear it.

The Filipino will survive with us, without us, despite us, inspite of us. The Philippines can do without GMA, but the country can also survive without Drilon, Pimentel, Erap, Cory, and the bleeding hearts in congress and the senate.

The majority will work harder and not waste their time going to the streets and throwing tomatoes at the government. Without being agitated by the bleeding hearts who live in posh residences and swagger around in Pajeros (yeah right, those Congressmen and Senators care for the poor!), they will see the whole thing as their contribution. They too, will try to keep faith burning in their hearts.

Of course there is a better way. Of course the VAT is oppressive. Of course things are not equal. Of course we are all suffering. Of course the poor need more food on the table. Of course we need to get out of the rut we
find ourselves in. Of course we are in a mess.

But I doubt very much if the solution can be found in the dramatics and the hysterics of well-meaning individuals. I doubt if we can liberate ourselves by throwing stones at each other in the streets and shouting ourselves
hoarse. I doubt if the solution is in the horse trading and favor swapping that happens in the halls of power. I doubt if the solution can be had by getting a new president or by enacting or not enacting the VAT law. I
really doubt it.

So here's what I think. Our dear senators, say your piece but please stop the hysterics and the sanctimony threatening walkouts and political mayhem on a measure that you passed and approved. Move on.
There are gazillion other laws that need to be enacted. You were not elected into the Senate or the Congress for that matter to show the depth of your acting skills or the range of your childishness.

To our friends from all sides of the political spectrum, yes, educate us and enlighten us with your propaganda. But just because we do not see things from your perspective does not mean we are wrong - it is just we see things from a different perspective. No need to throw stones at the buildings where we work at or stage die-ins in front of our offices. And quite frankly, your rallies and protests only make traffic worse making it harder
for us. Do not get angry at us for seeing your supposed courage and act of patriotism as just another pesky inconvenience that is costing us more of that precious gas getting stuck in traffic.

But go ahead - it is your right. Just please be honest and say the issue is ideological.

If we all just do our jobs and leave government to do its job too, maybe there's a better chance we can
get there sooner. Yes maybe GMA is a crook, maybe there are better options. Let's explore them. But in the meantime, let her do her job and let's do ours the best way we can.

Let's just move on.

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