Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza today said President Arroyo’s defense of the Value Added Tax at the State of the Nation Address is the biggest of all lies at yesterday’s 57-minute, tall-tale marathon.

“It is not true that 90% of the country’s VAT on power collection is being paid for by the rich and well to do,” said Maza, citing research conducted by the consumer group, POWER and statistics from the Department of Energy which reveals that:

While 62.4% of energy consumption may be consumed by the industrial and commercial sectors, the VAT collected from these is immediately passed on to customers and end-consumers. An estimated 90% of the 34% energy consumed by residential customers go to lifeline consumers or those who consume less than 500 kwh.

Maza further said, “It is also not true that the 12% VAT on oil impacts greatly only on the rich who supposedly consume 84% of the nation’s oil. The president deliberately ignored the impact of high oil prices on the transportation and other costs that contribute to the high prices of food and basic commodities that poor Filipinos consume. Inflation of food prices is currently at 17%.”

According to the Gabriela solon, “The VAT’s retention will be politically costly for President Arroyo. People are not buying Mrs. Arroyo’s Katas ng VAT propaganda. The subsidies are not enough. These are dole-outs that do not spell long-term economic growth for the majority of the people.” #


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