• Call center workers call for 3-month tax holiday

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    DISGUSTED by the Aquino government’s defense of the pork barrel system, the country’s leading network of business process outsourcing (BPO) employees on Tuesday called on for a minimum of three-month tax holiday.

    The Business Process Outsourcing Industry Employees Network (BIEN Philippines) said that since President Benigno Aquino 3rd assumed office in 2010, no corrupt official has been penalized, with former President and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga province even enjoying lenient treatment from the current administration.

    The group said that it’s time workers who keep the economy afloat be heard as billions of hard-earned taxes are being pocketed by politicians.

    “We are disgusted with the amount of taxpayer’s money that’s being corrupted by senators, congressmen, and even the executive branch that has no more credibility in defending the government’s capability to manage our country’s money,” Ian Porquia, BIEN Philippines spokesman, said.

    Porquia said that an ordinary call center worker who earns an average of P18,000 a month with a tax code of single and no dependents will have a monthly withholding tax of P3,400 or equivalent to 18 percent, excluding the tax deduction for bonuses and incentives which amounts to 34 percent regardless of tax classification.

    “If we account for the 700,000-strong work force in the BPO sector, that is already equivalent to P2.3 billion in tax revenue each month. From a bigger perspective, that is equal to P 27.6 billion a year,” he said.

    Porquia said that it is disgusting that President Aquino and his officials like Secretary Edwin Lacierda, Sen. Franklin Drilon, Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, and the rest of the stalwarts of the yellow party, would go all out defending their palabas in the pork barrel scam.

    “We believe that both the opposition and administration officials are responsible for the pork barrel scandal and should not be singled out to petty cases of graft and corruption,” he added.

    Porquia said that it is also disgusting that Malacañang is quick to defend the P1-million bonuses of every member of the Social Security System board but is blind to the fact that their recently approved 0.6 percent increase in monthly contributions is a death sentence to minimum wage earners in the country.

    “No amount of public money should be made an incentive or bonus for someone who just sits behind a comfortable “lazy boy” chair in a cozy air-conditioned room with dozens of secretaries to do all the work for them,” he said.

    Neil A. Alcober

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