Huwebes, Pebrero 17, 2011

Tax cheats

After 15 years, this lowly columnist who is used to see the lowly edifices of Dagupan City for decades, has visited Cebu City once again recently.
Susmariosep, I was overwhelmed by the progress “Ceboom” has been reaping. Skyscrapers that are mostly high ends, and three to five stars hotels are everywhere.
I thought I was either in Seoul in South Korea or Guangdong in Mainland China– what with those chinky-eyed tourists who walked in the streets and hotel lobby by batches.
To those who just learned how to read economics, Cebu is eight times bigger than our city in terms of yearly appropriation if we base it on our still-stalled and politicized P568 million annual budget against that Visayan City’s P4.4 billion.
I drooled more as “Ceboom” jeans and boots sporting mayor Mike Rama has concluded on his speech in English (Cebuanos are not good in Tagalog, they are a disaster. They pronounced “pig” as “peg” “shit” as “shet”) to us mostly Filipino-speaking delegates of the National Hog Summit at the convention hall of the swanky Water Front Hotel & Casino:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, after this summit, I have some appointments to attend.
I asked your indulgence to go early because this is not an ordinary city. This is a highly urbanized city. This is the queen city of the Philippines. To all and sundry, daghang salamat (many thanks)”.
After I arrived from the Queen’s City, I waved my Cebu’s Sun- Star and Freeman daily papers for media men in a press conference in Dagupan to see.
“Look here, each of these tabloids average 32 pages that, holly-molly, are being circulated everyday against Pangasinan’s pathetic newspapers that average eight pages only!”
Manila Bulletin scribe Orly Guirao told me that the thickness of Cebu’s tabloids is the result of the city being highly urbanized. Northern Times publisher Lelia Sy, who crisscrossed the archipelago as PAPI ‘s (Publishers Association Of The Philippines, Inc.) hot shot, quipped that the thickness of the Cebuano papers happened because national broadsheets arrived late in that city from imperial Manila.
“Sun-Star and Freeman are the substitute of Philippine Daily Inquirer and other national dailies there,” she stressed.
Mayor Ernie Balolong of Urbiztondo, a big time hog and poultry raisers himself, could only shake his head on the spate of unabated smuggling of bargain-priced pork from the US and Canada in Cebu that threatens the local hog raisers there.
He told me there that swine businessmen in Pangasinan are smiling these days.
He said that after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, the supply of hogs in the market were depleted thus the increased gate price of live pigs for meat vendors.
Abono Party- list boss Rosendo So said pork is ubiquitously peddled by vendors in bicycle that roam the villages and boondocks.
Somebody told me that the proliferation of P80 a kilo pork there happened because their local officials are bribed by smugglers.
“Son of a gun, parang jueteng sa amin sa Luzon. Mi tong ang mga opisyales to buy their silence,” I exclaimed.
Pangasinan politicians who attended the pig summit were Abono Partylist Robert Raymund Estrella, mayors Balolong, and Leoncio Saldivar of San Nicolas. Ex-Mayor Lito Peralta and his lovely wife who is the vice mayor of Balungao were there, too.
National officials who graced the event were Senator Kiko Pangilinan and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
The event was steered by Abono Big boss Rosendo So whose knowledge in data about importation mesmerized the participants all over the country.
Somebody told me that a P700 M budget for 2011 (instead of the present P560 million) is possible in Dagupan. But because of “tax cheats” businessmen, Dagupan City reels with lethargic tax collection effort as compared to neighbouring cities Urdaneta and Baguio.
My source at city hall told me that corporations registered at the Security Exchange Commission like Phinma -run University of Pangasinan religiously pays P2.1 million a year business tax compared to family-owned universities and colleges that paid an incredible P40,000 average a year only.
Hardwares’ like Handyman and DIY that are located at the malls paid an averaged annual tax of P150, 000 a year, higher than the traditional hard wares that do business at the city’s peripheries.
My source at Urdaneta City told me that the city government billed Magic Mall there by P1.360 million.
He could not believe that Nepo Mall in Dagupan- that is two times bigger than Magic Mall in Urdaneta- pays only P600, 000 to Dagupan.
Susmariosep, Is Nepo playing around with its book?
Are the Perezes (Amadito and son Bobom) who run Urdaneta are better than the leaders of Dagupan?
Take for instance a lowly Bank of Makati in Dagupan that pays P400 thousand annually. Its bigger renowned counterpart with an initial of “B” pays only P22 thousand a year.
My source at the city hall told me that they will publish the top 300 taxpayers in the Dagupan for 2010 so the people can see who pays how much, and who pays less.
Does paying less means manipulating their books to escape paying the correct taxes?
This incredibility of taxes my dear readers is reminiscent of that unknown contractor Elaine Gardiola of Batangas who landed as the top 500 taxpayer in 2009 of the country, while billionaire-boxer Manny Pacquiao landed at number 13. Gardiola tax was P 59.54 million, while the Filipino superman – but who does not have superman’s handsome face – was paying only P 7.41 million.
Oh my Gaaad, Nora Aunor was wrong when she cried “Walang Himala!”.
My gay neighbor Swarding was correct when he quipped: “Gaga, merong himala!”. At ang himala ay nasa Dagupan lang.
Geez man, cheaters are bane. They gnaw at the economic fibres of our development.
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