Marcos Jr. pushes for more consumer taxes despite inflation, low wages
At least eight economic bills are being proposed by the Marcos Jr. administration to generate additional government income for the next five years. Six of these proposals involve imposing additional taxes, four of which will directly impact common Filipinos. The two other proposals involve taxes on junk food and beverages.
Two proposed plans will impose additional taxes on services—motor-vehicle road user’s tax and value-added tax or VAT for digital services. Another batch of tax policies are set to impose excise taxes for single-use plastics and carbon products. These proposals were also pushed during the previous Duterte regime under then Central Bank of the Philippines and current Department of Finance minister Benjamin Diokno.
If passed, four of the bills will take effect in 2024 and will generate up to P3.7 trillion in 2023 and P6.6 trillion in 2028 all of which will be sourced from consumers and workers who are already suffering from record-low wages and inflationary pressures on basic commodities.
Despite a decrease in the inflation rate down to 4.9% in October compared to 6.1% in September, workers’ wages remain below the poverty line as big businesses continue to squeeze more profits from workers while the Marcos Jr. administration refuses to increase the national minimum wage.
Food prices remain high despite Marcos Jr.’s pronouncements of “controlling rice prices.” Vegetable prices including those for carrots, potatoes, cabbage and garlic remain inflated. Overall, food inflation is currently at 7.1% while rice prices has soared to 13.2%.
According to IBON Foundation, the real daily wage in the National Capital Region amount to only P504 ($8.99). Last October, a family of five needs at least P1,189 ($21) every day to survive which is more than double the minimum daily wage. This translates to an average of P25,850 ($461) every month to live decently.
Other regions have higher living wages based on IBON’s computations. According to IBON, the higher figures are due to higher inflation rates in other provinces including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) where a family of five needs P2,013 ($36) every day to live which is far from the P341 ($6) daily minimum wage in the region.