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Additional SMS tax not needed, says group

Posted on: September 10, 2009

Additional SMS tax not needed, says group

By Alexander Villafania
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:50:00 09/09/2009

Filed Under: Technology (general), Telecommunications Services

MANILA, Philippines – The government can simply reallocate budgets instead of imposing additional taxes on short messaging services (SMS), according to a local consumer group.

Consumer rights group TXTPower (www.txtpower.org) denounced a new proposal in Congress by Antique Representative Exequiel Javier.

The yet-to-be numbered proposal was passed by the Congress ways and means committee as a substitute to House Bill 6635, the original SMS tax proposal by Deputy Speaker Eric Singson.

In an interview with INQUIRER.NET, TXTPower President Ian Anthony Cruz argued that there are no provisions in this new proposal that prevents telecommunications firms to pass on the cost of the tax to the consumers.

Cruz explained that additional taxes is not necessary as the government can raise money
, at least P36 billion, by reallocating P4 million from the pork barrel of each congressman; P10 million from the Office of the President; and 10 percent from the debt servicing budget.

The group is mounting a signature campaign against the proposal.

TXTPower has been opposing taxes against SMS but is also pushing for lower SMS and voice call rates from the telecommunications firms.

At least one billion text messages are being sent everyday by approximately 70 million mobile phone subscribers in the Philippines.

Representatives from mobile communications firms Globe Telecom and Smart Communications have yet to release a statement against the proposal.

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