Gabriela lambasts BIR as anti-poor

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Bicolana Nanay Linda, already old but  ever-present in womens' rallies and protest marches, is a living symbol of the poor Filipina who fights for women's rights and welfare. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM
Bicolana Nanay Linda, already old but ever-present in womens’ rallies and protest marches, is a living symbol of the poor Filipina who fights for women’s rights and welfare. PHOTO BY RICO DE MESA MANALLO / BICOLTODAY.COM

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 8March2014 (BicolToday.com) – Day before International Women’s Day on Saturday, the militant women sector lambasted the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for its anti-poor policy, on-line news BicolToday.com learned yesterday.

GABRIELA, the militant women’s movement, on Friday denounced BIR in a picket in front of its headquarters in Quezon City, calling the agency brutal, unfeeling, and tasteless in its efforts to squeeze taxes from all hardworking sectors of society, while letting rich taipans wallow in their fantastic wealth.

“We are angered that the heartless BIR now wants to tax urban poor women’s marginal livelihoods, such as sidewalk food stalls or passenger pedicabs. Incomes from these are barely enough to feed their families,” GABRIELA explained.

“This is an insane economic plan that kills the poor who are already bled dry by the expanded value added tax on food, utilities and other basic needs that bear an ever increasing price tag. And for what? So that the government will have a fatter pocket for corruption?” cried Joms Salvador, Secretary General of GABRIELA.

During the picket, protesters brandished pictures of wealthiest Filipino businessmen paired off with pictures of ordinary Filipinos who are burdened with debts and low wages.

Several doctors and teachers joined the BIR picket, on the eve of International Working Women’s Day.

Salvador criticized the policy of BIR Chief Kim Henares of shaming doctors, small time online traders, and accountants as scheming tax cheats in full page ads that try to stoke the anger of supposed victims such as teachers and construction crews.

“On her cheap attempt to shame doctors, we say shame, shame, shame on Ms. Henares for trying to shift blame from the pro-business and pro-foreign policies of the Aquino government. She now picks on doctors, who many times, are forced to shoulder their poor patients’ medicines and even ordinary items such as bandages,” Salvador said.

“This cheap melodramatic attempt to divide the people and divert their anger won’t get her anywhere except the lavish praise of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund who actually dictate her tax-the-poor doctrines. All the taxes she and Aquino hope to scrape up benefits only the monopoly investors who enjoy tax holidays, while services for women, including hospitals and schools, are privatized and become very expensive,” Salvador added.

GABRIELA enjoined more women to join tomorrow’s global women’s rally to denounce the economic programs of Aquino that further oppress and exploit working women and their families. [BicolToday.com]

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