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Militant groups paraded a jolly big fellow near Malacañang this morning and it’s not the one in a red suit. It’s SanTax Claws in a black jacket, a bagful of money, and with basic sectors tied up as his reindeers.

“This is a mockery of the skewed policies and priorities of the Aquino administration and the ones before it. What prevails is the interest of the elite, of the capitalists, and the people are the ones slaving away for them,” said James Miraflor, Vice-President of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC).

Unlike its generous counterpart, FDC’s SanTax Claws does not reward good behavior and does not give gifts. Instead he takes away the people’s money and strength and denies them access to services.

“Aquino rejects lowering of taxes of compensation income earners because he says his government needs revenues for social and economic services. What services is he talking about, he and his predecessors have been privatizing everything—power, water, health, transportation. Instead of being public services, these sectors are now lucrative businesses for private investors,” Miraflor said.

FDC has been criticizing Aquino’s fiscal policies and just recently, his rejection of proposals to amend personal income tax rates and brackets which were determined 18 years ago. The group insists on a progressive taxation system in which those who earn more pay higher taxes.

“This administration takes special pains to ensure that private corporations, capitalists, are pampered with numerous fiscal incentives. He does not mind annual forgone revenues of P37 billion in income tax holidays for investors,” said Miraflor.

He added that the 2016 budget even has provisions for a P30 billion Risk Management Program or Contingent Liability Fund which will be used to pay for government-guaranteed loans of private corporations in case they default on their payments.

The Department of Budget estimates that by 2016, contingent liabilities arising from the government’s public-private partnership scheme will reach 5.8 percent of the GDP or P915 billion. This will further bloat the P6.2 trillion outstanding debt of the national government.

“Our taxes should be spent to ensure that the people are able to live a life of dignity, not subsidize the operations of private corporations. Under Aquino’s administration, investors enjoy guaranteed profits and payments for their debts. ” Miralor said.

FDC was joined by the Partido Manggagawa, Piglas Kababaihan, Sanlakas, SENTRO ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa and community people from Tatalon, Quezon City.

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