Why I’m not happy with Manong Johnny

Aside from the Manny Villar song, “Gusto ko happy ka” (I want you to be happy) has become a byword in our house. Everytime somebody asks me not to do something I just tell them “Gusto ko happy ka.” (Just to say something ironic because if I do something and somebody does not like it, it means they are unhappy with me) heheheheh . . .

Manong Johnny or Juan Ponce Enrile is a veteran politician. Indeed one of the most experienced among all senators (And the most senior too) He is also a very capable legislator and a smart lawyer. (Undergraduate degree Ateneo, Law – U.P (Cum Laude) and master’s of law at Harvard) He has authored some very important pieces of legislation and is very active in fighting for constitutional reforms and consumer protection. He was one of the key figures that helped topple the Marcos dictatorship. With all of these accomplishments indeed Manong Johnny deserves another term in the Senate.

With all of Manong Johhny’s accomplishments, it may be said that I am happy with what he has done so far and so is most of our Filipino brethren. Indeed he has been true to his campaign promise of making us happy.

However there are some things I am not happy about Manong Johnny’s stand on certain issues. Because he wants to protect customers, one of his crusades is to slash the rates of what telecom companies charge us. This indeed is a worthy cause considering that we have one of the highest telecommunication charges in the planet, considering also that the Philippines is the “text messaging capital of the world.” Manong Johnny wants us to be happy so he wants to bring down the cost of calls and text messaging. Manong Johnny also opposes taxes on text. This is good for the consumer but bad for the government. If the government losses, then the entire nation losses.

Our government needs to raise taxes very badly otherwise we would suffer as a nation. You don’t have to be an economist to know that the government really needs taxes especially at this time when we are exiting from a world wide financial meltdown.

It is estimated that there are about 70 million mobile phone users in the country. The average person sends about 10 text messages per day. Let’s just slash it down to 5 to have a more conservative approach. If that is P 1.00 per text that means that the telcos are earning P 350 million pesos per day or close to P 127 Billion pesos per year! (Add to it special occasions like Christmas and New year where telcos earn millions per second) Imagine if the government imposes a 30 % tax on such amount, that’s almost P 40 Billion pesos per year for the government! (That’s about the size of the budget of the department of health and twice the budget of DSWD for 2010)

Of course the telecommunications company will pass it to the consumers. In my view a cellphone is not a basic necessity such that you will die with out (as opposed to Food, clothing and shelter) so anybody who owns a cellphone should be taxed for the luxury of owning one.

I know Manong Johnny just wants to make us happy but if individual Filipinos are happy that they have cheaper text cost but however the nation suffers from lower funding from taxes then we will all become unhappy. Happiness should not be the only concern of Filipinos. We should all do our part in helping build the nation especially those who are in the middle and upper class.


Further Manong Johnny is a tax expert. He graduated from Harvard with a Master’s degree in law with specialized training in International Tax Law. I am no tax expert and taxation is the subject I hated most in law school, however I do believe that Manong Johnny should be passing more progressive tax laws instead of trying to over protect consumers. For example Manong Johnny should pass laws imposing higher taxes on luxury items such as  autos, auto insurance quotes, appliances, restaurants, movies, sin items such as liquor, cigarette gambling and a higher tax bracket for those who have higher income at the same time reducing or eliminating taxes on basic necessities and low income individuals.

Nevertheless despite being unhappy with Manong Johnny in some aspects I’m still happy with his commercial because everytime it is shown on T.V, he always makes me smile when he says “Gusto ko happy ka.”

Just to make you smile, here is Manong Johnny’s “Gusto ko happy ka” campaign ad. I’m not campaigning for Manong Johnny but ang gusto ko rin na happy ka. hehehe 🙂

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6 Responses to Why I’m not happy with Manong Johnny

  1. Miguel says:

    I was just warming up on your blog until I read this one. You are not happy because be is trying to help the consumers by not increasing taxes? You should say alleluia to him. You are definitely are a loony guy. Have you read about supply side economics?

  2. JP says:

    I get your view on taxes being a necessity for a country to prosper. But why not tax something else? How about cigarettes? Or alcohol? Don’t you think these are more of a non-necessity? Putting a higher tax on tobacco and alcohol would also decrease it’s consumption. This would probably lower the crime rate and even promote health.

  3. zigfred says:

    Miguel: Of course I am happy with what he is doing but he needs to get the bigger picture.

    JP: Yep I agree on more taxes on non-necessities. Bigger taxes should even be imposed on sin items and even lottery.

  4. Alfredo Lim says:

    There are some ways to collect taxes not only in cellphone load. And people should also know the other things where the government can get tax not only focusing on cellphone load.

  5. Celty says:

    That’s interesting, I’ve never looked at tax that way before. I’ve always been against the E-Vat since it started. Now I’m having second thoughts about it. Nice one.

  6. maria juana says:

    hi. i came across your blog and the reply might be overdue but nonetheless relevant still since this issue has not been resolved up to now. senateor enrile wants to reduce the cost of text messaging and this will obviouslyreduce the cost to all cellphone users. imposing a tax on text to shore up government revenue is worth considering provided this is not pass on to consumers.

    if you impose the tax on top of the current 1 peso cost of text messaging, the consumer will pay the cost of text and the additional tax since we all know this is pass on to the consumers eventually. if we reduce the cost of text, the consumer will have to pay less. and the reduction in text will mean more business for telcos since this will increase the volume of text messages since it is now more affordable. more business means bigger tax base and better collection for the government.

    my two cents worth.=)

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