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At least two senators on Tuesday opposed the proposal to impose a tax on text messaging by International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde.

"I strongly oppose this foreign meddling and even the idea behind it. Ms. Lagarde is better off making suggestions to her fellow Europeans who can perhaps learn a thing or two from us," Sen. Francis Escudero said in a statement.

Earlier, Lagarde was quoted as saying that telecommunication services in the Philippines seems to be a good source of taxation.

But Escudero said taxation should be based on the ability of taxpayers to pay, noting that text messaging is ingrained among the lower socio-economic strata. He said 90 percent of mobile phone users have prepaid lines.

"Instead of providing relief for the Filipino public, this twisted idea of taxing text is an additional burden to the masses," he said.

In an interview on Tuesday, Sen. Manuel Villar also said the revenue to be generated by the sin tax bill should be enough for the government.

"Tama na itong sin tax na karagdagang buwis, tama na 'yun. Mahirap naman na 'yung text i-tax pa natin," said Villar, who chairs the Senate panel on trade and commerce.
Escudero also said that foreign entities or institutions cannot dictate what should and should not be taxed in the country.

"IMF and its chief has no business in even suggesting that we impose tax on text. The power to tax is inherent in Congress and any external intervention is already meddling with our sovereignty," he said.

The senator said he will block the proposal if ever it reaches the Senate.

"If at all, why not set our sights on taxing luxury goods such as motor vehicles and jewelry instead of taxing text messages?" he said.

Villar, however, said they should not take this proposal too seriously. "'Yang IMF mahilig 'yan nangrerekomenda [pero] di naman natin kailangan sundin ang IMF," he said. — BM, GMA News

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