Aquino to Fil-Chinese bizmen: Pay right taxes, share blessings
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III urged the Filipino-Chinese business community to paying the correct taxes and to share their blessings with their employees to enhance their productivity.
Aquino made the call at the opening ceremony of the 30th Biennial Convention of the Federation of the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Incorporated (FFCCCII) on Friday, March 27, while discussing how his administration has been investing in programs and projects to promote inclusive growth.
"Might I note that we did this without raising taxes, apart from the sin tax," he said, referring to the administration programs. He added, "But of course, the appeal continues: Please pay the correct taxes."
Aquino underscored the role of the private sector in improving national productivity.
He said that in the past, maximizing profits was all about cutting down costs, which eventually meant keeping wages as low as possible – but since workers are consumers, their low wages weakened their purchasing power and did not help grow the economy.
"The true path to sustained profit and growth lies in empowering our workers. Increasing their disposable income increases demand, and therefore increases competition....This is the approach that allows for a situation where, truly, everybody wins," Aquino said, adding that his ultimately leads to economic growth.
As such, Aquino called on the Filipino-Chinese business community – the “captains and lieutenants” of their respective industries to empower Filipino workers.
‘Give a little more’
Aquino again went on to discuss the accomplishments of his administration, particularly those primarily aimed at providing opportunities for Filipinos to improve their lot in life.
Aquino said his administration nearly doubled the budget of the Department of Education, increased the budget of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) by 84%, significantly increased the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and tripled the infrastructure budget.
"But there is an added bonus: an increase in empowered consumers, which bodes well for businesses like yours and the economy at large," the President said.
Aquino also acknowledged the FFCCCII’s efforts to help their communities, whether through scholarship funds or medical missions.
"Today, however, I am inviting you to do even more to help us empower the Filipino people," Aquino stressed.
The President also recalled that when he was a lawmaker, he proposed a measure that called for businesses to share part of their net new profits with their employees.
"My intent was to make the antagonistic 'you' versus 'I' into a 'we,' and the methodology was a system that rewards productivity, that allows all stakeholders to benefit from increased profits,” Aquino said.
He added that he does not expect such a bill to be passed anytime soon, but called the Filipino-Chinese businessmen to perhaps take the initiative – for their companies to make an effort to give their employees a little more.
“It will serve to drive them to be even more productive, while at the same time spurring a virtuous cycle of trust, confidence, and sustained growth in terms of our economy," Aquino said.
Since he assumed office in 2010, Aquino said the federation had helped transform the Philippine economic landscape, and urged the group to step up its participation in nation-building.
"The question I wish to leave with you today is this: When the time comes for us to leave this earth, will the succeeding generations look to us and say, 'Thank you for bequeathing to us a better world?' Or will they ask why we left them exactly the same set of problems if not more? I am certain that, like me, you want to be remembered as part of the solution and not the problem," Aquino said. – Rappler.com