Protests kill ‘text tax’ monster

Less than a day after our texters’ revolt, Malacanang has backed off. The text tax is dead.

Truly, this is a sweet victory for consumers.

Consumers rejoice as Palace ‘backs off’ on text tax

Consumer group TXTPower applauded the scrapping of a proposed text tax, less than a day after it waged a “texters revolt” directed at the President’s trade secretary who floated the proposal and denigrated the texting public.

Malacanang, through Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, today said that it will not pursue a new tax on text messaging.

Had it pushed through, text messages would have cost P1.50, with P0.50 going to the government.

In a statement, TXTPower thanked the public for joining its texters revolt which started yesterday afternoon when the group spread Trade Sec. Peter Favila’s cellphone number to allow the public to send protest text messages to the cabinet member.

“Mr. Favila and the entire Arroyo government has backed off from the text tax scandal. This is a victory for consumers and the Filipino people,” said TXTPower.

The group said “the government should stop imposing new taxes, and to withdraw other taxes as well considering the repeated boasts by the President about the strength of the peso and other economic fundamentals.”

“The government will face a bigger revolt if it imposes any new tax or does not do anything to stop increases in prices of oil and basic goods,” warned TXTPower.

TXTPower led objections to the text tax by activist groups, a Catholic prelate, members of Congress and Senate and the public who all sought to defeat the proposed measure.

Favila, big business groups should apologize

The group had this advise to Favila: “Don’t do that again. Don’t impose any new regressive tax.”

TXTPower also said that Favila and big business groups who sided with him should all apologize over their “irresponsible statements about the use of texting by the public, their demeaning view of texting, and their proposal to impose yet another regressive tax”.

Favila and big business groups tried but failed to tag texting as a “sin”, comparing it with alcohol and tobacco.

Favila even called the anti-tax text messages as “hate texts”, TXTPower noted. “He has such low regard for sentiments of the public he is sworn to serve.”

“We would not be surprised if Favila charges his cellphone bill to taxpayers,” said TXTPower. “But what takes the cake is that he does not respect public feedback on the statements that he makes.”

Lower prices now!

According to TXTPower, the government should instead impose controls on prices of all basic goods, petroleum products, water, and telecommunications services.

“Inflation is said to be lowest and the peso is getting stronger. The government now spends less for servicing fraudulent and corruption-laden debts it insists on paying. It should be payback time for the public who have suffered for long due to high prices and high taxes,” said TXTPower. ###