In the Philippines, employees enjoy the convenience of having their income taxes automatically deducted from their pay. Their employers have the responsibility of filing and remitting these taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. However, business owners and practicing professionals file their own taxes.
I have been a corporate slave for as long as I can remember and I did not mind having taxes deducted from my pay. However, with all the corruption and misappropriation of public funds, I easily get upset when I see how much money was taken off my bi-monthly wage. It is depressing to be giving so much to the government only to see wasteful spending, increasing poverty, and the depreciation of the Philippine Peso's purchasing power.
I would want to take for example the baranggay/village where I reside. There are vehicles plastered with signs "donated by Councilor XXX" or "Special Project by Congressman XXX." In our baranggay, we have one (1) Utility AUV, two (2) Toyota Tamaraw FXs, six (6) Patrol Tricycles, one (1) three-wheeled Utility Vehicle (modified large tricycle that can seat 8 people in the cab), one (1) small emergency fire truck and one (1) small AUV supposedly for the use of Senior Citizens. I have not seen any of those vehicles used by residents of the baranggay. They are used mostly by the elected officials.
|The parking area for the Baranggay vehicles|
|A motorcycle with little water tank on a trailer|
|The small AUV for the Senior Citizens. Its been parked and unused for so long|
|The Senior Citizen AUV. Unused and parked on the side of the street. The tires are already flat.|
I walked to the nearby Belarmino Sports Complex. This area used to be occupied by a public elementary school. It looked like an abandoned structure. I asked the guard on duty if I could take pictures of the building. He shooed me off, saying I should get a permit from the City Hall to take pictures of the place. I asked him if I could just stand outside the gate and take pictures. He started asking me questions about why would I need pictures of the building and who am I working for. I simply stated "I write, I blog and I am a taxpayer." The shooed me away even more. Nevertheless, I still pointed my camera lens through a slot in the gate and got some photos. Walking farther away from the complex, I spoke with an elderly man who owned a little corner store and asked him about the facility. Here's how our conversation went:
"Manong, gaano na po katagal dito itong sports complex na ito?"
("Sir, how long ago has this sports complex been built?")
"Apat na taon na. Hindi pa daw tapos kasi lalagyan pa daw ng basketball court at saka swimming pool. Di daw maasikaso kasi walang pondo."
("Its been 4 years. I heard its not yet complete because they plan to put a basketball court and a swimming pool in there. They said they don't have funds to do it."
"Hindi ba po yan puede gamitin ng mga residente dito? Tulad po ng mga Senior Citizens?"
("Is this not available for use by the residents of this community? Like the Senior Citizens?")
"Ay, hindi. Para lang daw yan sa mga competition. Yung mga Arnis. Taekwondo. Gymnastics. Ganun. Para daw sa mga athletic competition lang daw yan."
("Oh, no. They said that sports complex is only for competitions. Like Arnis. Taekwondo. Gymnastics. Just that. I heard it is only to be used for athletic competitions.")
|The gate of the Sports Complex|
|The front view of the complex|
|The grassy overgrowth on one side of the complex|
|The back of the complex. Hmm.. I wonder if the airconditioning units are turned on? Who is in there using up electricity if there are no competitions going on inside?|
Got it. So that "thing" is only for athletic competitions. If it is true that they have top of the line facilities in there, why don't they use this structure to train the youth who have a potential in achieving worldwide recognition in athletics?
The next place I visited was the "Project 4 Park," commonly called "5K" because its area is 5000 square meters. It is here where my mom and her senior citizen friends go to every morning for their aerobics class. They use the multi-purpose covered court, however, it does not provide much shelter during rainy days. The park does not offer much shade. There are only a few trees and park benches (I think there's only 4). The only nice thing in there is a playground for the kids. How can you call this a park when there's no place for you to sit and relax?
|The arched gate to the park|
|The multi-purpose covered court|
|The rest of the park (Sorry, no park benches here)|
To conclude, I only have one question.. Is this where my taxes go?