By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has assured Filipinos that he will keep the taxes they paid to the government safe from corruption during his watch.
He gave the assurance after he approved the second tranche of the fuel tax increase in January, 2019 amid the drop in world oil prices.
“Do not be so sad about being taxed because your money here during my term is safe. I will not allow corruption,” Duterte said during the awarding of outstanding overseas Filipino individuals and organizations in Malacañang last Wednesday.
The President said he was “very strict” about the use of public funds, citing the dismissal of several government officials for alleged corruption in recent months.
“I have fired so many Cabinet members for just an infraction. I am so very,very strict,” he added.
He claimed thattwo days ago, he fired a government official but he did not identify the person.
“The latest was about two days ago and it has been a continuing process without really attributing any guilt on anyone. It is an almost everyday affair that I go after graft and corruption. This is what I promised you and I’m doing it and everybody knows it,” he said.
The President has renewed his resolve to fulfil his campaign promise to curb corruption in government. “I will try to minimize, since you cannot totally eradicate it but that’s a reality of life here in our country, I will try to cut down on graft and corruption,” he said.
In trying to assure Filipino taxpayers, Duterte reaffirmed his commitment to preserve the nation and protect the people.
“We are all workers of government. We work for the people. My oath, the long and short of it is just two sentences. I must preserve the nation and I must protect the people. That’s all there is to it,” he said.
The additional P2 tax on oil products that will be implemented next month are authorized under the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which has been previously blamed for the spike in consumer prices. The law, however, allows the government to suspend the tax hike if world oil prices average $80 per barrel in three months prior to the next scheduled levy increase.