back to article Philippine fury at text tax

Filipino consumer groups have reacted with outrage to a proposed law imposing a tax on text and multimedia messages sent from mobiles. Despite attempts to include a "no-pass-it-on" proviso in the bill it passed yesterday with no such safeguard. Speaker Prospero C Nograles said: "We will not allow any such additional taxes on …


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  1. Sebastian Brosig

    cheap & ubiquitous texts

    In the Phillipines SMS is hugely popular, possibly more so than anywhere else in the world. And it appears the operators do provide it at a low margin: 1 peso is 1.2p in UK money. Lots of people who can't afford a phone call keep in touch with their friends&family in the Phillipines all over the world via SMS. Small wonder they're trying to tax it more: it's a very common transaction.

  2. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    What a crock

    "The Ways and Means Committee will now introduce a substitute bill which will include a provision that the tax must be paid by mobile operators. Any attempt to pass on the tax to punters will lead to suspension of their franchise licences."

    If business only gets revenue from one source (i.e. it's "punters") then how can it pay a tax without the punters ultimately being the ones to pay? It's the same nonsense spouted by those idiots who believe oil companies should be taxed on their profits.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    pure greed

    the philippines sends a staggering 600m sms every day - more than all of europe (with only about 60 million active sim cards). granted a lot are on unlimited daily plans but this is still a huge amount of money being earned by the operators. they need to spend money to upgrade the networks - some texts take up to 6 hours to arrive. simply not good enough. tax... they have been arguing about this in the senate for a while. before the year 2000 - texts were actually free, then moved up to 1 peso (£0.0125). the operators make a fortune - they deserve to pay some tax on this revenue which they charge far too much for as it is. it could easily be half the price. they try to justify themselves by claiming that if you take up the promos then you get half the price so in fact they are cheap but when you try to register for promos sometimes you get "service unavailable" etc. it really is a joke.

  4. Timo

    don't let economics get in the way

    like Grease Monkey says, there are countless examples (in beginning economics textbooks) of how it is impossible to tax one side of a transaction without both sides paying.

    The complete idiocy of people in government offices astounds me. If I was running the place (and I'm not, obviously), I would mandate that anyone trying to get into government be required to take a basic economics course (and pass it.)

  5. DZ-Jay

    Wouldn't it be...

    Would it be "Puck opp?"


  6. Justin Clements


    What on earth are you on about AC?

    600m sms messages at 1p each is on £6m. Thats not only around £2.2bn which in the grand scheme of things is chicken feed. Where do you think that money goes? It goes into the infrastructure, pays for jobs, pays for the license, pays the current rate of tax, and pays some profit back to their investors.

    As for your idea that they don't pay tax on these earnings - they already do pay tax.

    Now if they start paying more tax on these messages - will they be able to spend more on the infrastructure? Course they won't because they'll be less money in the pot.

  7. Jesse Dorland
    Thumb Up


    I think the philippine government is too soft on its citizen, in fact they should also charge tax on bytes people are downloading from the net...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical Philippine government

    This is typical of the Philippine government. It's a prime example of what's holding the country back. Make the masses happy but screw up the country in the process. And they wonder why they cant get out from being a 2.5 world country to first world. No, they're not a third world country.

    They want to increase their BPO operations but they make it extremely difficult and expensive for business owners and their employees to obtain visas longer than the standard 21 days.

    Their labor laws are far too employee focussed which means once you employee someone you better bloody well like them because its going to take a minimum of 4 months and a tonne of paper work and memos to get rid of them.

    Another example would be the constant public holidays that they create for just about any old so and so that dies. There's a new public holiday or two, every single month. Yes this makes the people love the government but what they don't realise is that all this time off is loosing them tax money and making foreign investors think twice about having operations in the Philippines.

    What to consider when setting up operations in the Philippines?

    1) Filipino time (things get done, when they get done, if they get done)

    2) Incredibly pro-employee labor laws making it near impossible to fire a troublesome or under-performing employee

    3) Lack of common sense or initiative from Filipinos, from the bottom all the way up to the government

    The whole country runs on SMS. Even government officials use SMS for press releases. To say the providers are making a huge amount of profit is just ridiculous. They charge just 1 peso per message and most offer unlimited daily messaging for just 20 peso.

    The money needs to come from the government officials.

    Wonder why they rebuild the same bit of road every 6 months? Well sooner or later you run out of ways to move money around. Those roads sure are convenient.

  9. Aaron 10

    Uphill battle

    In the Philippines, text-messaging is a national sport. You cannot go anywhere without seeing people hunkered over their phones, typing incomprehensible messages on their 12-key numeric pads. Cell phone calls are terribly expensive to make (though receiving them is free), so most Pinoy prefer to text.

    Because of the fact that EVERYONE texts each other, expect that same level of opposition to any hints of taxing text messages. Sales tax, already included in the cost of the "load", is 12%. How much more do they expect to squeeze the people that use text-messaging as their primary means of communication?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    @Justin Clements

    they aint gonna spend more on the infrastructure whether the tax is increased or not. they keep signing up new people without doing anything about the network.

    there are a lot of subscribers really starting to cross the line of "had enough, time to move to another network". some of my friends are now on Sun. 1 year ago this was really bad (i had to walk out into the street to get 1 bar of reception), but now the network is good and not too many subscribers. i guess as they get more popular they will go the same way.

    as the other AC says there are far too many public holidays. they just had one for the death of the leader of the Iglesia ni Cristo church. next week its the end of ramadan. then in november they have parties in graveyards for all saints day (same day as halloween). lots of the lower work force are hired on 6 month contracts since the employers can avoid taxes, pensions, paperwork etc. maybe the government should concentrate on this tax avoidance loophole.

    ok i was wrong, if they already pay 12% tax on text revenue then fair enough. that does seem like a decent amount. why should it be more. the problem when raising this tax rate is how do you increase the text rate. 1.5 is too much and the level of competition will keep this down. 1.1 or 1.2 is just plain silly.

    600m texts will not amount to £6m since, as i mentioned, a lot of these are on unlimited plans but it sure is a large amount of revenue per day. there are also problems with buying credit then it just disappears (a problem already highlighted by a senator). i just feel that the service of the two major companies has drastically declined recently and it's not acceptable. granted - forcing them to pay more tax is not really going to help, and the extra tax will just inflate pork barrels further.

    @Grease Monkey - and why shouldn't they be taxed on their profits. they are profiteering from the general public on a product that you have no choice but to buy (or indirectly buyt. isn't it price fixing when the price is higher than it should be? in the philippines the three major oil companies (shell, petron & caltex) pocket 170bn pesos profit every day. i can't imagine how many gold plated gravestones this pays for.

  11. Andy 97

    Poor souls

    My parents go out there on a regular basis (something to do with church work) and regularly bring back the most depressing and vile stories of how this country's government is little more than a bunch of "East-End thugs in suits", but about twice as crooked.

    Most of the people who live there consider themselves to be rich if they own a bag of rice.

    Taxing the only way they can communicate in an affordable manner is another example of their corrupt and utterly despicable ruling class.

    Rant over,

    I wouldn't be surprised if there was a communist uprising there one day soon.

  12. Bill Norrie

    I Wonder.....

    ...if Darling Alistair reads The Reg ? Might give him and Gordo some ideas....... Another easy target like the motorist

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