“The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes.”
— Lao Tzu
By Alex P. Vidal
When people are hungry and desperate, they steal foods, commit crimes like robbery and holdup, and vandalize government offices.
Poverty breeds lawlessness. A hungry stomach fears no authority.
Survival instinct means food is a hungry man’s only god; which explains why during calamities, victims resort to lawlessness, storm and empty padlocked supermarkets and grocery stores despite the presence of cops.
But why vandalize or destroy government properties? There are two reasons for this: 1.The hungry are outraged and blame the government for their woes; and 2.They think the government is rich and awash with cash, thus they target the treasurer’s offices like what happened recently in Escalante City, Negros Occidental and Concepcion, Iloilo.
Thieves carted away some P2 million cash from the vault of the Escalante city hall last July 11 when the janitor reportedly failed to lock the office, police said.
Police also reported that robbers ransacked the vault of the Concepcion municipal treasurer’s office and ran away with P490,000 cash by forcibly opening the office’s sliding window last July 19.
Probers led by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are eyeing an inside job in both heists, but are not ruling out the involvement of other civilians not connected in the two offices.
Although the two robberies occurred in a span of only one week, police found no reason to connect them as the offices were located miles away separately in two islands.
But the twin robbery incidents could be used as patterns for those intending to rob government offices like the capitol, city hall and municipal hall.
Thieves now have an idea that some treasurer’s offices, just like some of the pawnshops, money lending corporations and money transfer outlets, do not actually deposit all their cash in the bank after office hours.
The burglaries in Escalante and Concepcion should send alarm signals to other treasurer’s offices in Western Visayas.
We expected a zugzwang in the public hearing conducted by the Iloilo city council’s committee on ways and means headed by Councilor Plaridel Nava on the proposed increase in real property taxes (RPT) at the City Hall penthouse area last July 18.
The Iloilo Business Club and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Iloilo opposed the measure put forward by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog who dangled a proposed 50 percent to 100 percent RPT increase.
It’s good that both sides have agreed to confer with City Hall’s local finance committee to address the concerns aired by the private sector groups determined to protect the interests of their members as well as those of the incoming investors.
Any discussion about proposed increases in taxes—real property and otherwise–is always chaotic and bloody, to say the least.
The cons, or those against it, will always outnumber the pros, or those who support it which includes the proponents.
Since the time of the Roman Empire, residents have struggled against all forms of taxation; opposition has been vigorous and passionate.
“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” Jesus was quoted by historians as saying.