The Covid-19 global pandemic, without a doubt, has affected all of us, some more than others. As a result of the quarantine restrictions imposed by the government authorities, a number of industries have been adversely affected and the following immediately come to mind:
1. Hotel and restaurant
2. Tourism and resort
3. Airline and cruise ships
4. Automotive and transport
5. Malls and department stores
6. Movie theatres, entertainment and events
Note that the above industries will take a while to recover as long as Covid-19 protocols and restrictions are in place. Amongst the more common requirements are social distancing, limited physical contact, increased sanitation, travel restrictions, reduced capacity and various bureaucratic requirements such as health and medical clearances.
However, the real problem is the fear that is being instilled into the general population in the hope of the unrealistic expectation that everyone will simply stay home.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the number of deaths from COVID-19 worldwide is now more than 730,000 as of August 10, 2020. In comparison, according to the World Health Organization the yearly number of deaths from the Flu is from 290,000 to 650,000. On this basis alone, it would seem that there is an overreaction to this “global pandemic.” While I personally believe all life is precious, is it worth killing several industries and plunging the world into a global recession? Perhaps it should also be studied how many people died as a direct consequence of the quarantine imposed on the general population which caused people to have no jobs, restrict access to medicine and health care, and the physical and mental problems caused by limited mobility and isolation.
It is difficult to say if in this case the cure is worse than the disease. The problem is at hand and we have several industries in ICU that means millions of Filipinos are already or soon will be out of a job. What then can the government do to help these workers who no longer have jobs and these industries to recover? It would make sense not to further burden them. For example, the already struggling auto and transport industry, is getting no relief at all! Recently additional taxes on fuel products were implemented and the new road user’s tax will increase registration expenses by 3 times, plus annual increases!
For the workers, we have been giving to indigent families the 4Ps, perhaps it is about time to give back to the taxpayers who lost their jobs! The best way to do this is through the SSS or giving to those who have a TIN and can show that they are indeed paying taxes till this pandemic hit. This would be something like a jobless claim that can be filed by those who lost their job. Additionally, those affected industries should be exempted from paying taxes including Mayor’s permits, real estate taxes and allowing tax loss carryforward. Furthermore, these businesses should be given relief aid. If the government can give billions of pesos to people who have limited or no contribution to society, it should be able to give the same if not more aid to businesses that have continuously been providing jobs, taxes and service to society!
What is worrisome now is that our government has run out of funds and needs to raise money, and the way they will do this is tax the very same companies that need relief. What has happened is that money was spent on aiding the most unproductive segments of the population and to make this possible, it will further tax the working segments of society making them globally uncompetitive and less viable.
There is only one ending to this downward spiral of disincentive and it isn’t a pleasant one.
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