The People’s Democratic Government has the power of taxation

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Chief Political Consultant, National Democratic Front of the Philippines

The preparation, establishment and growth of the People’s Democratic Government (PDG) in the Philippines have been proclaimed and manifested by a series of basic documents, such as the following: the Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution on December 26, 1968, the Guide for Building Organs of Political Power in April 1971, the Guide for Establishing the People’s Democratic Government in October 1972, the Guidelines and Program of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in 1973 and 1977 and the Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Geneva Conventions of 1948, approved by the NDFP on July 5, 1996.

The PDG has a constitution founded on the sovereign will of the Filipino people and on the basic alliance of the working class and peasantry. It aims to complete the people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy under the class leadership of the working class and its revolutionary party. From its modest beginnings, the PDG has grown and spread mainly in the form of local organs of political power to more than 110 guerrilla fronts covering large parts of 17 regions and 71 provinces of the Philippines, as a result of revolutionary armed struggle and united front work against the US-directed reactionary government of big compradors and landlords. The rural-based revolutionary government and the urban-based reactionary government are co-belligerents in a civil war which has been going on since the first quarter of 1969.

The PDG has a comprehensive administrative structure from the village to higher levels (municipal or city, district, provincial and regional). At the basic level of the village, the local organs of political power develop from the stage of the appointive barrio organizing committees to the elective barrio revolutionary committees through various ways of consolidation, which involve the building of the local branch of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the revolutionary mass organizations of various exploited classes and sectors, the people’s militia and self-defense units of mass organizations and the formation of the five basic subcommittees for public education, mass mobilization, economy, defense and health, subject to the formation of further subcommittees in order to better serve the people.

The PDG has a comprehensive range of functions such as administration in general and overseeing programs and campaigns related to public education, mass organizing, land reform, raising production, finance, health, local defense, support for the people’s army, cultural affairs and matters of simple arbitration or trial by the people’s court. To carry out these aforesaid functions, the PDG must collect voluntary contributions from the people who benefit from gains made from the mass struggles and cooperative production and from compulsory taxes from private entities that are engaged in profit-making enterprises and are allowed to do so because their enterprises are beneficial and necessary to the people.

Voluntary contributions can be derived from gains made by the toiling masses as a a result of raising wages of farm and non-farm workers, reducing land rent and interest rests, eliminating land rent and usury, raising prices of agricultural products at the farm gate, increasing agricultural and nonagricultural production and undertaking cooperative production for the entire community or for the benefit of the people’s army. The most developed standards of voluntary contributions rom workers and peasants have been related to trade union struggle and the implementation of land reform. The Revolutionary Guide to Land Reform is among the first extensive documents issued by the CPP to carry provisions on voluntary contributions as well as compulsory taxes from rich peasants, enlightened gentry and entrepreneurs and merchants related to agriculture, orchards, forestry, fishery and handicrafts.

The largest amount of grain contribution comes from the poor and middle peasants as a result of land reform and raising production. The largest amount of cash contribution come from the nonfarm workers in relatively large enterprises as a result of trade union struggle. Contributions are considered voluntary because the contributors can negotiate with the organs concerned what amount to pay by taking into account family needs and the current status of the crops and other means of livelihood.

In any kind of economic activity, in which an individual, corporation, partnership or any other entity makes profits by buying the labor power of others, fair wages must be made to the workers and taxes must be paid by the entity concerned to the PDG according to standards and rates determined by the appropriate organs. A certain percentage of gross revenues of the private enterprise in the preceding year can be demanded by the PDG. The largest cash revenues of the PDG comes from compulsory taxation. Taxation is compulsory because failure to pay for it means the imposition of a fine in addition to arrears or the termination of the privilege and permit to operate the enterprise.

The PDG stands for the wise utilization and conservation of natural resources and for the economic development of the Philippines through national industrialization and land reform. It bans such enterprises as logging, mining and monocrop plantations which plunder, destroy and pollute the environment, poison the streams and marine life, cause landslides, floods and drought, ruin the production of food staples, export solely and mainly primary commodities (logs, mineral ores and agricultural products) and limit the land available for land reform. Subject to taxation, profitable enterprises may be permitted to operate only if their raw-material production serves national industrialization and domestic food, shelter and other needs of the people.

The taxes collected by the PDG are small compared to that collected by the reactionary government but are used mainly for the social and economic programs for the benefit of the people and secondarily for the subsistence and administration work of the cadres of the PDG and for the maintenance and expansion of the New People’s Army. The mass organizations of various types subsist and expand on their membership dues, cooperative projects and other resource-raising activities that they can undertake autonomously from the PDG.

In sharp contrast to the revolutionary government, the reactionary government collects taxes mainly from the working people and middle social strata in the form of income tax and excise taxes already added to the prices of goods and services that they buy and only secondarily at a lower rate from the big corporations and the top bracket of high income individuals. Under the neoliberal policy regime, the corporations and wealthy enjoy tax cutbacks while the working people and other impoverished masses suffer higher taxes and higher prices of basic commodities.

As a semicolonial and semifeudal country, the Philippines is dependent on raw material production for export and yet foreign exchange earnings always fall far short of the payment for imported manufactures and other products. The trade deficit is always aggravated by import of luxury products for the exploiting classes, military equipment and construction materials and equipment for upscale construction and graft-ridden infrastructure projects which draw away resources from national industrial development and tie down the economy to a backward, agrarian, pre-industrial and semifeudal status.

The export earnings, the foreign exchange remittances of overseas contract workers, the earnings of call center workers and the now dwindling flow of speculative capital (portfolio investments in financial markets) are never enough to cover the trade deficit, the profit remittances and capital repatriation by the foreign monopolies and the amortization of the accumulated foreign debt. Thus, the foreign debt is ever mounting with the availment of new loans even as the accumulated foreign debt also exacts a heavy toll on the economy.

The worst that the reactionary government does with its tax collection is to pay first for the amortization of the accumulated foreign debt with a large chunk of the budget, feed the insatiable corruption of the bureaucrats in handling business privileges and supply contracts with foreign and domestic companies, finance the military, police and paramilitary for controlling and suppressing the people and huge secret intelligence and operational funds for death squads and special operations.

The reactionary government likes to taunt the revolutionary movement for supposedly not having accomplished anything in 48 years of revolutionary armed struggle and yet it finds it necessary to negotiate peace with the NDFP as the representative of the revolutionary forces and people. It can only pretend to deny the nationwide existence and growing strength of the people’s democratic government, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, the revolutionary mass movement and the alliances.

Since the founding of the New People’s Army on March 29, 1969 by the Communist Party of the Philippines, the revolutionary forces and people have accomplished so much: from mere hundreds of CPP cadres and members to tens of thousands, from 9 automatic rifles to thousands (far beyond the AFP claim of 4000), from a few thousands of mass activists to millions and from the second district of Tarlac to more than 71 provinces and 17 regions of the country. The reactionary government boasts of being ready to fight for another 50 years. That is more than enough time allowance for the revolution to win total victory. ###