ACT Teachers Partylist and House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro urged President Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr. to “walk the talk” on payment of taxes. Castro’s statement was in response to Marcos Jr’s call for the public “to pay the correct amount of taxes on time to support the country’s economic recovery” in a speech he delivered during the launch of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) national tax campaign in Pasay City, Philippines on 7 February 2023.

“President Marcos Jr. is right in saying people should pay taxes on time, but he should walk the talk,” Castro responded.

“There has been a long-standing Supreme Court decision on the estate tax issues of the Marcos family, and they need to pay that. Otherwise, he does not have the moral ascendancy to call for the Filipino public to pay taxes,” she added.

In December 2021, the BIR sent a demand letter to Marcos to pay their estate tax dues amounting to Php203 billion from about Php23 billion in 1998. A Supreme Court ruling showed that the Marcoses’ estate tax assessment of Php23 billion became ‘final and executory’ in March 1999 after the latter failed to respond to the court.

Marcos Jr. and his mother, Imelda, are co-administrators of the estate left by the late dictator Marcos Sr who died in Hawaii on September 29, 1989.

“In reality, ordinary citizens are burdened by taxes all the time from paying basic consumer goods, utility bills, and income taxes among others. The people need immediate relief now. The government must suspend the excise tax and value added tax (VAT) on oil and basic commodities,” Castro said in a statement.

“Pres. Marcos Jr. should also certify as urgent the Wealth Tax Bill which we filed so as to let the richest 1% in the country to give back more to the country’s coffers,” ended Castro.

The call for a progressive wealth tax for the rich was revived as a recent report from Oxfam Pilipinas showed how nine of the richest Filipinos have more wealth than the bottom half (55 million) of the population.

The Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives has refiled a Super-Rich Tax Bill which proposes a 1-3% tax on billionaires. They said it would raise around Php236.7 billion a year from the 50 most wealthy Filipinos alone.