Last Fridays, several bloggers had an informal meeting with Senator Mar Roxas at Annabel’s in Tomas Morato. The talks covered the much-reviled value added tax to governance to The Dark Knight. As many bloggers have already shared their thoughts on the meeting, I will point out one thing that nobody has bothered talking about, plus some points that should have been asked the senator.
Someone asked about Charter change, and the senator said he is fundamentally opposed to it. He will oppose it at the Senate, and he thinks that if all else fails, the proposed charter will be defeated in a plebiscite. Here is where I disagree with the senator. If there is one thing you should never do about Gloria Arroyo, it is underestimating her.
After all, the Comelec is in tatters. Second, the system that produced a Garci and a Bedol is still in place. And what if the people is forced to vote for it if it will bring peace to Mindanao?
I feel that he’s a pro in answering questions – he answers by staying safe, without sharing much that might damage his chances, little concrete and more on the abstract. And he has to work on delivering his message: his metaphor confused some of the bloggers (though The Jester-in-Exile liked it). Maybe his examples worked for the current audience, but I am not sure if it would work somewhere else.
There were questions on VAT, on why Roxas wanted to lift VAT on oil, and should the income tax be removed instead? His explanation on the last question made sense, but I think most middle class people would find it hard to accept. Let me start by sharing the senator’s answer. He said that income tax is theoretically imposed with a redistributive effect – what is taken is to be given back to the people through infrastructure, government services, the works. It is graduated according to one’s income – the higher your income, the higher is the tax assessed on you. As for the VAT, it is a consumption tax. That means, everyone is being taxed, regardless of income. So the poor is the biggest loser in VAT.
And, with what I am hearing from co-workers and other middle class people, the regime’s Katas ng VAT has a negative impact on people. From what I am hearing, the people argues that since this regime is getting a windfall from VAT, and only the poor benefits from it, why not remove it entirely? At the way it is being spent, it appeared to them that the regime does not lack the money, so the VAT is unnecessary.
Anyway, I digress. On questions of his running at 2010, he categorically stated that he was not announcing his intention, but as Jester said, he is not categorically denying, either he he.
How I wish the question about family planning was asked. There are more questions that need to be asked, like who does his hair or his plans on restoring people’s trust on political institutions. And there were no questions about his ideas on IT.
Here are some reports from other bloggers:
Senator Mar Roxas and New Media
Blogger Meet up with Senator Mar Roxas
Up Close with Senator Mar Roxas
An Encounter With Mar Roxas
Mar Roxas Asks: What Do We Have To Show For P7-Trillion?
Marocharim Meets Mar Roxas
Sen. Mar Roxas blogs, for real
Mar Meets the Bloggers
Dialogue with Senator Mar Roxas
Mar Roxas, The 2010 Elections, and The Internet
The Bayong and the Floppy Hat: Mr. Palengke Meets The Jester-in-Exile (et alii heh heh)