The recent SONA (State of the Nation Address) delivered by President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III before a nationwide audience stressed the need to generate funds to support both the immediate and long-term government projects.
And one way to generate substantial government revenue is to efficiently collect taxes that are imposed on every income-earning citizen. Basically, the principle of tax collecting is: the more you earn, the higher the percentage that you have to remit.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has recently announced its campaign to look closely into the income of self-employed workers, which includes entertainment celebrities.
BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto in an interview aired on ANC last July 6, mentioned that it is much easier to monitor celebrity income since the agency could "watch TV, look at billboards and magazines."
In the past, celebrities like Richard Gomez, Regine Velasquez, and Judy Ann Santos encountered legal problems stemming from allegations of tax evasion.
TOP CELEB TAX PAYERS. But there are also showbiz names that made it to the Top Individual Taxpayers list.
In a report made public by the BIR and PCIJ (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism), Filipino boxing pride and Sarangani representative Manny Pacquiao leads the list of individual taxpayers covering the year 2008.
Former Wowowee host Willie Revillame came next, followed by matinee idol and Noah lead star Piolo Pascual.
"Siyempre hindi biro ang babayaran ko. Anim na milyon mahigit. Kung 'yan ang legal, yun ang gagawin ko... Kung blessed ka naman, bakit mo lolokohin ang bayan, lolokohin ang gobyerno? Okay naman, maganda naman ang nakikita ko sa bansa natin...doon napupunta ang tax natin sa aking opinyon. As a taxpayer, kuntento naman ako," Revillame said in an August 15, 2008 interview after personally paying his taxes at the BIR office in Quezon City.
Controversial host and presidential sister Kris Aquino occupies the eight spot while comedian Michael V (Beethoven Bunagan in real life) places tenth overall.
The rest of the names in the top ten are non-showbiz personalities: Elaine Gardiola, Ronaldo Soliman, Rainero Borja, Angel Veloso Jr., and Walter Brown.
The BIR early this year released only the names but refrained from divulging "sensitive" and personal information about the individuals, including the total amount they earned and the corresponding remittances.
Making the names public, according to the tax collecting agency, may encourage more individuals to file their tax returns diligently.