Whew! What an exacting, stressful yet very joyous Christmas for us!
No, it was not because we received so many material gifts but it was because we learned that there was a barrio size crowd of close relatives who came to attend a kind of reunion cum Christmas party organized by close family members to continue a tradition that had been developed slowly for years.
How surprised we were when children of all ages – sons, daughters, and even grandkids of still teenagers when we first started the annual Christmas gathering trooped to our residence, the venue of the activity.
And to think that the members of the families who attended were all bearing gifts for their expected Exchange Gift portion of the program slated to be held on the evening of the 24th. And there were even a number of extra gifts for those who were missed out in the listing of relatives and their new family members.
And our worries that the food the core families prepared for the occasion vanished as each of the attending families brought their own food contribution. And drinks were flowing courtesy of those who are working in other countries including those who had their vacation during the Christmas season.
So the erstwhile one-day or less holiday celebration went on for two days. It spelt over on the whole day of the 25th and even until late that night. And what met our weary and sleepless eyes yesterday morning were mountains of trash and piles of empty beverage and intoxicating drinks bottles.
That made the weary eyes of our family members wide open realizing that they have a lot of cleaning to do in the next hours of the day.
Of course we noticed that our household members seem not to mind it. All that experience of camaraderie and belongingness to a group of families was enough to boost their spirit. And the cleaning began with not even a murmur of complaint.
And talking of Christmas we hope you’ll allow us to extend these somewhat a little late greetings to our readers and friends, whether or not they remembered us during the holiday season.
But there is this one person who we would have liked to mention his name in a very special way. However, we could not as it is his wish that his name be held in strict confidence.
He has been very supportive to us since, as he claims, he is a beneficiary of one very generous widowed relative that made him the person that he is today.
Our wish for him this Christmas is that fate will be even more generous with him this coming New Year. That is, that this person will be granted his aspiration in life before his retirement from the service to the Filipino people.
Now we are directing this question to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). Which of these are subject to income tax by the government: Salaries and wages, honorarium, bonuses and incentives?
We are asking this question after we were told by not a few teachers that lately they were given the so-called Service Recognition Incentive (SRI) by the Department of Education. We heard it from at least five teachers assigned in public schools based in Davao City and three from Caraga Region. The amount of the incentive is equal among teachers regardless of their ranks and category in the teaching profession. It is P18,000.00 each.
However, we believe the teachers in Davao City deserve an explanation. According to our teacher-sources from Davao City, they were warned by certain DepEd officials that they should not post anything about the SRI in social media so that it will not create any fuss whatsoever.
To their surprise when they collected the P18 k SRI which was distributed in cash, they were informed that the total amount each teacher receives is minus P500 representing income tax. However, the deduction was not supported with any document like vouchers where the tax is reflected. The recipients, according to our teacher sources, were simply told that it was already net of the tax.
However, it was a different story from our teacher-informants coming from the Caraga Region specifically from the Division of Surigao del Sur. The Surigaonon teachers who were on vacation here in Davao City and staying in the house of a relative, told us there was not even a single centavo deducted from their SRI for whatever purpose. The BIR also needs to tell the teachers and the people in general what income is subject to be levied taxes. Is incentive granted in recognition of a service taxable?
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