Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Kim Henares will go down in history as the most enterprising commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Philippines’ tax agency.
She has been in the limelight for her personal crusade to collect taxes from the earnings of world Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. But she is not focusing only on the rich and famous. She has issued new policies taxing cigarettes and ultimately the cigarette vendors, as well as small business people who make a living by selling used items at flea markets and other short-time street festivals like the Christmas night market.
Now, in the boldest move yet in her career as the taxwoman, Henares has announced that all street food vendors will now be required to pay taxes and to issue official receipts for every sale. These include vendors of balut (boiled duck embryo), taho (sweet tofu snack), mani (roasted peanuts), barbecue pork, chicken, and other favorites like pig ears, chicken feet, and pork blood – more popularly known in the Philippines as walkman, adidas and betamax, respectively.
Balut and taho vendors will feel the brunt of the new regulations because in addition to the sales tax, they will be charged an additional 5% travel tax. Unlike other street vendors who set up stationary stalls along Metro Manila sidewalks, balut and taho vendors are constantly on their feet, moving from one neighborhood to another to sell their goods.