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 Philippine tax collectors join dance mania

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Magic Man13
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PostSubject: Philippine tax collectors join dance mania   Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:48 am



CEBU, Philippines (AFP) – In the land of dancing prisoners and airline cabin crews, Philippine tax collectors have also caught the toe-tapping bug.

Hundreds of people now queue to pay their business and property taxes in Cebu, the country's number-two city, with the added incentive of watching the staff shake their hips, said city treasurer Ofelia Oliva.

"We say to them, paying your taxes is no longer a burden," Oliva, a grandmother who leads the dancing, told AFP.

She said daily local tax collections had risen 42.8 percent to five million pesos (115,700 dollars) since Monday, when the 320-member staff launched the dance routine with pop star Shakira's 2010 FIFA World Cup theme "Waka Waka".

The twice-daily performances, one in mid-morning and another in the afternoon, now also include Earth Wind and Fire's "Boogie Wonderland" and Mardi Gras-themed routines complete with colourful tribal costumes.

Oliva said she developed the shows following an order from city mayor Michael Rama.

"The mayor said we should get the taxpayers to pay with a smile," she said.

Just 5.5 million of the Philippines' labour force of nearly 40 million pay income taxes, according to the internal revenue bureau.

New President Benigno Aquino has launched a "name-and-shame" campaign to get more people to pay their tax obligations with a series of high-profile criminal cases filed against celebrities and businessmen.

Cebu made its name in the world of dance with provincial jail prisoners dancing to Michael Jackson's zombie "Thriller" tune.

A 2007 clip of their performance has logged nearly 45 million hits on the video sharing website YouTube.

Cebu Pacific, a budget airline named after the city, followed suit recently, and footage of its female cabin crew dancing to a Lady Gaga tune has drawn 8.7 million hits over the past two weeks on YouTube.

Manila Bulletin
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