Pinay Boxer Jujeath Nagaowa becomes the face of crusade against overtaxing and corruption in the Philippines
By Rich Mazon
29 Aug 2015
If recent reports that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will return the tax imposed on Jujeath Nagaowa’s championship belt are to be believed, the 27 year old fighter from the Cordillera has breathe a sigh of relief that this issue will finally come to a close.
Nagaowa in an interview with Philboxing.com also expressed vindication that her side of the story was supported by millions of her countrymen in the Philippines and abroad.
“Grabe. Hindi na nga ako maka-comment at reply, like ng like na lang ako dun sa Facebook. Wala akong masabi, Speechless.” an overwhelmed Nagaowa remarked on the millions who supported her cause on Facebook.
(It is incredible. I cannot even post any more comments and replies; all I did was liked their posts on Facebook. I can’t describe it, I am speechless.)
What began as a Facebook post by Nagaowa, wherein she complained on how the Bureau of Customs obliged her to pay nearly six-thousand pesos as tax for the vacant Women's International Boxing Association (WIBA) International light flyweight title belt which she won in Macao, China last June 6, became the rallying point for millions who are critical of the recent issues regarding the BOC.
The BOC and its chief, Alberto Lina is under fire from millions of Filipinos all over the globe after it announced that they will impose new taxes and randomly open ‘balikbayan boxes’ that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s) and Filipinos that reside abroad send as gifts to their families and friends in the country.
Social Media became the outlet of ire, disgust and complaint by Filipinos who criticized and derided the bureau and Lina’s planned actions.
This is when Nagaowa shared her recent experience on Facebook on how her championship belt, which was supposed to be tax-free in the first place, was held by unknowledgeable personnel of the department, unless the said tax was paid by her.
Her post spread like wildfire in Social Media and it has spilled over traditional media like broadcast and print.
The boxer admitted that without the issue on the ‘balikbayan boxes’, her plight won’t be recognized by millions.
“Sigurado po yun.” (That is for sure.) she remarked.
Her promoter Brico Santig of Highland Boxing Promotions and trainer Jayvee Alipio paid the 5,819 peso tax assessment on her belt - the fruit of Nagaowa’s blood, sweat and tears. It was only then that it was released to them.
“Award naman yun at recognition for the Philippines kaya dapat walang tax. Dahil hindi naman negosyo yan na may tax.” Santig told the Customs men at that time.
(That was an award and recognition for the Philippines and that it should not be taxed. This is not like a business endeavor wherein they can impose taxes.)
Santig’s plea fell into deaf ears.
“Sabi ko sa Customs dapat exempted kasi athlete yan at saka pinaghirapan niya sa laban. Wala pa rin.”
(I told Customs that she should be exempted from paying anything because she is an athlete and that she worked hard and fought for it. They still did not listen.)
Nagaowa routed Luo Yu Jie of China in Jie’s home turf by the way of a Unanimous Decision victory in 10 rounds to win the title.
Nagaowa did not suffer any knockdowns on that championship match but was instead knocked down by her very own government and some of her misinformed countrymen from the BOC when they denied her the recognition of being a champion.
“Sana hindi na ito maulit. Siguro nangyari naman ito hindi lang para sa akin kundi rin para sa mga susunod pa at sa iba pang mga atleta. Maging lesson sana ito sa lahat.” said Nagaowa.
(I hope that this does not happen anymore. I would like to think that this happened not just for me but for other athletes as well. I hope this becomes a lesson to all.)
As the resolution to her case is drawing to a close, Nagaowa thanked her countrymen who supported her on this ordeal.
“Sabi ko nga, hindi kaya ako nito hahanapin. Nagulat talaga ako at nakita ko naman yung mga posts,halos lahat naman ay sumusuporta sa akin. “
(I told myself, maybe someone will try to hunt me and pin me down, I was surprised by the support I received and when I saw their posts, almost everyone advocated for me.)
“Sabi nga nila, nasa tama naman tayo. Iyong totoo lang naman ang sinabi namin doon.” remarked the champion boxer and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter.
(They told me, that we are in the right. All I revealed was what truly occurred.)
Whether she likes it or not, Nagaowa, the 27 year old and 5’0 Pinay fighter from La Trinidad, Benguet in the northern mountains of the Philippines, became the face of the battle by her countrymen against an untrustworthy and profiteering agency in a country that has constantly struggled against corruption in their government.
If the wrong on Nagaowa is corrected by the Philippine government, this might be her biggest victory outside of the ring.
You can reach the author at email@example.com and @Freemazon910.
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