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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, May 16, 2018
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Just donít be obvious, he says

Ninfa Leonardia

Digong did not vote! The President of the Philippines did not exercise his responsibility to cast his vote in the first election held since he became president. Maybe he did not like the candidates in his home city? That’s a bad example, Sir. You also disappointed all those media people, some from Manila, who were eager to take your photo casting your vote. But I think the news about your failure to vote was more interesting than if you had gone and done the ordinary thing.

***

Anyway, all the media reports were about the Monday exercise being “generally peaceful”. In our country, “peaceful” means only about 30 got killed or maimed before and during the voting. Some even thought it was a boring election, and, like their President, did not bother to go to the polls at all. Will they also do that when the next presidential election comes, that is, if there is going to be one? If the move for federalism succeeds, we may have to vote for a leader with another title.

***

But the most shocking news, not only for vehicle owners, but also to transport companies and commuters was the announcement yesterday of the increase in fuel prices by an unprecedented P1.10 for gasoline, P1.20 for diesel and P.95 for kerosene. The escalation has been going on for several weeks now, and where it all end? Already, operators and drivers of public utility companies are sighing, and the sighs will soon come from their passengers who will have to brace themselves for the corresponding increase in fares, too.

***

The proposal may win pogi points from the congressmen who filed it, but I don’t think many Filipinos will agree with it, except, of course the beneficiaries. The bill wants to grant winners in the barangay elections to be considered as government employees and to receive the same salaries and benefits. Isn’t that rather hair-brained? Government employees possess civil service eligibilities, and had to pass government examination to acquire them. In the case of the barangay officials, they are only supposed to serve for a term of three years, until the next election. The proposal even includes the members of the Sangguniang Kabataan, some of whom may still be in school! One of the proponents happens to be a relative, but I fully disagree with him in this. I hope other members of Congress see this, too.

***

If you had believed that the EJKs are things of the past, check yourself. Note that almost everyday we still see reports in the national dailies about “drug suspects” being gunned down in various parts of the country. Not all the cases had be tagged as due to “nanlaban (they fought back)”, but there they are. No wonder foreign news agencies sometimes report the number of extra-judicial killings in our country by as much as 12,000! These days one tends to breathe a sigh of relief when one reads a news item saying that drug suspects were only “arrested”.

***

Meanwhile, do you know where the election yesterday was very boring and unexciting? It was in the exclusive villages in Makati where virtually no election was held because there was no opposition to those who had filed their certificates of candidacy, who only needed one vote to win. And this happened in the six “villages of the rich” – Forbes, Dasmarinas, Bel Air, Urdaneta, Magallanes and San Lorenzo. Even the posts for Sangguniang Kabataan were also not contested. The one who filed automatically won. Some barangays had only three candidates for SK councilors, so only three they will have until the next election.

***

What does the man on the street think of another brainstorm from two members of the House of Representatives who have filed a bill that would exempt a taxpayer from an audit and an investigation if he or she pays voluntarily 20 percent of the amount he or she or the company, had paid in the previous year? That is the intent of House Bill No. 7223 that is supposed to be “an incentive to voluntarily declare and pay a higher tax”. Does that mean the taxpayer can get away, even if he or she had made a much greater income in the current year, because the 20 percent will cover it all? Is that fair?

***

This is interesting. A headline in a national daily yesterday screamed that, 1,1000 local executives and representatives have been tagged for electioneering. The report came from Undersecretary Martin Dino of the Department of Interior and Local Government. Seems a lot of “chismis” had gotten to Dino about congressmen giving money to, and or convincing some to run. At the same time, however, Dino was quoted as saying, “Let’s admit it, these congressmen really supported those candidates, but it shouldn’t be obvious as the process is supposed to be apolitical”. Out of the mouths…. Please finish the sentence.*

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