Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion - SUNBURSTS

FI­NANCE Sec­re­tary Sonny Dominguez took the per­sonal ini­tia­tive to ex­plain the im­pact of the land­mark Tax Re­form for Ac­cel­er­a­tion and In­clu­sion. This af­ter some artists at­tempted to tweak the real and eq­ui­table ben­e­fits that Filipinos will de­rive from TRAIN. It is rather sad that some quar­ters are mud­dling up the pos­i­tive im­pacts of the new tax re­form law but funny enough to make the in­crease of the price of Coca-Cola as their prin­ci­pal is­sue as though it is the na­tional fetish of Filipinos. Truth is im­pos­ing higher tax on the sweet drink is a panacea to what seems to be an in­cur­able pro­cliv­ity of Pi­noys for Coke. The cola, just like cig­a­rettes, is among the top causes of af­flic­tion and death of us Pi­noys - di­a­betes.

By the way those who are now de­pen­dent on drugs for their di­a­betes the news is the pre­scribed drugs will be tax free and there­fore ex­pect the price to plum­met. In sum­mary and in sum, those who earn P250,000 keeps their P50,000 tax which they use to pay. Those in the up­per bracket en­joy tax ben­e­fits too. We have to em­pha­size this as this is where the largest pop­u­la­tion of wage earn­ers be­long. The thou­sands of public school teach­ers will cel­e­brate once they get hold of their take home pay.

The bur­den now is ac­tu­ally trans­ferred to the rich and they bet­ter not dodge pay­ing the right tax oth­er­wise life will be a lit­tle bit more dif­fi­cult for them un­der the Duterte regime and while the Depart­ment of Fi­nance is un­der the watch of Sec­re­tary Dominguez. Why make an is­sue about the lux­ury cars be­ing taxed a lit­tle less. Just how many lux­ury cars can one have in his garage. But think about the other in­cen­tives if you are re­ally hunt­ing for a car. An en­vi­ron­ment friendly ve­hi­cle like an elec­tric car is even tax free and a hy­brid va­ri­ety with so lit­tle tax. In­cen­tive is the key word. In short when the team of Sec­re­tary Dominguez crafted TRAIN, they are not only look­ing for money to fund the mas­sive in­fra­struc­tures that we are so in dire need of, they are also look­ing af­ter the health of the na­tion. Those who find fault in TRAIN will not just stop with Coke which they had raised to un­der­score the neg­a­tive im­pact of the tax re­form law on the poor­est of the poor. It is ac­tu­ally be­la­bor­ing the is­sue but to an­swer the id­i­otic ques­tion DSWD ac­tu­ally has funds for them and their will be cor­re­spond­ing ad­just­ments that is pro­vided for by TRAIN.

What maybe they would raise next are the beg­gars in the streets. These poor and the men­di­cants are not in the radar screen of TRAIN when it comes to tax but just the same they are part of the in­clu­sion. The rev­enues that TRAIN will raise is pri­mar­ily for in­fra­struc­tures. Rail­ways, roads and bridges, air­ports, sea­ports and ir­ri­ga­tion among others. In ad­di­tion to the bil­lions of pe­sos that TRAIN will raise are cheap loans from Ja­pan and China. Never in our his­tory do we have this avail­ment of cheap money which comes with an in­cred­i­ble terms that give the coun­try a hol­i­day of over ten years be­fore we start pay­ing the loans. That is why un­der the BUILD, BUILD, BUILD pro­gram the mo­men­tum of de­vel­op­ment could be much faster that our usual ex­pec­ta­tion.

Even with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the projects, ex­pect short­ages in skilled per­son­nel es­pe­cially in the rail­way projects. Sec­re­tary Arthur Tu­gade had ad­vanced the idea of set­ting up a Rail­way in­sti­tute while con­struc­tion is on­go­ing be­cause manag­ing and main­tain­ing rail­ways are some­thing strange to Filipinos. Other in­fra­struc­tures, like roads, bridges and build­ing would be need­ing thou­sands of work­ers. With net­work of in­fra­struc­tures ex­pect pro­duc­tiv­ity to rise above nor­mal lev­els. These will gen­er­ate if not mo­ti­vate peo­ple to pro­duce more as ac­cess to the mar­kets will now be cheaper and their prof­its dou­bled. The en­tire na­tion is cel­e­brat­ing the prospects and the dawn­ing of the new era. The sur­veys say it all. An over­whelm­ing num­ber of Filipinos look up to 2018 and be­yond with un­prece­dented op­ti­mism. This is only shad­owed by the re­sults of the sur­veys which show an all time high in the TRUST and SAT­IS­FAC­TION rat­ings which are pegged in the grade of “Ex­cel­lence”.

No mat­ter how and what the op­po­si­tion and crit­ics will do no amount of de­mo­niz­ing and ral­lies can di­min­ish that trust and sat­is­fac­tion or de­rail the pro­grams of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion. The President is fo­cused on his agenda, and his Cabi­net mem­bers are on track. Even the play­ers in tele­com in­dus­try which had been so lag­gard and so in­ept for decades and have be­come a na­tional shame are now un­easy with the mere an­nounce­ment of the en­try of the third Tele­com player. The du­op­oly sud­denly came out with se­ries of an­nounce­ment that they are pour­ing in bil­lions of dol­lars to ad­dress the slug­gish in­ter­net speed, drop calls and in­ad­e­quate avail­abil­ity of tele­com ser­vice in the coun­try. Oh well, these du­op­oly thought they have the mo­nop­oly of and knowl­edge of the tele­com tech­nol­ogy and how to run it. Early in the Pres­i­dency of Duterte, one of them had the temer­ity of telling the President to leave tele­com alone as this is an area where the du­op­oly has the sole ex­per­tise.

To their sur­prise this President, whom they thought is so probin­syano, his knowl­edge of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions can­not go be­yond tele­gram and other so-called “legacy” tele­com prod­ucts, is ac­tu­ally abreast with the time. Ex­pect the dra­matic de­vel­op­ment in the tele­com in­dus­try as some­thing be­yond the sound bites, which the big play­ers are now feed­ing us, will be changes and re­forms that will emerge this first quar­ter of 2018 as the President had wanted to hap­pen. President Duterte can­not frus­trate the trust and sat­is­fac­tion of the en­tire na­tion on him. Cer­tainly this is not about the crit­ics fetish for Coke, this is about life, liveli­hood and de­vel­op­ment.

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