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.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on January 12, 2018.
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