Wenceslao: The new year

I DON’T really go for mechanically separating the previous year with the new one and making January 1 like a door to another era. I like the Marxist theory that the world is a world of processes, each going through its beginning, peak and passing away. There is therefore nothing new in the new year except the number—2018—and even that signifies a continuation of the earth’s evolution, as it is the year following 2017.

Anyway, I may have to oblige somewhat to tradition. In the Chinese horoscope, the next phase is the Year of the Earth Dog. I am not a Chinese but the English word “earth” signifies something material or practical. So while the next year carries the characteristic of a dog, whose main trait is being loyal to its boss, it is also earthy, whatever that signifies.

The next year being the year of the dog, what would that make of puppies (in Tagalog, “tuta”) and lapdogs? What will that make of the Pantaleon Alvarezes, Mocha Usons and even the Alan Cayetanos and Koko Pimentels of the world? Will 2018 be the year they would—in their “canine” loyalty (I could not resist punning) to their boss, they would succeed in ousting the chief justice, the ombudsman and the vice president?

But back to where I started. Since what will happen next year would be just a continuation of what happened this year, what are this year’s major process that began unfolding and which could affect us next year? I will start with TRAIN that the Duterte administration brewed as early as in late 2016 but which Congress served to President Rodrigo Duterte only this December.

The tax reform, wrapped in the sugary income tax incentive imposition, is actually meant to increase government revenue to fund its Build, Build, Build Program. Meaning that it is, overall, an increase in government-conceived taxes. Of particular concern is the tax imposed on fuel, which would have a ripple effect on everything. What would TRAIN’s effect be on all of us?

The House of Representatives focused this year on Chief Justice Sereno, with the committee on justice trying to flog a dead horse of a case that was filed by a lawyer who does not have personal knowledge of the points he is alleging. But the committee got a good dose of help from Supreme Court associate justices who don’t like Sereno as first among equals. Their anti-Sereno tirades aren’t impeachable offenses, but their helping the impeachment effort could deceive the public.

By the way, 2018 is the year before the 2019 mid-term elections. This year the opposition Liberal Party is revitalizing its ranks with an open recruitment of members (not just limited to politicians). The administration PDP-Laban has started naming potential candidates for senator, with Alvarez even naming Uson as possible bet. Expect the propaganda work from both sides to intensify next year.

At the local level, it looks like the opposition in Cebu City still have more discussing to do on who should run for mayor against the Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan’s (BOPK’s) Tomas Osmena, what with former mayor Michael Rama refusing to see the sign on the wall. Will he insist on running for mayor when his group has a more viable bet in Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella?
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