Category: filipino elite

Beating the TRAIN

Milwida M. Guevara

… The TRAIN corrects some of the infirmities in the tax system but adds some more.  By opening more gaps, there are various ways by which taxpayers can get ahead of the station before the TRAIN does.

1  It is better to incorporate than to run a business as an individual. The highest rate on individual taxpayers will be 35% compared to 30% if he incorporates. If he pays himself in the form of a dividend, instead of wages, his tax burden will even be lower at 10%.

2  It is even better to organize the business into a cooperative. Cooperatives remain exempt from income taxation, including the VAT — except for electric cooperatives whose exemption has been withdrawn.

3  I cannot understand the preferential treatment for pickups. The TRAIN exempts them from excise taxation. Could it be that some lawmakers are in the pickup business (pun not intended)? But, nevertheless, shift your preference for pick- ups to escape the excise tax.

4  For taxpayers going to the great beyond, postpone the date until the Implementing Rules are formulated. The transfer tax has been lowered from 20% to 6%. Plus, the deductions have been brought up to P5.0 million pesos. And, several tax reliefs are given – family homes valued at P10.0 million are exempt, and the tax can be paid by the heirs in installment within a two-year period.

5  Postpone giving donations until next year. The donor’s tax has been lowered from 20% to 6%. Now it does not make a difference if you transfer your wealth while you are alive or when you have gone to the great beyond.

6  Do not rent houses for more than P15,000 a month – otherwise the rent will be subject to VAT. Do not buy houses that are more than P2.0 million. Buy adjoining  units that are P2.0 million each to escape the VAT.  And then later, connect the houses or rebuild them to give way to a much bigger house.

7  If you must get sick, choose diabetes and hypertension over cancer. Prescription medicine for these ailments is VAT exempt.

8  If you have not converted the engine of your motor vehicle to diesel, do so now. The preferential rate for diesel remains. Compare P2.50 per liter with P7.00 on unleaded gasoline in 2018.  And stick with diesel, by 2020, the tax rate will be at P4.50 compared to P10.00 for unleaded gas.

9  There is even a bigger advantage for cars powered by LPG. The tax rate is only P1.00 and will remain at P2.00 in 2020.

10  And, start patronizing tea and coffee from Starbucks, UCC, Bo’s, Coffee Bean, among others. The sweetened beverages that are prepared in these cafes will not be subject to the excise tax. Of course, it would be better to drink mineral water, including Evian and Pellegrino.  They are not subject to excise tax.  Beverages that are sweetened by sugar from coconut are also free from tax.

11  But the biggest winners are producers of motor vehicles. The excise tax rate has been lowered on those that are priced above P600,000. They used to be subject to rates ranging from 20% to 60%.   Now the tax rate has been lowered to 10% -50%.   I wonder why.

Indeed some are more blessed than the others when it comes to public policies.

duterte’s drug war & the “hearsay” divide

recently the president admitted na nagkamali siya when he promised to rid the country of shabu in six months, imposible daw pala, even in the next five years, it just cannot be done, he says, by a single president over just one term.

i thought it might mean a CHANGE in strategy, from killing killing killing alleged addicts and pushers without due process to finally policing customs and coastlines and preventing the smuggling of shabu and it’s component chemicals into the country.  but no.

He [said] having a long coastline to watch over and thousands of islands to guard make it difficult to prevent the entry of illegal drugs.

“We do not have the equipment, kulang man (It’s not enough). And you know the coastline,” he added.

he made us a new promise instead:

I assure you, by the time I make my—kung buhay pa ako (if I am still alive)—five years from now, drugs will be at its lowest,” he said.

too soon bato’s police were back on the streets big time, in multiple synchronous operations across bulacan, and later in manila.  killing alleged addicts and dealers without due process, puro hearsay, mostly info solicited from barangay peeps and neighbors, atbp., as if we didn’t know how easy it is to point fingers, especially if under duress of authorities with quotas to meet.  hearsay, sabi-sabi, is good enough in this environment, and once you’re on that list, it is said, you’re on the list forever, never mind if you’ve been rehabbed or you were clean to begin with at napagdiskitahan lang, which may have been the case with kian.

In an unusual move, allies of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate on Friday condemned the killing of a 17-year-old senior high school student in Caloocan City, with some pushing for a probe into the boy’s death and those of scores of suspects in the past bloody week described as the deadliest since the start of the government’s drug war in July last year.

This is one of the rare instances during which senators who belong to the majority caucus in the Senate have publicly spoken against the killings related to Duterte’s brutal and unrelenting war on drugs.

The policemen who shot to death Kian Loyd Delos Santos on Wednesday night were not only abusive but also “killers and criminals,” according to Sen. Francis Escudero.  “The CCTV footage and eyewitness account clearly show that the boy was killed.”

five more years?  we cannot have five more years of this.  it is too painful for the body politic, mr. president, sir.  and it is dangerous: what monsters are we turning our police forces into?  and we the people, do we really want to become desensitized to inhumane treatment by government?  read yen makabenta’s It’s not fun waking up in a ‘narco-state’.

When Duterte absolves the police of wrongdoing in the drug war, no matter what the abuses, I believe he is crossing a red line in constitutional government. It is dangerous to himself and to his presidency.

It is not explained away by protesting against due process of law and human rights.

The presidential rhetoric is both inflationary and demoralizing.

Believe it or not, the police profession is supposed to exercise intellectual leadership in the criminal justice system. The police must take the lead in the fight against crime and violence.

not all shabu addicts are bad people who get violent  and criminal under the influence and who deserve to be eliminated just like that.  and even addicts who do get violent and criminal do not deserve to be killed without due process and rehab options.  we are better than this.

but yeah our world would be a better place without shabu, and it’s weird that the president isn’t trying harder to turn off the supply.  the real job is to stop both the manufacture here and the smuggling-in of shabu and its components.  the customs shabu fiasco was the perfect opportunity for the president to demonstrate that all his tough talk vs. drugs and corruption is not just talk and empty threats.  instead he chose to prop up and make excuses for faeldon.

“But Faeldon, I will stand by him. He’s really honest. Kaya lang nalusutan siya because lahat diyan sa Customs, corrupt. My God,” Duterte said on Wednesday in his speech in Malacañang during the celebration of the 19th anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.

“I hope I would not offend any particular person but almost all [are corrupt]. Sila ‘yong magagandang bahay…magaganda ang kotse [They are those who have beautiful houses and beautiful cars] ,” he added.

he hopes he would not offend anyone in particular?  i am aghast.  seriously?  ayaw niyang maka-offend ng mga corrupt?  hindi siya nagagalit nang  bongga  sa mga corrupt na ito na tone-toneladas kung magpasok o magpapasok ng shabu?

it’s bad enough that hearsay is acceptable only in cases against the poor and powerless, not in cases against the rich and powerful.  what’s worse is, when they do have enough evidence and/or search warrants on the rich and powerful, the suspects end up dead.  as in, silenced forever.

in the bureau of customs naman, a different kind of silencing is going on.  in Have we truly become a full-blown narco state? kit tatad wonders what faeldon knows.

…something DU30 may not blithely ignore. Analysts close to this issue, however, believe Faeldon may be in possession of certain sensitive information, which makes it hard for DU30 to get rid of him, unless he volunteers to step down. …Amid the apparent efforts of some quarters to link DU30’s son Paolo, the vice mayor of Davao City, to the dangerous drugs shipment from Xiamen, Faeldon has not said one word clearing him of any suspicion. If Faeldon knows Paolo is not at all involved in any monkey business at the pier, shouldn’t he have come to his defense after the customs broker Mark Taguba mentioned his name, quoting wild rumors, in a congressional hearing? He did not.

…The problem is, a photo has surfaced in the social media showing Paolo in a friendly pose with Kenneth Dong, the alleged middleman in the illegal P6.4 billion drug shipment. And some people are giving undue importance to it. No one is saying the young man has any fascination for any narco king—whether it be Burma’s late opium king Khun Sa, or Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, or Mexico’s Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. But by linking him to Kenneth Dong and the rest of his narco chain, his enemies clearly want to show his guilt by association.

the president himself has minced no words about how much worse the corruption is than he thought, shabu-related corruption in particular.

He [said] that the war on drugs had exposed so many people involved in the business of illegal drugs, it was like pressing “worms out of a can.”

“I didn’t have an idea that there are hundreds of thousands of people already in the drug business. What makes it worse is they are cooperated now by people in government, especially those in elected positions. So, it will be government versus government,” he added.

there’s the rub.  government vs. government.  big shots vs. big shots.  tila nga napakaraming very-important-people and their networks ang tatamaan. napakaraming mawawalan ng trabaho (kawawa naman).  at magkakaalaman, mabubuking (sa wakas), kung sinosino nga ba sa mga honourable na iyan ang sinasandalan at dinadatungan ng mga drug lord.  sinosino ba sa mga honourable na iyan na nagmamalinis ang mga kalaban pala, mga kaaway pala, ng taong-bayan. clear lines would finally be drawn, and that would be oh so good for nation.

i’d have thought that a showdown was right up digong’s alley.  i thought he might be the anti-hero hero who would end narco rule and institute systemic changes, set things right, no matter what.  alas, our astig prez seems to be intimidated out of his wits.  too much baggage?

“I have to stop drugs, really stop. And it will stop,” he said in a speech during a tourism event in Davao City Friday night.  “I will kill you if you destroy my country and you start f****** with my children,” he added.

“my children”?  slip of the tongue?  or just another bad joke.

breaking the law with Uber

Harvard Business Review‘s Uber Can’t Be Fixed–It’s Time for Regulators to Shut It Down is a must read if you want to know why the LTRFB is right to suspend uber, and why it’s a little embarrassing how outraged many uber users are — it’s all about public service daw, and LTRFB is so palpak in public service and public transport, so let uber be.  besides the units and the drivers are so nice and mabango, not like the MRT and LRT stations and bagons that are so sikip and scary, and you have to make pila pa.

never mind that with uber, no one’s accountable in case of accident or other mishap.  never mind the horrible traffic, swollen by more than a hundred thousand uber units plying metromanila, and not enough roads.  and never mind that uber is about breaking the law.  ours is a culture of illegality anyway.  and we can rant and rave all we want about how corrupt government is, but then so are we who celebrate uber’s subversion of the law just  because it’s oh so convenient and comfortable, and oh so sosyal.

what if we were oh so outraged instead, along with the less moneyed classes, by the transportation department’s turtle pace in upgrading our decrepit mass transport systems?  imagine if we were as passionate about this as we are about supporting uber that’s really just another bunch of foreigners capitalizing, and counting, on a complicit elite, what a shame.

Elitism in the time of Duterte

Katrina S.S.

The upside to having a President like Rodrigo Duterte is that we are finally weeding out the elitists among us. And I don’t mean those who think that Duterte is so bastos, is so not a statesman, is so not President-material because not disente. No, this is beyond just some good ol’ Liberal Party campaign elitism. This is its more evil, less apologetic, more insidious twin. Elitists who even imagine themselves to be pro-poor, because they feel for them and wish to empower them, because they speak of the plight of the poor and the inequality in society.

Read on…