Category: VAT

esposo’s “revolutionary situation” #VAT

william m. esposo, philstar columnist and true-blue, i mean, -yellow, aquino supporter, is as annoyed about #noynoying as leftist (pa ba? more like red-turned-yellow) joel rocamora.  and esposo is now calling the youth activists (who coined “noynoying”) “ANAYchists,” as in termites, who undermine stability and peddle unrealistic solutions to the oil price hikes.

i think it’s a poor metaphor.  having to deal with termites where i live, i know they only feed on wood, and they are destructive but can be held at bay.

in fact, there’s nothing wooden about government (well, except the forests under the care of the state, which are mostly gone, converted into cash by a different exclusive breed of anay); and there’s nothing destructive about these youth activists who are really more like askal watchdogs whose barks are worse than their bites.  and it’s not as if, historically, government has not vigilantly, and successfully, held them at bay, as rocamora would know.

of course, the noise that squealing yelping high-alert watchdogs make when faced with suspicious smells and sounds (lalo na when something’s rotten sa kapaligiran) can be most irritating and can keep you awake at night, especially if you or your boss is in charge for another four years.  you must now realize that you guys promised too much, and so “noynoying” has gained traction.  kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap, you said, a promise to address corruption and poverty.  little did we not know that the fulfillment of the promise would hinge on chief justice corona’s and gloria arroyo’s persecution, i mean, prosecution, and conviction.  meanwhile the corruption everywhere else continues, nothing has changed, except maybe it’s gotten worse.

“noynoying” is a clever critique of the president’s do-nothing approach to the spiralling costs of everyday essentials due to the spiralling costs of oil products and electricity.  true, the president is in no position to influence the global ups and downs in the price of oil.  however, he IS in a position to undo gloria arroyo’s VAT on oil products and electricity, which, until gloria, were VAT-exempt, like food and other essentials.  and he IS in a position to ask congress as well to revisit and amend, nay, railroad amendments to, EPIRA, particularly with regard to provisions that allow power companies to pass on all kinds of costs to consumers.

instead, the aquino admin is on damage-control mode, but the defense is weak, we’ve heard it all before, ito na rin ang mga excuse ni gma noon.  but maybe esposo, and his president’s men, have forgotten, or weren’t paying attention:

To scrap the oil deregulation law is to subsidize the petrol needs of Filipinos. That’s something we cannot afford to do and to do it is to upset the fiscal position that we now have that’s generating rating upgrades and attracting foreign investors. To remove or reduce the VAT on petrol will result in the same worse scenario of wreaking havoc on our fiscal position. The ANAYchists simply want to provoke a revolutionary situation.

esposo might not be wrong about “a revolutionary situation,” bully for the youth activists.     but he is wrong about everything else.  “subsidize”?  we have always paid, we will continue to pay, hangga’t kaya — it’s not as if we have a choice — but please, without all the patong, that is, taxes upon taxes.  and what foreign investors?  given our high power rates mismo (no thanks to EPIRA and VAT) and poor infrastructure, among many other unattractive features, all we ever attract is “hot money” (pang-stockmarket lang) that goes out as quickly as it comes in, the foreigners and local elite laughing all the way to their banks, without any real positive effect on the economy on the ground.

as for credit rating upgrades — highly desired because it allows government to borrow more and more, again and again, from foreign creditors, borrowing and spending, beyond our means, and nothing much of significance to show for it except a ballooning foreign debt.  upgraded credit ratings are based on enhanced capacity to repay loans, that is, based on increased revenues.  yeah, right, at our expense, an imposition, no less, of an obscene 12% VAT on essential petroleum products and electricity (hitherto VAT-exempt, it bears repeating), on top of other taxes (it bears repeating).

this email addendum to When VAT on oil is “crooked road” (thanks, rudy coronel) explains further why arroyo then was, and aquino now is, loathe to give up VAT on oil.  after all, it’s like, you know, a la juan tamad: without having to lift a finger, cash comes rolling in, never mind where it’s coming from.

Petroleum products are perhaps the single biggest source of taxation in this country. This country consumes 300,000 barrels of oil per day. There are 159 liters to a barrel. Local oil prices are now about P60.00 per liter for premium gasoline; P45.00 per liter for diesel. While there are other oil grades in the marketplace, gasoline and diesel together comprise the biggest slice of the whole cake. From this alone, you can imagine how much Vat oil products contribute to the country’s coffers. Add to that the excise tax (about P4.50 per liter for gasoline, of course lower for other grades) and the customs duties due on imported crude and finished oils. This is the reason why P-Noy, and even GMA in her time, will be, and had always been, reluctant to give up the Vat on oil. The thing is we have the highest Vat in the region, and yet I’m sure, were it not for the continuing rise in the global prices of oil, we might wake up one day with another proposal to increase the Vat rate. Vat, kasi, is one of the easiest taxes to collect. But Vat, you will be surprised, do not exist in the US, where tax collection is relatively more efficient. Vat is common whenever and wherever there are problems in tax collection, like in these parts. The irony is, year in and year out, we are not unlike a golf ball stuck in a sand-trap, unable to rise up from our budget deficits. My take on this is, throughout our history we have tried, but vainly, to solve our budget woes by imposing newer and newer taxes. At least for once, why can’t we try another strategy: trim down our expenses and manage our budget more responsibly?

here’s an elected congressman who’s talking sense, too, no less than san juan rep jv ejercito, more power to him:

At the House of Representatives, San Juan Representative Joseph Victor Ejercito has filed House Bill No. 6014 exempting petroleum products from the 12-percent VAT to provide immediate relief to motorists.

Ejercito, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said classifying petroleum among the VAT-exempt products was a more efficient and effective alternative to the government’s subsidy program, the Pantawid Pasada Program, which gives public transport owners discounts on their fuel purchases.

“Neither the bus, jeepney and taxi operators nor drivers agrees it is the solution to the skyrocketing cost of gasoline, diesel, kerosene and LPG. It does not benefit the people at all,” he said.

On concerns of the government that removing the VAT would reduce tax collections, Ejercito claimed that the government’s share from the

P45-billion annual income of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), P31-billion income of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and P43-billion royalties from the Malampaya gas project would be “sufficient to replenish the lost revenues.”

Ejercito noted that the VAT was imposed in 2004 to boost revenues and lower the government’s dependence on borrowings that were pegged at 78.2 percent debt to the gross domestic product ratio. With the debt-to-GDP ratio falling to 55.4 percent, Ejercito said it was time to reconsider the VAT as it has already served its purpose.

so, again.  it is not true that gov’t is helpless on rising oil prices.  the president can drop VAT, which would bring down prices all around, give some measure of relief all around.  yes, this would reduce government’s resources but, like coronel and jv say, there are other sources, and there are other ways of raising revenue.

i would add: improved tax collections from the rich, the moneyed classes who are masters at, and get away with, undervaluing their assets and understating their incomes (as can be sensed from the corona trial); a rational debt policy — let’s not rush to pay obligations in advance just so we can borrow again — the nation is lubog na sa utang as it is.  and what about the pork barrel, and the presidential coffers — it’s time our government officials stopped enriching themselves while-in/through-their offices, augmenting their salaries with huge allowances and other emoluments, as though the money weren’t urgently needed elsewhere.

”yun nga lang, the president would have to rise to the challenge, demonstrate some creativity, perspicacity, and balls, so to speak.  and yes, william esposo, it would amount to a revolutionary situation of sorts, one that the masses would happily support, for sure, as in people power, remember?  revolution can be fun in the philippines.


When VAT on oil is “crooked road” #noynoying

Rudy L. Coronel

Let us please get real! The repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law will not cure our oil price woes. It will only throw us back to the bad old days when government required documents before approving every price increase proposal. Still, the oil prices increased—the only difference was that it took some time to take effect, simply because the government had first to evaluate the oil companies’ price-hike claims. In other words, it is not as much a regulated or a deregulated oil industry atmosphere as the relative volatility of the global prices of oil that causes our oil price woes today.

Methinks a comparatively more practical recourse would be to repeal the value-added tax law. Indeed, for every centavo increase in the local price of oil, the public unduly suffers, yet the government virtually rejoices because of the extra one-twelfth of a centavo automatically added to its coffers. Alas, there can’t be anything more ironic, or a road of governance more crooked, than that!

One recalls that when the VAT law was introduced, several basic consumer products and services were VAT-exempt, including food, medicine and petroleum. Truth is, government finds in the VAT system the perfect and easy solution to its tax collection inefficiencies. But here’s the rub: Its tax collection deficits continue to grow from year to year, so much so that medicine and petroleum have been delisted from VAT exemption. Worse, the tax rate which began at 10 percent is now 12 percent—in fact, the highest in the region. Alas, when can government learn to moderate its tax greed, which nonetheless has failed to eliminate its yearly tax collection shortfalls?

UP economics professor and former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno recommends a lowering of the VAT rate on oil from 12 percent to 10 percent. With due respect, I don’t think that’s enough! It would be probably fine if applied to all products, but definitely not with respect to petroleum products alone, which should rather be totally VAT-exempt. For two commonsensical reasons: First, petroleum products were originally (under the old tax code) exempt from VAT, and precisely because they were then already subject to excise tax. They still are today—a clear case of double taxation. Second, let us eliminate the tax collection bonanza that government automatically gets, while the public suffers, whenever oil prices go up. I must submit this is generally true for all commodities subject to VAT. But then, I seriously doubt that there is any article of commerce in our midst and times whose price behaves as wildly, uncontrollably and frequently as petroleum products do.

A zero-VAT on oil is, of course, going to be a big drain on the government’s revenues, given the volume of oil business this country has. But sheer business volumes are irrelevant here. Aren’t there, all told, more agricultural, marine, livestock and forest products in the market? And they are all VAT-exempt! Well, there are many ways to skin a cat. It is high time government learned to manage its finances more sensitively and less irresponsibly.



my reactions to gma’s sona 2008. thanks to djb for posting the entire speech. thanks to mon ramirez of plaridel e-group for the department of energy data.

* * *

I address you today at a crucial moment in world history. TRUE

Just a few months ago, we ended 2007 with the strongest economic growth in a generation BASED ON DISCREDITED STATS. Inflation was low, the peso strong and a million new jobs were created. AND A MILLION JOBS LOST. We were all looking to a better, brighter future. NOT TRUE.

Because tough choices were made, kumikilos na ang bayan sa wakas. IN FACT THE ECONOMY HAS SLOWED DOWN. Malapit na sana tayo sa pagbalanse ng budget. A BUDGET BEYOND OUR MEANS. We were retiring debts in great amounts AND BORROWING AGAIN IN GREAT AMOUNTS, reducing the drag on our country’s development WHAT DEVELOPMENT? habang namumuhunan sa taong bayan. SURE, FOR EXPORT.

Biglang-bigla, nabaligtad ang ekonomiya ng mundo. Ang pagtalon ng presyo ng langis at pagkain ay nagbunsod ng pandaigdigan krisis, the worst since the Great Depression and the end of World War II. Some blame speculators moving billions of dollars from subprime mortgages to commodities like fuel and food. Others point of the very real surge in demand as millions of Chinese and Indians move up to the middle class. TRUE

Whatever the reasons, we are on a roller coaster ride of oil price hikes, high food prices and looming economic recession in the US and other markets. Uncertainty has moved like a terrible tsunami around the globe, wiping away gains, erasing progress. WHAT GAINS? WHAT PROGRESS?

This is a complex time that defies simple and easy solutions. For starters, it is hard to identify villains, unlike in the 1997 financial crisis. SURELY GREEDY CAPITALISTS ARE THE VILLAINS. Everyone seems to be a victim, rich countries and poor, though certainly some can take more punishment than others. NOT OUR PEOPLE WHO CANNOT TAKE MUCH MORE PUNISHMENT.

To address these global challenges, we must go on building and buttressing bridges to allies around the world: to bring in the rice to feed our people, investments to create jobs; and to keep the peace and maintain stability in our country and the rest of the world. Yet even as we reach out to those we need OUR CREDITORS, SO WE CAN MAKE UTANG SOME MORE, and who may need us WHO MAY NEED OUR OFWS, YOU MEAN, we strive for greater self-reliance. BOLA

Because tough choices were made, the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared. BULL! Through foresight, grit GREED and political will, we built a shield around our country that has slowed down and somewhat softened the worst effects of the global crisis. FOR YOU MAYBE, NOT FOR THE PEOPLE. We have the money to care for our people and pay for food when there are shortages; for fuel despite price spikes. WE HAVE THE MONEY NAMAN TALAGA KAYA LANG IPINAMBABAYAD NG UTANG PARA MAKAUTANG ULI.

Neither we nor anyone else in the world expected this day to come so soon AHA! SO YOU KNEW THIS DAY WOULD COME, BUT NOT DURING YOUR WATCH, SO OKEY LANG TO DEPEND ON IMPORTED RICE INSTEAD OF PLANTING RICE? but we prepared for it. BOLA For the guts not to flinch in the face of tough choices, I thank God. YOU MEAN, FOR THE GUTS NOT TO FLINCH IN THE FACE OF THE PEOPLE’S HUNGER AND POVERTY… SO YOU THINK THE GOOD GOD IS ON YOUR SIDE? For the wisdom to recognize how needed you are, I thank you, Congress. YEAH YOU SO NEED CONGRESS TO BLOCK IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINTS. For footing the bill, I thank the taxpayers. YOU SO OWE US, AND ONE DAY YOU’LL PAY! KARMA-KARMA YAN.

The result has been, on the one hand, ito ang nakasalba sa bayan YOU CALL THIS SALVATION? and, on the other, more unpopularity for myself in the opinion polls YOU GET WHAT YOU DESERVE. Yet, even unfriendly polls show self-rated poverty down to its 20-year low in 2007. REALLY? I’D LIKE TO SEE THE DATA ON THAT.

My responsibility as President is to take care to solve the problems we are facing now and to provide a vision and direction for how our nation should advance in the future. WHAT VISION? FIRST-WORLDHOOD? ONLY IN YOUR DREAMS.

Many in this great hall live privileged lives and exert great influence in public affairs. I am accessible to you, but I spend time every day with the underprivileged and under represented who cannot get a grip on their lives in the daily, all-consuming struggle to make ends meet. SO WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? THAT YOU’RE DIFFERENT FROM YOUR PEOPLE IN CONGRESS? LOL! THAT YOUR HEART IS WITH THE PEOPLE? LOLOLOLOL!

Nag-aalala ako para sa naka-aawang maybahay na pasan ang pananagutan para sa buong pamilya. Nag-aalala ako para sa magsasakang nasa unang hanay ng pambansang produksyon ng pagkain ngunit nagsisikap pakanin ang pamilya. I care for hardworking students soon to graduate and wanting to see hope of good job and a career prospect here at home. REALLY? YOU WORRY ABOUT THE POOR BURDENED HOUSEWIFE? YOU WORRY ABOUT THE FARMER THE COUNTRY COUNTS ON TO PRODUCE OUR FOOD BUT WHO CAN BARELY FEED HIS FAMILY? THEN GIVE THEM A BREAK, GIVE THEM FREE CONDOMS AND PILLS, THE BETTER TO ENJOY SEX. CHEAP THRILLS. YOU WORRY ABOUT THE STUDENTS WHO MIGHT NOT FIND JOBS WHEN THEY GRADUATE? THEN TEACH THEM ABOUT SEX AND GIVE THEM CONDOMS AND PILLS SO THEY DON’T GET/SOMEONE PREGNANT BEFORE THEY CAN AFFORD IT.

Nag-aalala ako para sa 41-year old na padre de pamilya na di araw-araw ang trabaho, at nag-aabala sa asawa at tatlong anak, at dapat bigyan ng higit pang pagkakakitaan at dangal. I care for our teachers who gave the greatest gift we ever received – a good education – still trying to pass on the same gift to succeeding generations. YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT OUR TEACHERS? GIVE SCHOOLS DECENT TOILETS AND RUNNING WATER NAMAN! I care for our OFWs, famed for their skill, integrity and untiring labor, who send home their pay as the only way to touch loved ones so far away. SUSMARYOSEP THEY SEND HOME THEIR MONEY OR ELSE MAMAMATAY SA GUTOM ANG PAMILYA NILA! Nagpupugay ako ngayon sa kanilang mga karaniwang Pilipino. DAPAT KANG MAGPUGAY DAHIL PATI IKAW ISINASALBA NILA!

My critics say this is fiction, along with other facts and figures I cite today. I call it heroism though they don’t need our praise. Each is already a hero to those who matter most, their families. NO, IT’S NOT FICTION, BUT YOU TWIST THE FACTS TO MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD.

I said this is a global crisis where everyone is a victim. But only few can afford to avoid, or pay to delay, the worst effects. YEAH, LIKE YOU, AND THE SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN IN YOUR POCKET.

Many more have nothing to protect them from the immediate blunt force trauma of the global crisis. Tulad ninyo, nag-aalala ako para sa kanila. Ito ang mga taong bayan na dapat samahan natin. Not only because of their sacrifices for our country but because they are our countrymen. DAPAT SAMAHAN? TERRIBLE TAGALOG.

How do we solve these many complex challenges?

Sa kanilang kalagayan, the answer must be special care and attention in this great hour of need.

First, we must have a targeted strategy with set of precise prescriptions to ease the price challenges we are facing. VAT, I SUPPOSE

Second, food self-sufficiency; less energy dependence; greater self-reliance in our attitude as a people and in our posture as a nation. BAKIT NGAYON LANG?

Third, short-term relief cannot be at the expense of long term reforms. These reforms will benefit not just the next generation of Filipinos, but the next President as well. BUT WHAT IF THE “LONG TERM REFORMS” AREN’T REALLY REFORMS BUT A PERPETUATION OF THE STATUS QUO?

Napakahalaga ang Value Added Tax sa pagharap sa mga hamong ito. AHA. VAT NGA.


Una, mabawasan ang ating mga utang and shore up our fiscal independence. WHAT A PIPE DREAM. WHAT YOU SMOKING?

Pangalawa, higit na pamumuhunan para mamamayan at imprastraktura. YEAH YEAH WE’VE HEARD THAT BEFORE.

Pangatlo, sapat na pondo para sa mga programang pangmasa. DOLE-OUTS

Thus, the infrastructure links programmed for the our poorest provinces like Northern Samar: Lao-ang-Lapinig-Arteche, right now ay maputik, San Isidro-Lope de Vega; the rehabilitation of Maharlika in Samar. WHY NOW ONLY?

Take VAT away and you and I abdicate our responsibility as leaders and pull the rug from under our present and future progress, which may be compromised by the global crisis. TAKE VAT AWAY AND YOU WILL REDEEM YOURSELF, A LITTLE.

Lalong lumakas ang tiwala ng mga investor dahil sa VAT..Mula P56.50 kada dolyar, lumakas ang piso hanggang P40.20 bago bumalik sa P44 dahil sa mga pabigat ng pangdaigdigang ekonomiya. Kung alisin ang VAT, hihina ang kumpiyansa ng negosyo, lalong tataas ang interes, lalong bababa ang piso, lalong mamahal ang bilihin. BOLA. BUSINESS IS DOWN BECAUSE OF VAT. FOREIGN INVESTORS ARE STILL STAYING AWAY BECAUSE OF CORRUPTION AND POOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND POLITICAL INSTABILITY.

Kapag ibinasura ang VAT sa langis at kuryente, ang mas makikinabang ay ang mga may kaya na kumukonsumo ng 84% ng langis at 90% ng kuryente habang mas masasaktan ang mahihirap na mawawalan ng P80 billion para sa mga programang pinopondohan ngayon ng VAT. IN FACT, ACCORDING TO 2007 HARD DATA FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 62.4% OF ELECTRICITY WAS CONSUMED BY INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL SECTORS THAT PROMPTLY PASSED ON THE VAT TO CONSUMERS; 3.42% CONSUMED BY STREETLIGHTS & PUBLIC BUILDINGS, ALSO PAID FOR WITH PEOPLE’S TAXES. THAT’S 66 % PAID FOR INDIRECTLY BY THE PEOPLE. WHICH LEAVES ONLY 34 % CONSUMED BY THE RESIDENTIAL SECTOR, RICH & POOR.Take away VAT and we strip our people of the means to ride out the world food and energy crisis. TAKE AWAY VAT AND THE PEOPLE WILL HAVE SOME MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS TO RIDE OUT THE CRISIS WITH SOME DIGNITY.

We have come too far and made too many sacrifices to turn back now on fiscal reforms. TOO FAR WHERE? FEELS MORE LIKE WE’VE BEEN MOVING BACKWARD. Leadership is not about doing the first easy thing that comes to mind; it is about doing what is necessary, however hard. SCRAPPING VAT IS EVEN HARDER, ‘NO? REQUIRES MORE LEADERSHIP, ‘NO?

The government has persevered, without flip-flops, in its much-criticized but irreplaceable policies, including oil and power VAT and oil deregulation. IRREPLACEABLE. HMM. AS IN, WALANG IPAPALIT? O AYAW LANG PALITAN?

Patuloy na gagamitin ng pamahalaan ang lumalago nating yaman upang tulungan ang mga pamilyang naghihirap sa taas ng bilihin at hampas ng bagyo, habang nagpupundar upang sanggahan ang bayan sa mga krisis sa hinaharap. LUMALAGO NATING YAMAN? MORE LIKE, LUMALAGO MONG YAMAN. IT’S LIKE STEALING FROM THE POOR TO GIVE BACK TO THE POOR.

Para sa mga namamasada at namamasahe sa dyip, sinusugpo natin ang kotong at colorum upang mapataas ang kita ng mga tsuper. Si Federico Alvarez kumikita ng P200 a day sa kaniyang rutang Cubao-Rosario. Tinaas ito ng anti-kotong, anti-colorum ngayon P500 na ang kita niya. KULANG PA RIN PANGGASTOS SA ISANG ARAW KUNG MAY MGA ANAK SIYANG NAG-AARAL. Iyan ang paraan kung paano napananatili ang dagdag-pasahe sa piso lamang. SA HIRAP NG BUHAY-VAT, MALAKING BAGAY ANG PISO SA MGA POOR. Halaga lang ng isang text.

Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos. BUT FOR THREE MONTHS ONLY. THE CRISIS WILL BE OVER BY THEN?

Noong Hunyo, nagpalabas tayo ng apat na bilyong piso mula sa VAT sa langis-dalawang bilyong pambayad ng koryente ng apat na milyong mahihirap, isang bilyon para college scholarship o pautang sa 70,000 na estudyanteng maralita; kalahating bilyong pautang upang palitan ng mas matipid na LPG, CNG o biofuel ang motor ng libu-libong jeepney; at kalahating bilyong pampalit sa fluorescent sa mga pampublikong lugar. SO LAST YEAR, NUONG WALA PANG SUBSIDIES, SAAN NAPUNTA ANG VAT NA IYAN?

Kung mapapalitan ng fluorescent ang lahat ng bumbilya, makatitipid tayo ng lampas P2 billion.

Sa sunod na katas ng VAT, may P1 billion na pambayad ng kuryente ng mahihirap; kalahating bilyon para sa matatandang di sakop ng SSS o GSIS; kalahating bilyong kapital para sa pamilya ng mga namamasada; kalahating bilyon upang mapataas ang kakayahan at equipment ng mga munting ospital sa mga lalawigan. At para sa mga kalamidad, angkop na halaga. KATAS NG VAT, NAKAKAPIGA.

We released P1 billion for the victims of typhoon Frank. We support a supplemental Western Visayas calamity budget from VAT proceeds, as a tribute to the likes of Rodney Berdin, age 13, of Barangay Rombang, Belison, Antique, who saved his mother, brother and sister from the raging waters of Sibalom River.

Mula sa buwang ito, wala nang income tax ang sumusweldo ng P200,000 o mas mababa sa isang taon – P12 billion na bawas-buwis para sa maralita at middle class. Maraming salamat, Congress.

Ngayong may P32 na commercial rice, natugunan na natin ang problema sa pagkain sa kasalukuyan. Nagtagumpay tayo dahil sa pagtutulungan ng buong bayan sa pagsasaka, bantay-presyo at paghihigpit sa price manipulation, sa masipag na pamumuno ni Artie Yap. PARTNER MO SA RIGODON, RUNNING FOR SENATOR SIGURO, ‘NO?

Sa mga LGU at religious groups na tumutulong dalhin ang NFA rice sa mahihirap, maraming salamat sa inyo.

Dahil sa subsidy, NFA rice is among the region’s cheapest. While we can take some comfort that our situation is better than many other nationsIS IT , REALLY?there is no substitute for solving the problem of rice and fuel here at home. In doing so, let us be honest and clear eyed – there has been a fundamental shift in global economics. INDEED – GLOBALISM DOESN’T WORK! The price of food and fuel will likely remain high. Nothing will be easy; the government cannot solve these problems over night. YEAH, AS USUAL YOU’LL WAIT FOR THE U.S. TO LEAD THE WAY. But, we can work to ease the near-term pain while investing in long-term solutions.

Since 2001, new irrigation systems for 146,000 hectares, including Malmar in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, Lower Agusan, Casecnan and Aulo in Nueva Ecija, Abulog-Apayao in Cagayan and Apayao, Addalam in Quirino and Isabela, among others, and the restoration of old systems on another 980,000 hectares have increased our nation’s irrigated land to a historic 1.5 million hectares. GANOON? E BAKIT NAG-I-IMPORT PA TAYO NG BIGAS? AH, DAHIL SA BAGYO. BAGYONG GLORIA. GLOBALIST GLORIA.

Edwin Bandila, 48 years old, of Ugalingan, Carmen, North Cotabato, cultivated one hectare and harvested 35 cavans. Thirteen years na ginawa iyong Malmar. In my first State of the Nation Address, sabi ko kung hindi matapos iyon sa Setyembre ay kakanselahin ko ang kontrata, papapasukin ko ang engineering brigade, natapos nila. With Malamar, now he cultivates five hectares and produces 97 cavans per hectare. Mabuhay, Edwin! VAT will complete the San Roque-Agno River project. MALAKAS SI EDWIN.

The Land Bank has quadrupled loans for farmers and fisherfolk. That is fact not fiction. Check it. For more effective credit utilization, I instructed DA to revitalize farmers cooperatives. QUADRUPLED. ILAN KAYA EXACTLY ANG MAGSASAKA AT MANGINGISDANG NATUTULUNGAN? WHY DO I HAVE THE FEELING NA MAS MARAMI PA RING HINDI NATUTULUNGAN?


Incremental Malampaya national revenues of P4 billion will go to our rice self-sufficiency program.

Rice production since 2000 increased an average of 4.07% a year, twice the population growth rate. SO BAKIT PA RIN TAYO KINULANG? BAKIT PA NAG-IMPORT? By promoting natural planning and female education, we have curbed population growth to 2.04% during our administration, down from the 2.36 in the 1990’s, when artificial birth control was pushed. IS THAT SO? DESPITE LITO ATIENZA BANNING CONTRACEPTION IN MANILA? HMM…. I BET IT’S BECAUSE OF THE MILLIONS OF OFWS LEAVING SPOUSES BEHIND. ENFORCED ABSTINENCE, HOW SAD. Our campaign spreads awareness of responsible parenthood regarding birth spacing. YEAH SURE, BUT WITHOUT PILLS OR CONDOMS, HOW HARD. Long years of pushing contraceptives made it synonymous to family planning. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT? Therefore informed choice should mean letting more couples, who are mostly Catholics, know about natural family planning. EVEN IF NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING IS A HIT AND MISS AFFAIR. VATICAN ROULETTE, DJB CALLS IT.

From 1978 to 1981, nag-export tayo ng bigas. ABAH, BACK TO RICE. DEFENSIVE TALAGA. Hindi tumagal. But let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Panahon pa ng Kastila bumibili na tayo ng bigas sa labas. While we may know how to grow rice well, topography doesn’t always cooperate. EXCUSES, EXCUSES. AMININ NA LANG, THEN AND NOW, MALAKI ANG KINIKITA NG MGA KAPITALISTANG NAG-I-IMPORT NG BIGAS.

Nature did not gift us with a mighty Mekong like Thailand and Vietnam, with their vast and naturally fertile plains. Nature instead put our islands ahead of our neighbours in the path of typhoons from the Pacific. So, we import 10% of the rice we consume. 10 % LANG?!!!! BOLA

To meet the challenge of today, we will feed our people now, not later, and help them get through these hard times. To meet the challenges of tomorrow, we must become more self-reliant, self-sufficient and independent, relying on ourselves more than on the world. MOTHERHOOD STATEMENTS

Now we come to the future of agrarian reform.

There are those who say it is a failure, that our rice importations prove it. There are those who say it is a success-if only because anything is better than nothing. Indeed, people are happier owning the land they work, no matter what the difficulties.

Sa SONA noong 2001, sinabi ko, bawat taon, mamamahagi tayo ng dalawang daang libong ektarya sa reporma sa lupa: 100,000 hectares of private farmland and 100,000 of public farmland, including ancestral domains. Di hamak mahigit sa target ang naipamahagi natin sa nakaraang pitong taon: 854,000 hectares of private farmland, 797,000 of public farmland, and Certificates of Ancestral Domain for 525,000 hectares. Including, over a 100,000 hectares for Bugkalots in Quirino, Aurora, and Nueva Vizcaya. KUMUSTA NAMAN ANG MGA MALALAWAK NA LUPAIN NG MGA JOSE PIDAL AKA IGGY ARROYO, EXEMPTED PA RIN? After the release of their CADT, Rosario Camma, Bugkalot chieftain, and now mayor of Nagtipunan, helped his 15,000-member tribe develop irrigation, plant vegetables and corn and achieve food sufficiency. Mabuhay, Chief! MALAKAS KA, CHIEF!

Agrarian reform should not merely subdivide misery, it must raise living standards. Ownership raises the farmer from his but productivity will keep him on his feet.

Sinimula ng aking ama ang land reform noong 1963. Upang mabuo ito, the extension of CARP with reforms is top priority. I will continue to do all I can for the rural as well as urban poor. Ayaw natin na paglaya ng tenant sa landlord, mapapasa-ilalim naman sa usurero. Former tenants must be empowered to become agribusinessmen by allowing their land to be used as collateral. IT’S ABOUT TIME. WHY ONLY NOW?

Dapat mapalaya ng reporma sa lupa ang magsasaka sa pagiging alipin sa iba. Dapat bigyan ang magsasaka ng dangal bilang taong malaya at di hawak ninuman. We must curb the recklessness that gives land without the means to make it productive and bites off more than beneficiaries can chew. IS THIS THE RATIONALE FOR EXEMPTING RICH LANDOWNERS’ VAST HACIENDAS FROM CARP? THAT IT WOULD BE RECKLESS DAHIL IT WOULD BE TOO MUCH, HINDI KAKAYANIN NG BENEFICIARIES NA PAGYAMANIN? TOO MUCH!

At the same time, I want the rackets out of agrarian reform: the threats to take and therefore undervalue land, the conspiracies to overvalue it. AGAIN, IT’S ABOUT TIME. WHY ONLY NOW.

Be with me on this. There must be a path where justice and progress converge. Let us find it before Christmas. UY, MERONG DEADLINE. BAKIT KAYA. BAKIT HINDI BEFORE RIZAL DAY, O VALENTINE’S DAY. Dapat nating linisin ang landas para sa mga ibig magpursige sa pagsasaka HAY, INAMIN DIN NA MARUMI’T MABATO’T MARAMING HARANG ANG LANDAS, taglay ang pananalig na ang lupa ay sasagip sa atin sa huli kung gamitin natin ito nang maayos.

Along with massive rice production, we are cutting costs through more efficient transport. For our farm-to-market roads, we released P6 billion in 2007. HO-HUM

On our nautical highways. RORO boats carried 33 million metric tons of cargo and 31 million passengers in 2007. We have built 39 RORO ports during our administration, 12 more are slated to start within the next two years. In 2003, we inaugurated the Western Nautical Highway from Batangas through Mindoro, Panay and Negros to Mindanao. This year we launched the Central Nautical Highway from Bicol mainland, through Masbate, Cebu, Bohol and Camiguin to Mindanao mainland. These developments strengthen our competitiveness. STOP SULPICIO. PUNISH SULPICIO.

Leading multinational company Nestle cut transport costs and offset higher milk prices abroad. Salamat, RORO. Transport costs have become so reasonable for bakeries like Gardenia, a loaf of its bread in Iloilo is priced the same as in Laguna and Manila. Salamat muli sa RORO. TRANSPORT COSTS ARE SO REASONABLE (READ: CHEAP, LIKE THE PRINCESS) MAYBE ONE CAN’T EXPECT APPROPRIATE SAFETY MEASURES?

To the many LGUs who have stopped collecting fees from cargo vehicles, maraming, maraming salamat. HMM. NOTHING FOR NOTHING. ANO KAYA ANG TRADE-OFF.

We are repaving airports that are useful for agriculture, like Zamboanga City Airport. E YUNG AIRPORTS NA GAGAWIN SA SULU AT TAWITAWI, FOR AGRICULTURE DIN BA? NAH, FOR AMERICAN TROOPS AND GOODS.

Producing rice and moving it cheaper addresses the supply side of our rice needs. On the demand side, we are boosting the people’s buying power.

Ginagawa nating labor-intensive ang paggawa at pag-ayos ng kalsada at patubig. Noong SONA ng 2001, naglunsad tayo sa NCR ng patrabaho para sa 20,000 na out of school youth, na tinawag OYSTER. Ngayon, mahigit 20,000 ang ineempleyo ng OYSTER sa buong bansa. TWENTY THOUSAND. DAPAT BANG IPAGMALAKI ITO? In disaster-stricken areas, we have a cash-for-work program.

In training, 7.74 million took technical and vocational courses over the last seven years, double the number in the previous 14 years. In 2007 alone, 1.7 million graduated. Among them are Jessica Barlomento now in Hanjin as supply officer, Shenve Catana, Marie Grace Comendador, and Marlyn Tusi, lady welders, congratulations. ITO PALA YUNG “FOCUSING ON THE COMMON PEOPLE

In microfinance, loans have reached P102 billion or 30 times more than the P3 billion we started with in 2001, with a 98% repayment record, congratulations! Major lenders include the Land Bank with P69 billion, the Peoples’ Credit and Finance Corporation P8 billion, the National Livelihood Support Fund P3 billion, DBP P1 billion and the DSWD’s SEA-K P800 million. For partnering with us to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit, thank you, Go Negosyo and Joey Concepcion.

Upland development benefits farmers through agro-forestry initiatives. Rubber is especially strong in Zamboanga Sibugay and North Cotabato. Victoria Mindoro, 56 years old, used to earn P5,000 a month as farmer and factory worker. Now she owns 10 hectares in the Goodyear Agrarian Reform Community in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, she earns P10,000 a week. With one hectare, Pedro and Concordia Faviolas of Makilala, North Cotabato, they sent their six children to college, bought two more hectares, and earn P15,000 a month. Congratulations! MORE “COMMON PEOPLE”

Jatropha estates are starting in 900 hectares in and around Tamlang Valley in Negros Oriental; 200 in CamSur; 300 in GenSan, 500 in Fort Magsaysay near the Cordero Dam and 700 in Samar, among others.

In our 2006 SONA, our food baskets were identified as North Luzon and Mindanao.

The sad irony of Mindanao as food basket is that it has some of the highest hunger in our nation. It has large fields of high productivity, yet also six of our ten poorest provinces. THE SIX ARE MUSLIM PROVINCES. NO IRONY IN THAT. ONLY INJUSTICE.

The prime reason is the endless Mindanao conflict. A comprehensive peace has eluded us for half a century. But last night, differences on the tough issue of ancestral domain were resolved. Yes, there are political dynamics among the people of Mindanao. Let us sort them out with the utmost sobriety, patience and restraint. I ask Congress to act on the legislative and political reforms that will lead to a just and lasting peace during our term of office. WHAT LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL REFORMS? ARE THE PUNDITS RIGHT? A NEW REASON TO CHACHA?

The demands of decency and compassion urge dialogue. Better talk than fight, if nothing of sovereign value is anyway lost. HMM. PA-CRYPTIC. WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “IF NOTHING OF SOVEREIGN VALUE IS ANYWAY LOST.” Dialogue has achieved more than confrontation in many parts of the world. This was the message of the recent World Conference in Madrid organized by the King of Saudi Arabia, and the universal message of the Pope in Sydney.

Pope Benedict’s encyclical Deus Caritas Est reminds us: “There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love for neighbour is indispensable.” CONCRETE LOVE. HOW HARD.

Pinagsasama-sama natin ang mga programa ng DSWD, DOH, GSIS, SSS at iba pang lumalaban sa kahirapan sa isang National Social Welfare Program para proteksyonan ang pinaka-mahihirap mula sa pandaigdigang krisis, and to help those whose earnings are limited by illness, disability, loss of job, age and so on-through livelihood projects, microfinance, skills and technology transfer, emergency and temporary employment, pension funds, food aid and cash subsidies, child nutrition and adult health care, medical missions, salary loans, insurance, housing programs, educational and other savings schemes, and now cheaper medicine-Thanks to Congress. THIS IS THE NATIONAL SOCIAL WELFARE PROGRAM HEADED BY ROMY NERI, NOW OF SSS? GOOD LUCK NA LANG TO GSIS & SSS MEMBERS.

The World Bank says that in Brazil, the income of the poorest 10% has grown 9% per year versus the 3% for the higher income levels due in large part to their family stipend program linking welfare checks to school attendance. We have introduced a similar program, Pantawid Pamilya. SO MUCH TO DO FOR THE POOR, ‘NO? KAWAWA NAMAN THE BESIEGED AND NEGLECTED MIDDLE CLASS.

Employers have funded the two increases in SSS benefits since 2005. Thank you, employers for paying the premiums.

GSIS pensions have been indexed to inflation and have increased every year since 2001. Its salary loan availments have increased from two months equivalent to 10 months, the highest of any system public or private-while repayments have been stretched out.

Pag-Ibig housing loans increased from P3.82 billion in 2001 to P22.6 billion in 2007. This year it experienced an 84% increase in the first four months alone. Super heating na. Dapat dagdagan ng GSIS at buksan muli ng SSS ang pautang sa pabahay. I ask Congress to pass a bill allowing SSS to do housing loans beyond the present 10% limitation.

Bago ako naging Pangulo, isa’t kalahating milyong maralita lamang ang may health insurance. Noong 2001, sabi natin, dadagdagan pa ng kalahating milyon. Sa taong iyon, mahigit isang milyon ang nabigyan natin. Ngayon, 65 milyong Pilipino na ang may health insurance, mahigit doble ng 2000, kasama ang labinlimang milyong maralita. Philhealth has paid P100 billion for hospitalization. The indigent beneficiaries largely come from West and Central Visayas, Central Luzon, and Ilocos. Patuloy nating palalawakin itong napaka-importanted programa, lalo na sa Tawi-Tawi, Zambo Norte, Maguindanao, Apayao, Dinagat, Lanao Sur, Northern Samar, Masbate, Abra and Misamis Occidental. Lalo na sa kanilang mga magsasaka at mangingisda. 65 MILLION FILIPINOS HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE? SANA NGA.

In these provinces and in Agusan Sur, Kalinga, Surigao Sur and calamity-stricken areas, we will launch a massive school feeding program at P10 per child every school day.

Bukod sa libreng edukasyon sa elementarya at high school, nadoble ang pondo para sa mga college scholarships, while private high school scholarship funds from the government have quadrupled. PLEASE, UNAHIN ANG PONDO PARA SA TOILETS AND RUNNING WATER IN ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

I have started reforming and clustering the programs of the DepEd, CHED and TESDA.

As with fiscal and food challenges, the global energy crunch demands better and more focused resource mobilization, conservation and management.

Government agencies are reducing their energy and fuel bills by 10%, emulating Texas Instruments and Philippine Stock Exchange who did it last year. Congratulations, Justice Vitug and Francis Lim. SANA SA PALASYO RIN.

To reduce power system losses, we count on government regulators and also on EPIRA amendments. SIGE. TAPOS PA-EXPLAIN NIYO KAY LULI A LA JUDAY.

We are successful in increasing energy self-sufficiency-56%, the highest in our history. We promote natural gas and biofuel; geothermal fields, among the world’s largest; windmills like those in Ilocos and Batanes; and the solar cells lighting many communities in Mindanao. The new Galoc oil field can produce 17,000-22,000 barrels per day, 1/12 of our crude consumption. SCRAP VAT!

The Renewable Energy Bill has passed the House. Thank you, Congressmen.

Our costly commodity imports like oil and rice should be offset by hard commodities exports like primary products, and soft ones like tourism and cyberservices, at which only India beats us.

Our P 350 million training partnership with the private sector should qualify 60,000 for call centers, medical transcription, animation and software development, which have a projected demand of one million workers generating $13 billion by 2010. WOW PHILIPPINES

International finance agrees with our progress. Credit rating agencies have kept their positive or stable outlook on the country. Our world competitiveness ranking rose five notches. Congratulations to us. AND YET FOREIGN INVESTMENTS ONLY TRICKLE IN…

We are sticking to, and widening, the fiscal reforms that have earned us their respect. AH YES, VAT MAKES CREDIT RATING AGENCIES HAPPY ‘CAUSE IT MEANS THERE’S MONEY TO SERVICE OUR DEBTS, EVEN THE ILLEGITIMATE ONES.

To our investors, thank you for your valuable role in our development. I invite you to invest not only in factories and services, but in profitable infrastructure, following the formula for the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway. WITH TAX HOLIDAYS YAN, KAKAINGGIT.

I ask business and civil society to continue to work for a socially equitable, economically viable balance of interests. YEAH, SURE. Mining companies should ensure that host communities benefit substantively from their investments, and with no environmental damage from operations. NEVER HAPPENS.

Our administration enacted the Solid Waste Management Act, Wildlife Act, Protection of Plant Varieties, Clean Water Act, Biofuels Act and various laws declaring protected areas.

For reforestation, for next year we have budgeted P2 billion. Not only do forests enhance the beauty of the land, they mitigate climate change, a key factor in increasing the frequency and intensity of typhoons and costing the country 0.5% of the GDP. BETTER YET, BAN LOGGING IN REMAINING HARDWOOD FORESTS, 3% NA LANG YANG NATITIRA NGAYON OF THE 70-80 % FOREST COVER IN 1900.

We have set up over 100 marine and fish sanctuaries since 2001. In the whaleshark sanctuary of Donsol, Sorsogon, Alan Amanse, 40-year-old college undergraduate and father of two, was earning P100 a day from fishing and driving a tricycle. Now as whaleshark-watching officer, he is earns P1,000 a day, ten times his former income.

For clean water, so important to health, there is P500 million this year and P1.5 billion for next year. PLEASE WAG KALIMUTAN ANG PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

From just one sanitary landfill in 2001, we now have 21, with another 18 in the works. SO ONE DAY SOON METROMANILA WILL HAVE ITS OWN?

We launched the Zero Basura Olympics to clear our communities of trash. Rather than more money, all that is needed is for each citizen to keep home and workplace clean, and for garbage officials to stop squabbling. WHAT, NO ZERO WASTE ADVOCACY, E.G., SEGREGATED GARBAGE, COMPOST PITS, RECYCLING CENTERS…. HOW ENVIRONMENTALLY INCORRECT!

Our investments also include essential ways to strengthen our institutions of governance in order to fight the decades-old scourge of corruption. I will continue to fight this battle every single day. While others are happy with headlines through accusation without evidence and privilege speeches without accountability, we have allocated more than P3 billion – the largest anti-graft fund in our history – for real evidence gathering and vigorous prosecution. WHAT A RESPONSE TO THE NBN-ZTE SENATE INVESTIGATION – AN ANTI-GRAFT FUND THAT COULD OF COURSE NEVER BE USED TO INVESTIGATE OR PROSECUTE YOU OR YOUR COHORTS.

From its dismal past record, the Ombudsman’s conviction rate has increased 500%. Lifestyle checks, never seriously implemented before our time, have led to the dismissal and/or criminal prosecution of dozens of corrupt officials. YEAH, SURE.

I recently met with the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US agency that provides grants to countries based on governance. They have commended our gains, contributed P1 billion to our fight against graft, and declared us eligible for more grants. Thank you!

Last September, we created the Procurement Transparency Group in the DBM and linked it with business, academe, and the Church, to deter or catch anomalies in government contracts. LEAD BY EXAMPLE KAYA.

On my instruction, the BIR and Customs established similar government-civil society tie-ups for information gathering and tax evasion and smuggling monitoring.

More advanced corruption practices require a commensurate advances in legislative responses. Colleagues in Congress, we need a more stringent Anti-Graft Act. Sa pagmahal ng bilihin, hirap na ang mamimili – tapos, dadayain pa. Dapat itong mahinto. Hinihiling ko sa Kongreso na magpasa ng Consumer Bill of Rights laban sa price gouging, false advertising at iba pang gawain kontra sa mamimili. ANTI-GRAFT. ANTI-GLORIA.

I call on all our government workers at the national and local levels to be more responsive and accountable to the people. Panahon ito ng pagsubok. Kung saan kayang tumulong at dapat tumulong ang pamahalaan, we must be there with a helping hand. Where government can contribute nothing useful, stay away. Let’s be more helpful, more courteous, more quick. YES, SINCE YOU CAN’T CONTRIBUTE ANYTHING USEFUL, STAY AWAY NA LANG PLEASE FROM THE POPULATION ISSUE.

Kaakibat ng ating mga adhikain ang tuloy na pagkalinga sa kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino. KALINGA? MORE LIKE, KAPABAYAAN. Iisa ang ating pangarap – maunlad at mapayapang lipunan, kung saan ang magandang kinabukasan ay hindi pangarap lamang, bagkus natutupad. EXCEPT THAT YOU’RE NOT WILLING TO DO WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE TUPAD THE DREAM.

Sama-sama tayo sa tungkuling ito. May papel na gagampanan ang bawat mamamayan, negosyante, pinunong bayan at simbahan, sampu ng mga nasa lalawigan. CHURCH & STATE, NO LESS.

We are three branches but one government. We have our disagreements; we each have hopes, and ambitions that drive and divide us, be they personal, ethnic, religious and cultural. But we are one nation with one fate. COUNTING THE CHURCH, FOUR BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

As your President, I care too much about this nation to let anyone stand in the way of our people’s wellbeing. YOU STAND IN THE WAY OF OUR WELLBEING. SCRAP VAT. Hindi ko papayagang humadlang ang sinuman sa pag-unlad at pagsagana ng taong bayan. PAG-UNLAD? PAGSAGANA? CLEARLY NOT ON YOUR WATCH. I will let no one – and no one’s political plans – threaten our nation’s survival. TRUTH IS, YOU’RE MORE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR OWN SURVIVAL. YOUR LUCK IS RUNNING OUT. SCRAP VAT.

Our country and our people have never failed to be there for us. THERE? WHERE? We must be there for them now. NO, WE WANT YOU OUT OF THERE, WHEREVER THAT IS.

Maraming salamat. Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat. SCRAP VAT.

obscenely oppressive, that’s VAT!

it’s obscene that the arroyo government is gleefully rolling in cash when everyone else is not, lalo na’t the source of all that cash is the onerous VAT that we the people are paying in addition to the spiralling death-defying prices of basic necessities. no wonder sadsad ang approval rating niya sa latest sws survey.

For the first time, gross dissatisfaction is at majority levels in all study areas: 63% in Metro Manila, 60% in the Balance of Luzon, 56% in the Visayas, and 62% in Mindanao,” it said.

ang reaction ng palasyo, okay lang because she is doing what’s right, never mind what’s popular, which is a lot of crap.

what exactly is she doing right ba? is it right not to scrap VAT on fuel and electricity because in her estimation it would benefit only the rich who consume the most fuel and electricity? i say it’s wrong and it’s heartless. the rich make up only 10 percent at most of the consuming population, and they have surplus money (kaya sila tinawag na rich), so paying VAT doesn’t hurt them as much as it hurts the 90 percent, the masses of poor and middle-class who could barely make ends meet before the surge in oil prices and who are now growing more anxious and agitated and angry by the day.

if gma were truly smart, and brave, and she wants her ratings to rise, what she should do is get really progressive and find another way of taxing only the rich.

as for the excuse that without the VAT collections gma would not have funds for social services and development projects, ang masasabi ko lang ay: what social services? what development projects? kung meron man, mangilan-ngilan, purely for show. i actually stopped believing that the arroyo government has any sense of public service since learning that most public schools in metro manila have no toilets and running water for our teachers and our children, susmaryosep, how terrible and despicable, how mean and barbaric a state of affairs!

i don’t care either if scrapping VAT means kukulangin si gma ng pambayad sa ating mga utang. kulang kung kulang. better yet, moratorium muna, until better times, as marck ronald rimorin suggests sa filipino voices given the global financial, food, and energy crisis.

Arbet Bernardo of asks…, “Should we do an Argentina?” I would rather see things in terms of context. While it would be a great – no, terrific – idea if we give global financial lending institutions the middle finger and say we’re not paying for debts we never benefited from as a nation, there is still prudence in honoring our debts, just not now when we cannot afford to do so. The premise is rather simple: if you can’t afford to pay an outstanding debt, you should only pay it when you are financially capable of doing so. We can’t undo that crucial financial mistake made by former President Cory Aquino, but what we can do is to respectfully renege on the promise of “honor all debts” until such time that we can pay debt without feeling anything drastic or dramatic…..

My…recommendation would be to reallocate our financial resources, not pay debt for now, and redirect debt servicing to subsidize the people’s cost of living. From there, we could think of other solutions that go beyond Presidential recommendations for a family to eat camote and have a viand of munggo at dilis while everyone asks what’s really up with ‘borjer’ served somewhere in Greenhills.”

outof the mouth of babes. sounds good to me.

the downside, of course, is, if we scrap VAT and stop paying debts for now, wala rin daw magpapautang sa atin for now. but maybe that’s not such a bad thing – maybe then we’ll learn to live within our means for a change. maybe then we’ll be forced to buckle down, start looking out for each other, and get our act together as a truly independent and sovereign nation.