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Use Facebook to monitor prices of basic goods!

It is now the 4th day of the New Year 2018 and the intriguing news for the New Year is that the so-called Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), which Pres. Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte signed into law three weeks ago, is now being implemented. As Pres. Duterte pointed out after signing the bill before Christmas, "This is the administration's biggest Christmas gift to the Filipino people as 99 percent of the taxpayers will benefit from the simpler, fairer and more efficient tax system."

Of course this all remains to be seen because as they say, "The devil is in the details." Already many doomsayers are saying that TRAIN will cause an inflation that could affect the prices of basic goods. Never mind that the prices of luxury cars would increases… but when the excise tax for gasoline go up… it might result in car owners becoming prudent in the use of their cars… but then as we all know… when gasoline prices go up, it affects everyone, including those small fishermen who make a living using their gasoline-fed pumpboats. Logic then dictates that with the new prices of gasoline, it would kick-start an increase of basic goods.

I know that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is tasked to check and double check that the prices of basic commodities would not increase from the present prices… but I don't think that the DTI has enough personnel to monitor these prices. Allow me therefore to suggest that people who use Facebook and other social media networks to make themselves be useful to our community and help the DTI monitor the prices of basic goods so we too can help not only the DTI, but help ourselves… after all we are the consumers that the DTI is helping protect.

As for the tax reform promised by TRAIN, we cannot yet say that it has helped the taxpayer because the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has to wait for April when the payment of taxes are due. So in the meantime, let us all help in monitoring the prices of basic commodities.

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If there is any hugely positive news about the Philippines these days, it is that news report of a recent survey by Gallup International Association (GIA) that the Philippines is the third happiest country in the world in 2017. This Gallup survey came from its 41st Annual Global End of the Year Survey, which found that 86 percent of Filipinos claimed, they were happy against only two percent saying otherwise or a net score of +84. Ten percent answered they were neither happy nor unhappy.

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In reaction to this Gallup poll, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said, "In the coming months and years of this administration, we are determined to give greater substance and a more solid foundation for our people's happiness through a booming economy, effective governance, enduring peace and justice. Even in the bleakest and dire moments of our history as a nation, Filipinos have shown their immense capacity for hope and happiness." Mind you, this is not a Social Weather Station (SWS) or Pulse Asia Survey, but a survey by the most respected survey organization in the world.

I would like to believe that this is true… because Filipinos in general always show their smiling faces even in the midst of adversity. CNN and many other international news organizations found this out when they covered the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and the super typhoon Yolanda where people fleeing from these natural disasters would smile at the cameras of those international reporters.

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I don't have any reports as to what happened during the exhumation ceremonies for Msgr. Teofilo Camomot in Valladolid, Carcar and his transfer to a better location in his museum. But Msgr. Camomot has two other Filipino clergies vying to be canonized as saints of the Catholic Church.

Aside from Camomot there is Bishop Alfredo Obviar of Lipa and Bishop Alfredo Verzosa of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. All three have been given the title "Servant of God." Mind you, the first two Filipino saints recognized by the Vatican are San Lorenzo Ruiz, and San Pedro Calungsod, who were both Catechists. Let's hope that this time, the clergy would have one or three amongst these candidates who would be elevated into sainthood.

vsbobita@mozcom.com

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