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Dead horse deliveries

What good is fresh grass to a dead horse?

Whether you say it in Tagalog or English, the message remains the same: it’s no use if we can’t use it. The same goes for the so-called tax reform measures that are allegedly in both houses of Congress. A couple of tax specialists claim that the Senate has approved in principle the lowering of estate taxes from a whopping 30 percent down to 6 percent. That’s the good news if it were true, the bad news is that it won’t be in effect until 2018! In the mean time, thousands of middle and upper class families will continue to be robbed by the state through a tax system that gives the government 30 percent of value even if the national government has no direct contribution to the maintenance or improvement of the property or estate except through inflation!

Not only do Filipinos get robbed through 30 percent tax on estate or family homes or property, thousands of Filipino families are victims of double taxation by the state simply because when one parent dies – then another parent dies many years after, the very same property or estate is taxed on both occasion ending with a 60 percent tax!

I’m not a lawyer or lawmaker but I can’t understand why lawmakers get to brag about their bills becoming laws even if their work remains incomplete due to the absence of IRRs or Implementing Rules and Regulations! The Senate and Congress should have an internal rule or policy that prohibits lawmakers from talking, claiming or bragging about legislation that remains incomplete, has not been signed into law by the Executive branch or is not in effect.

Why, because it gives many people false hopes, wrong ideas, and sometimes motivate them to act illegally or dishonestly. Time and again I’ve heard of people delaying tax payments because “they were told” that a Tax Amnesty would be forth coming. I even heard of families not announcing the death of kin or delaying settlement of estates and taxes all because of these Press releases by Congressmen and tax specialists. Just look at how many brand new vehicles were sold based on misinformation and speculation on new taxes.

It’s a case of adding insult to injury when it takes another year for a law or amendment to take effect. Is the delay simply one of those stupid inefficiencies of the legislative process or is it delayed because corporations and businesses once again want legislation to be to their advantage, or is it a delaying tactic so the authors and proponents can use it for bragging rights and promotion to a higher office in the next election? Whatever the case maybe, may they reap a hundred fold of blessings or curses relative to the motives of their hearts.

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A lot of people were surprised to hear the revelation of Senator Loren Legarda concerning government under spending especially because the same administration has been talking non-stop about raising taxes in order to “Build – Build – Build.” Ironically, when one studies the announcements concerning the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” there is no mention of a plan or program to build national government centers or permanent structures to house government facilities and not have to rent or lease. Senator Recto for his part was right to point out the mismanagement and bad Return On Investment on the billions of pesos spent to pay rent.  The good Senator should seriously study if the matter was merely an oversight, tradition, or INSTITUTIONALIZED CORRUPTION that has never been investigated or simply ignored.

Every so often, the front pages and headlines will feature an anomalous lease agreement or rent of a building at ridiculous rates like the case of the DILG in the past. Maybe Senator Recto might want to check if there is a Government Standard or rulebook for rentals relative to area, location and terms. Many modern governments in Europe have such guidelines and it would be well worth the effort to investigate lease agreements since we are talking of billions for all rentals big or small.

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While I heard that Secretary Salalima was in the Cross hairs or target of President Duterte, I certainly did not know that he had submitted his resignation. The question now will be: Who is fool enough to take the job or believe he can do better? Sorry but when there are too many vested interests, you are not dealing with a Goliath – you are dealing with the hordes of hell. In the mean time, while Malacañang searches for a candidate, I would guess that the only one willing to take the job would be somebody who needs visibility until the next Congressional or Senatorial elections or somebody backed by the Telecoms industry or last, another General about to retire and always willing to serve at the pleasure of the President! Anyone else outside these profiles ought to have their head examined!

Secretary Salalima’s resignation means that the President’s focus, ire, or expectations will soon be on someone else; the question is who? While Rudy Salalima moves on unshackled and much the wiser, whose turn is it to be the donkey on the wall?

All things being equal, the two prime candidates would be DOTr Secretary Art Tugade and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. Even with all their hard work and loyalty to the President, both gentlemen cover positions full of political termites and vested interest groups that have been pushing for accommodations and advantage. So let’s all sit and watch how demolition jobs are done and how the guys fight them off. Like I always say: Let your work speak for you!

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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