The stuff we’re made of
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2019 - 12:00am

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales made a “grievous error” in going to Hong Kong to take her grand kids to Disneyland. She should have brought them to Tokyo or perhaps to Singapore instead! Why spend time and money in the playground of a country whose citizens are itching to get out from there and are embedding themselves in the Philippines. Carpio-Morales must have thought that she was still going to the Hong Kong of old when the British were in charge, a shopping haven and people welcoming. Sorry but times have changed. Even Chinese Filipinos no longer speak well of Hong Kong and now calls Japan as the new Hong Kong or the much better alternative destination. Even locals in Hong Kong have said that shopping is now better in the Philippines!

As for the Hong Kong Immigration officials, they might have looked good to their political bosses for a short while but in the long run, the detention of Conchita Carpio-Morales simply lent more credence to the case she and former Ambassador Del Rosario filed against Chinese President Xi Jinping. They also gave Conchita Carpio Morales a very public opportunity to demonstrate her strong principles by choosing to fly back to Manila rather than enter the “Colony,” even if it meant throwing away hard earned money for the plane tickets. By doing so, she denied the Hong Kong Immigration people from having their cake and eating it too! If the PR people of her chosen airline where smart, they would work to give Carpio Morales and her family a full refund simply for showing the courage and principles of Filipinos! That is a public relations opportunity that some can only dream of. Mabuhay po kayo CCM!

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Officials from the Department of Finance are frantically trying to make a final push in the Senate to pass a new tax that will increase cigarette taxes in order to cover the funding deficit for the Universal Health Care law or program. The committee report has started to make the rounds among Senators but the question remains as to whether the report or recommendation will be the one that the DOF wants and needs. The proposal should have long been settled had it not been “de-prioritized” as a result of the 2019 campaign and elections. The question is, will the Senate get the job done or will it take another six months to rerun the proposal through the new Congress and Senate?

It is tragic that our lawmakers in charge had no problem supporting and fast tracking the TRAIN 1 tax bill that became a burden to many Filipino employees and business people but now drag their feet, mouth and brains to pass a tax measure intended to benefit all Filipinos through the UHC and penalize tobacco companies who produce more and more sick people who become a burden to our health care system!

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If their post-proclamation snippets are to be the basis, it would seem that a number of new administration senators have begun to bare their true character or their sentiments. The previously humble and down to earth Bong Go upon being asked if the new senators would be a rubber stamp of President Duterte, Snapped back with a question: “Do I look like a rubber stamp?” He may have sounded sharp and snappy but he also came across as bitchy. Senator Bato dela Rosa called out those who labeled him as “dumb” and challenged them to take exams with him. So now that he’s senator is it back to his “siga” persona? Senator-elect Imee Marcos “coyly” reassured her haters and bashers not to worry because she is not the vengeful type. Was it a sincere statement or what millennials call “humble brag”? Shall we dismiss all of these as petty utterances or just a glimpse into what will be the attitude of the “victors” in Philippine politics? I pray the new senators can learn to tame their tongues, be consensus builders and be the first to build bridges and tear down walls of political divisions. “Humility comes before honor, but pride comes before the fall” (from the Book of Proverbs)

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It seems that our legislators were simply waiting until after the elections before serving us another distasteful piece of legislation where they made military training for senior high school mandatory!

These business of making ROTC or military training for senior high school mandatory is exactly just that – BUSINESS! The claim that it will instill nationalism, sense of service and discipline is a pack of BS to make noble a motive that is purely commercial. Just like the war driven industry of America, ROTC in the Philippines is profit driven that comes from selling uniforms, shoes, equipment, as well as substantial salaries paid out to military consultants and trainers. Unlike the Israeli mandatory military training service, our local culture is dictatorial, shallow and short-lived. It subscribes to blind obedience to hierarchy and authority.     

The suggestion that it will build self-reliance or the ability to respond to both local and foreign threats is inane. If any enemy of the state wants to drive us to our knees all they have to do is bomb our very few water reservoirs and dams along with the visible power plants. All China needs to do is stop the supply of cheap Chinese consumer products and half the country will end up eating only rice and salt! The fact of the matter is that we have long been “invaded” by various races the most recent being Japan, Korea and now China. High school students have more than enough to carry on their shoulders and their schedule. Stop using students as outlets for business generation!

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