‘Wife out’

EYES WIDE OPEN - Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

No, this is not a story about some philandering husband who decided to kick out his wife to be in the arms of his lover.

Instead, this is a piece about the growing heap of trash on social media these days spewed by YouTubers and other social media personalities. They talk about anything under the sun, from politics to sex. How disturbing, alarming and vertigo-inducing.

You see, everyone can now be an expert on anything these days. Just sign up for a social media account, find a spot in your home, put your phone in front of you, talk like a broadcaster and put it out there.

Or one can just put up a blog, type away one’s thoughts and feelings, whether it’s about a dead dog, new cat or the new moon – or simply an emotional masturbation captured in words.

Normally, that’s OK. It’s supposed to be a free world after all, but social media has also become a Wild, Wild West of sorts because it has become a universe filled with so much misinformation and disinformation.

We now see all sorts of content available online and on our timelines. While we could simply just opt not to read or watch these self-anointed experts, the younger generations are actually addicted to social media and it’s really disturbing because some of these content creators cannot even spell words properly.

Here are some phrases I picked up from social media creators; some forwarded by discombobulated readers:

• “Wife out” referring to wipe out

• “Autonomous buddies” referring to autonomous bodies

• “Impitch” referring to impeach

• “Wait paint” referring to wet paint

• “Price sealing” referring to price ceiling

• “King dome” referring to kingdom

• “Debt treats” referring to death threats

Crisis in education

Believe it or not, these words and phrases are out there – in blogs, graphic cards and YouTube art cards made by content creators.

I’m sure the list can go on and on if I dig deeper.

It’s clearly a reflection of today’s state of education. I hope for the sake of our youth, our policymakers do something about our education crisis.

Otherwise, we will end up with more and more people who cannot spell even the most common words or construct the simplest sentences.

CNN Philippines

It’s also a reminder that in today’s challenging and dizzying social media and journalism landscape, we need to properly choose our sources of information.

It doesn’t help that another newsroom has gone dark.

Two days ago, CNN Philippines shut down – from the TV channel to the website to the social media pages.

I thank my fellow journalists at CNN Philippines for their excellent run the last nine years. The programs, interviews and articles were informative and well-presented.

What a team it was. I salute you all and I stand with you in these dark times.

CNN Philippines’ Ruth Cabal said, “It might be dark now but I know that with what we have accomplished together, our light will continue to shine.”

I’m very sure, indeed, that your light will continue to shine in these dark times.

Plugging revenue leaks

I had the chance to personally congratulate newly appointed Finance Secretary Ralph Recto at this year’s Annual Bankers’ Reception hosted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas last month.

I wanted to ask about his plans but it was a relaxing evening so I decided to save that for later.

In any case, he already said that there would be no new taxes in 2024.

Instead, the government would focus on improving the collection efficiency of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs.

This is a welcome development and long overdue. I hope the Marcos administration can really work on this.

Some economists raised doubts about this but I’m sure that with enough political will to go after smugglers, it can work.

There are also new industries the government can look into to boost collection.

Tobacco excise tax collection

What can the government do for instance on the declining tobacco excise tax collection?

Last year, the BIR reported a decrease of P16.1 billion in tobacco excise tax collections compared to the P176.5 billion recorded in 2021. (The STAR, Nov. 24, 2023).

How about looking into illegal e-cigarettes (e-cigs) or single-use e-cigs and the usual smuggled cigarettes? The use of e-cigs is growing in the country as more smokers shift to these devices.

Rep. Joey Salceda, who heads the House ways and means committee, said that while the tax collection for the e-cigarette segment nearly tripled from 2020 to 2022 or P221 million to P631 million, it still may not be capturing the entire e-cig market in the Philippines.

Salceda, citing data from business intelligence outfit Statista, said the e-cig industry should be paying at least P5.56 billion in taxes as its size could be P13.2 billion.

Of course, aside from the revenue aspects, there are health concerns on the proliferation of these illegal e-cigs or disposable vape devices.

Even the UK government announced recently a plan to ban the sale of disposable vapes, “in an attempt to curb the rise in vaping among children,” according to Time magazine.

It’s still a relatively new industry and we can only hope that here in the Philippines, it would be properly regulated and its revenue potential maximized.

I’m sure Sec. Recto can also find other ways to boost state coffers, which is really important given our pile of debt.

Now, how about taxing content creators for every misspelled word? Just saying.

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Email: [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @eyesgonzales. Column archives at EyesWideOpen on FB.

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