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By Juan L. Mercado
“Today, is the first blank page of a 365 page book,” we’re told on New Year’s Day. “Write it well.” How many will skid instead into what the Economist calls “New-Year Irresolution.”
By Juan L. Mercado
The Year 2012 is now almost out the door. Was it an undiluted “Annus Horribilis” or “Year of Horrors”? Queen Elizabeth II dusted off that phrase in a 1992 address. Fire had gutted parts of Windsor Palace, and family scandals were capped by the Prince of Wales separating from Princess Diana.
By Ramon R. del Rosario Jr.
THE TIME for decisive action on “sin tax” reform is now. Last Nov. 6, Sen. Franklin Drilon, acting chair of the Senate ways and means committee, introduced on second reading an amended version of Senate Bill 3299, the sin tax bill. The measure replaced the bill that Sen. Ralph Recto, the previous committee chair, had reported out to the Senate.
By Neal H. Cruz
I read only recently Senator Ralph Recto’s sponsorship speech on Senate Bill 3299, the Sin Tax bill, as reported out by the Committee on Ways and Means that he headed until recently, and I think he is unfairly being demonized by those who would mostly benefit from it. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, and Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares criticized Recto for paring down the projected income from the very high taxes on cigarettes and liquor from P60 billion to only P15 billion. The combined pummeling forced Recto to resign the chairmanship of the committee. Sen. Franklin Drilon took over the position.
By Peter Wallace
On Dec. 21, Congress closes down for the year. That’s the day when the sin tax law must be voted upon. By Jan. 21, when Congress resumes, politicians will be consumed by thoughts of winning again. And raising taxes is not a way to win votes. So it must be now.
By Conrado de Quiros
The people who toiled through the night to get the sin taxes passed have every reason to be pissed off at Ralph Recto. They can only feel stabbed in the back. The difference between P60 billion and P15 billion is vast, the first being the revenue that would have been gotten from the original sin tax bill and the second from Recto’s watered-down version of it. The charge that he’s more concerned with protecting the health of the tobacco industry than that of his countrymen is believable.
By John Nery
It was never a constitutional issue—the lack of any mention of the Constitution in the ill-considered Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). Charges that the MOA-AD’s manifest unconstitutionality was symbolized in this blinding absence were only political, not legal.
The watered-down sin tax bill Senator Ralph Recto revealed last week did not only propose a revenue goal on the low end of expectations; it represented a new low, period. Bandying fancy terms like “equilibrium,” Recto, the chair of the Senate committee on ways and means, deceived both the administration he is allied with and the people he is supposed to serve with a rationalization that only the tobacco companies could love.
By Solita Collas-Monsod
Last month—Sept. 6 at 7:01 p.m., to be precise—I received the following text message: “Recto called a secret meeting today with the tobacco companies. He’s rallying them to support the Philip Morris reco (recommendation-SCM) of 3-tiers or something close. And they were sworn to secrecy.”
By Neal H. Cruz
The Reproductive Health bill, already passed by the House of Representatives, is in peril in the Senate. Those opposed to it have a one-vote lead over its supporters, according to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who was the lone guest at the Kapihan sa Manila at the Diamond Hotel last Monday. Enrile said that based on a head count he had made, nine senators would vote against the bill, eight would vote in favor, with six senators still undecided. The fate of the RH bill will therefore depend on these six. Enrile said he himself would vote against the bill.