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‘Making all things new’

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“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.”

Posted: December 31st, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘After the sun goes out’

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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.

Posted: December 28th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Sin tax’ reform: The time is now

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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.

Posted: November 9th, 2012 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Too high sin taxes may result in less revenue

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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.

Posted: October 22nd, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Health, revenue, fairness (1)

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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.

Posted: October 17th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Completely different angle

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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.

Posted: October 15th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Missing pieces in framework agreement, Recto’s speech

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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.

Posted: October 15th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Recto’s shell game

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.

Posted: October 15th, 2012 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Sold down the river

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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.”

Posted: October 12th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Enrile: RH bill hangs in balance in Senate

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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.

Posted: September 11th, 2012 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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