So this is a late reaction to the president's State of the Nation Address last July 28.
While I waited for everyone to comment and give the president her "grade", I watched on the sideline the reactions and read the comments coming from the newspapers. My assessment of the reactions was that it was relatively a fair one. Of course, the people at the palace would always want to defend her positions on the current economic and political scenario. The bottom line remains that her best is not enough. Over the past few weeks the political row between Meralco and GSIS has reeled the ugly side of Philippine politics and business. Damn, this isn't something new, but we seem to be washing our dirty linen now in public. Bribery is nothing new in our country and knowledge of it being present in the judiciary is not surprising. I was taken aback that the Philippine Daily Inquirer was parading it in the headlines! FYI, whether it is in the lowly government employee, to the cops and robbers on the streets, to those who wear the religious cloak, to the highest officials of the land - bribery is a way of life. We have evolved into that stage that whether you put it in your face issue, there is no shame among those involved. What the public would want to see is whether those who get exposed get punished. Now that's a different story.
On the stand of retaining the 12% VAT, I certainly have no objections. As a matter of fact I have some suggestions.
1. Consider tax rebates. I would want to have a scheme where an individual tax payer is provided tax rebates on contributions to charitable institutions. We get an official receipt on this donation, example to Bantay Bata or Gawad Kalinga, and get a rebate on the whole amount for the other taxes we need to pay for the year. This way, I get to manage where the rest of my taxes go to, rather than to some seedy government official who goes on a junket trip or skims off money for some pathetic building he decides to build with low quality material.
2. Belt tightening on government. This means that government officials should do more belt tightening than us. For example, the gas guzzler back-up SUVs of senators, congressmen, and other executives should be removed and back-up cars should be limited to two. Perhaps a Chery or an Avanza would be sufficient. And the official cars allotted to the Congressmen should not be more than P750,000, while that to the Senators should not be more than P1M. No car should be more than 4 cylinders and none should be automatic transmission. Imagine how much this country would save just on government officials saving from the gas that is provided them care of the public funds.
3. Fixed income for public utility vehicle drivers. At present these people work based on boundaries. Remove the boundary they have to make and you will see better efficiency on the streets, with less traffic because these drivers will not make every corner a waiting station. In the meantime implement what should be there in the first place - if there is an MRT or LRT, there should be no buses nor jeeps nor tricycles as mode for public transportation. If the street is accessible to buses, jeepneys and tricycles must vanish. If the road is accessible to jeepneys only, tricycles must not ply it. In short, the tricycles have no other role but to provide employment for the many poorer Filipinos that are unemployed. See how pathetic this government is? And they say that there is gainful employment. Which leads to my last point.
4. Gainful employment means paying taxes in return. Make everyone pay tax, including the painter, gardener, carpenter, public utility vehicle drivers, vendors, sari-sari store owners, and the mendicants on the street! Every peso counts and since these form 70% of the "gainfully employed" the government claims, that's a lot of money!
On a side note, I have two weeks left and our dilapidated house will now get the spanking facelift finish it took so long to do. We're still living in the dusty place, but it looks like it's shaping up to look like a home. I'm looking forward to the finishing touches.