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Challenging Jose Almonte

We need to unmask the deception in Jose Almonte’s “A reforming AFP poses a threat to a corrupt state” (Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Talk of the Town, May 15, 2005). The former national security adviser claimed that “the Aquino and Arroyo administrations rose to power on the back of military and national police support.” Let’s set the record straight. Corazon Aquino did not rise to power on “the back of military and national police support.” The people willingly and eagerly carried her on their backs to Malacanang, meaning the uniformed services had nothing to do with it.

A problematic tax

The new tax package approved by Congress is far from satisfactory. The main argument against the increase in the VAT rate is that it will have a negative impact on the poor and low-income groups. But the faculty of the UP School of Economics has countered that the VAT is “mildly progressive” because “almost 40% of the VAT is due from the richest 10% of the population, while only 17.1% is due from the poorest half.”

Maynilad rehab plan is anti-consumer

The highly controversial case regarding the Maynilad rehabilitation plan is nearing its resolution. From the public interest perspective, the plan fails to address the concerns of consumers and taxpayers. On Dec. 20, 2004, the Rehabilitation Receiver submitted her Rehabilitation Receiver’s Report recommending the court approval of Maynilad’s September 2004 Revised Rehabilitation Plan.

Raising the savings rate

The Philippine has a very low savings rate (as percentage of GDP) in the ASEAN region compared specifically to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. This is surprising as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) alone remitted US$8.5 billion to their families in 2004. Savings are key to our country’s development as these are a major source of productive investments that will generate more output and employment. But what are the major reasons why savings have not been mobilized?

The Reign of Witches

Mrs. Arroyo captured the presidency through her allies in Congress.
Although there were strong indications that the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) were dubious, the canvass committee insisted that the law did not allow them to look deeper, which wasn’t true. This, even when public interest demanded it.

The canvass committee could have looked at other documents and compared them to the COCs but it chose not to. It could have spent its time looking for the truth rather than arguing over interpretations of the law but it didn’t. Instead, it peddled the line that the “proper venue” for seeking the truth was the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), not the canvass committee whose job (so they interpreted) was limited to proclaiming a winner, questionable documents nothwithstanding. “Proper venue” became the coven’s incantation.

Globalization (or colonial) mentality

The globalization fever has infected Philippine education. To be precise, we are gripped with Americanization.

We cannot avoid having a globalist perspective. But it is quite disturbing when globalization overwhelms national or local needs. The
thrust of some private schools, as the ads would suggest, is to churn
out graduates for overseas employment or supply call centers with workers who can speak with an American accent. Not bad in itself, but
what has happened to the noble cause of making education serve
Philippine development?