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Stepping up and Toning Down – Different Dosage of Competition for Sectoral Benefits

“With the Quantitative Restriction (QR) on import of rice, expected to be abolished in July, 2017, in the Philippines, it is a need of the hour to work out an interim strategy to build the capacity of domestic farmers and other actors to face international competition,” claimed Dr. Roehlano Briones, Senior Fellow, Philippines Institute for […]

Senator Sotto and me

The lachrymose Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III turned bellicose after a week of relentless beatings by the plagiarism police. He had enough of it and he was not going to take it sitting down anymore. So he stood up and delivered a privilege speech. He absolved himself of plagiarism and questioned his critics’ motives, defended […]

Where is the decency?

Decency, it is often said, is a liability in politics. That’s why lowlifes excel in politics. Public service should not be confused with politics. Public service is what decent human beings like Jesse Robredo do. Politics is what scoundrels do. It is important to make that distinction because public service and politics often intersect. Jesse […]

Sin Tax and the Tuberculosis Epidemic

On the 102nd anniversary of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc. (PTSI), we have chosen as theme, controlling TB by curbing tobacco usage. This theme is most appropriate in light of the recent initiative of both the Executive and the Philippine Congress to pass the sin tax reform. In a country where cigarettes are among the […]

People are dying around them so they close their eyes

The Sin Tax, as passed by the House, faces tough opposition in the Senate. Senate President Enrile said it will be madugo. Why should it be bloody?

The bill, according to its opponents, deals primarily with revenue enhancement and only secondarily as a public health issue. And so, while people are dying from emphysema, cancer, liver cirrhosis and a whole host of ailments associated with smoking and heavy drinking, some senators will pretend that the issue at hand is fair and effective taxation and the welfare of those who depend on tobacco and alcohol for their living, not health.

Quick takes on the last day

It was the high school graduate, Sen. Lito Lapid, who delivered the best speech on verdict day. If prosecution lawyer Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas needed only one word—Palusot—to sum up Corona’s defense, then Lapid also needed only one word to locate where judgment must come from: Konsyensya.