On current proposals toward change

There are national measures being proposed that appear beneficial on the surface but actually detrimental to inclusive growth, these being:

Income tax reduction. This has no effect on the poor whose wages are below standard daily rates therefore are already exempt. The proposal favors those whose incomes are within and above standard. Hence the net effect is maintaining the status quo between classes. Nothing essentially changes.

Instead why not a review of the Value Added Tax which is shouldered by all consumers rich or poor. It acts as an effective barrier keeping goods and services even basic ones out of reach of the poor. Public schools teach children the importance of a balanced diet, but such teachings are of no use in households that cannot buy, say, bananas sold at PHP75 a kilo! And that’s just dessert although many poor households actually have it as their main dish. One cannot anymore squeeze blood out of a half dying animal without risking it’s death. VAT applies to first world economies. When our country has reached that status then let’s apply it. But not now when many are struggling to have decent meals and roofs over their heads. In an economy in which majority of able human resources are not productive participants, VAT is murder.

14th month pay in the private sector as law. This is the stupidest Bill ever! It doesn’t even deserve discussion space.

Con-Con or Con-Ass. My stand on constitutional or government change remains. We can be a Communist or Socialist State for all I care. The key is the people. Communism and Socialism in theory i.e. in their pure states are commendable. It is people acting on real world challenges who gave these forms bad names. Likewise, the democracy that we have is tainted by human agency. I don’t think many Filipinos understand or enjoy the benefits of democracy. Ask the masses. We feel democracy has failed us when the truth is the people failed democracy. Then, ironically, the highest form of governance is when there is no government in which time the people have attained self regulation. That is true freedom. There is no more need to be governed. My point is, people with good hearts and minds make a good government whatever it’s form.

Supposing it’s con-ass? Who are the constituents we’re talking about? Turn toward the state of local governance. On paper, governance is decentralized. In reality, it is largely centrally controlled and planned. The economy is. Education. So are the arts. The LGU Code has come to naught. Con-ass or not the key is the people. Whatever is received is received according to the capacity/focus/bias of the receiver.

So instead of pushing what majority of Filipinos don’t understand yet let’s hunker down in order to do first things first. Amp up adult education. Stimulate the economy. Facilitate equitable access to quality basic goods and services. Etc. And then when the people are better educated, well fed, generally better off, ask them what form of government they need. That is the truer response. Asking them now when they are stressed, harrassed, hungry, dirty- I don’t think their reply made under present conditions is even accepted in court.

The people who are able to think clearly about con-con or con-ass at this time are those whose interests lie toward that. Presently they make up, what, ten percent of the nation? And suppose it’s con-con? Would that make any difference to the current setup of decisionmaking?

Let’s sleep on con-con and con-ass. If it ain’t broken best to leave it. Economic policies favoring growth and development can be made outside of the Constitution.


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