The continuous appreciation of the US dollar against the peso as of late, though considered by many economic planners as threatening to local trade, will do more good than harm to the local economy in the long run. Despite the threat it poses to local and international trade by way product competition and technology, the long-run repercussions of such a phenomena is beneficial to the US economy, because of economic and financial recovery that will eventually broaden to other areas of growth and development around the world.
The lately strong showing of the dollar indicates a return of the robust business activity in that part of the world, which for quite a time has been deprived in the Western Region. These phenomena in all probabilities signal the start of customary economic activities and recovery in that region of the world.
This trend of booming Western economy will most likely set the trend for this year’s economic milieu. The good thing about this economic transition is the fact that almost all nations stand to benefit from this positive development that lately has been displayed by the West. This encouraging change will most likely create a bullish mood with other nations, directly or indirectly linked with the United States economy.
However you look at these developments that currently exists, it is a preview of what is at stake come 2015; the proposed commencement of the Asean Economic Integration (AEI). The Philippines as some kibitzers observed, will have the upper hand in this battle of economic wits and stability, considering the consistent growth achieved the past few years.
The apprehensions of some in the area of industry and product competitiveness will be doused by the fact that our labor and manpower resources is at par if not better than the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian members. With overseas and rigid local exposures in the field of employment, there should be no doubt with the Filipino’s drive for excellence and developments come 2015.
Manila’s tax increase
Homeowners and real estate, particularly average city dwellers, that had the opportunity of owning one humble dwelling in the city were awakened by the nightmarish increase in the real estate taxes of the city of Manila. The increase was something that will make someone without hypertension experience one. Imagine an average of 150- to 200-percent increase in real estate taxes. A studio-type condominium that measures around 20 square meters (perhaps the size of a comfort room of an average rich guy in Forbes), that previously had a tax of P4,000 will now require a payment of P12,000 in taxes! Does this size of a low- to middle-class condo considered luxurious? Is this the type of ownership that merits a more than 200-percent increase in taxes? Does the city of Manila need to punish average homeowners for breaching from an impoverished life in favor of sustainable living?
For many, this was purchased because it was the only thing that some city dwellers can afford and the only opportunity of having a home they can truly call their own. Nowadays, owning a house and lot is something hardly afforded by many individuals; that is why they settle for these low- to middle-class dwellings. This is blood money earned from their lifetime struggle. It is quite ironic that this increase came from the political leadership that is supposed to be receptive to the needs of the poor; not them knowing that the exorbitant increase would force many to sell their properties and go back to their previous status of being without a home that they can call their own.
These recent developments will surely create repercussions on the leadership of the city of Manila. This has never been endorsed or done in the several years of rule of previous mayors of Manila. But now, barely six months into his term, Mayor Erap Estrada immediately came up with an anti-poor policy; and to think that his “hashtag” was “Erap para sa mahirap.” This runs counter to the image that the good mayor was trying to project.
It is not a question of whether there was no increase in taxes for the past so many years in the city of Manila, but the increase in the real estate levy comes at a time when all kinds of punishing increases in gasoline, electricity and basic necessities unduly burdens the consumers. It is not actually a question of tax increase, but it should at least be reasonable enough for every homeowner to appreciate, and should not be borne out of stubborn behavior or vengeful acts directed and blamed against previous rule.
As it is, everyone is trying to blame their predecessors for whatever leadership “flaks” they create. They refuse to admit their own mistakes and try to hide under the cloak of the previous regimes, despite obvious personal misdemeanor.
Unless and until our leaders become responsible for their own actions and become real statesmen to admit with convictions their slips and rectify it, then we will forever live in the shadow of political and economic misrule and mediocrity.
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