• Tax-free opinions

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    ROLLY G. REYES

    THE BIR’s message was probably misunderstood. “Donut pay taxes.”

    Looks like DUNKIN’ DONUTS unpaid taxes is a MILE LONG. You can INQUIRE if this is true.

    * * *

    I realized lately that I really have a lot of friends with “it’s-all-about- me-and-don’t-care-about-you” postings. Some will just show their faces in whatever they’re doing. Ooops! sorry I forgot – FACEbook it is. Literally.

    * * *

    News: Lucio Tan should pay more than P30 billion in tax liabilities. Case closed or case open again?

    * * *

    Supreme Court upholds Arroyo’s plunder acquittal with finality. After five years of detention and enduring bad press and besmirched reputation, the perpetrators can never repair the damage done. The injustice done can never be forgotten.

    * * *

    News: MILF hits out at govt for ceasefire violation. According to MILF, The Philippine National Police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP-ARMM) said authorities were serving arrest warrants on Mohaimen Abo at his house in Barangay Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao Tuesday.

    Senior Insp. Marcille Manzano, spokesperson of the PNP-ARMM, said Abo, also known as Boy Bangsamoro, resisted arrest and was killed in the ensuing exchange of fire.

    Are criminals now protected while peace negotiations are going on?

    * * *

    News: 32 killed as bus falls off ravine in Nueva Ecija.It is not the usual brake failure but a blown tire due to overloading. A case of overbooking.

    * * *

    First Balfour, a company owned by the Lopezes, operates an open pit quarry within a 13-hectare watershed area in Lobo, Batangas. It mines aggregates, one of the subjects of the exclusion.

    But in confirmation hearings last month, University of the Philippines professor of Geosciences, Carlo Arcilla, said that Environment Secretary Gina Lopez deliberately issued a memo that excludes certain quarrying activities—including those of her family-owned First Balfour—from a moratorium on mining in watershed areas.

    Whether this allegation is true or not, I am sure that Gina Lopez can easily provide us the appropriate explanation.

    * * *

    News: North Korea missile explodes on launch. I hope that none of his generals will be the target of an aircraft artillery.

    On North Korea:
    Diplomacy? More sanctions?

    Facts:
    NoKor will never stop its nuclear program and ICBM development at this point. Even if the US, China and Russia will be on the same side. (It’s commonly believed that Beijing feels it is safer to have North Korea on its border than US ally South Korea.)

    Nokor knows too well its strategic position as a dagger pointing to neighbors China and Russia, Japan and SoKor.

    NoKor knows that global powers change their leaders more often while Kim Jong Un stays. The only way for him to be out is by assassination which is very unlikely. The loony kid will always kill plotters ahead of time.

    NoKor’s trade allies are still Russia, China, Bulgaria, Paraguay and Uruguay. Even EU accounts for 4 percent of its exports.

    The kicker is – Jong Un knows well that his enemies will never be in a united front to deal with his country directly as the wildfire can spread beyond his neighbor-countries. Will the US dare to do it alone? We will know the answer in the next few weeks.

    * * *

    United Airlines missed these facts:
    The total driving distance from Louisville, Kentucky to Chicago, Illinois is 297 miles, or 478 kilometers.

    4 h 26 min (295.1 mi) via I-65 N/hour
    Cost of renting a light private jet: $2,200 2,500/hour. Flight time: 51 minutes
    They could have used this option to transport their crew.
    A lot cheaper than losing $1 billion.

    * * *

    Many will not like what I’m going to say but generally, we Filipinos seem to give importance to self, family, money, career, friends, faith and country in that order.

    Take note, “country” comes last if we only we will be truthful to ourselves.

    Nationhood surprisingly comes into our minds when we’re out of the country working, or if a fellow countryman wins international recognition, be it in academics, athletics or beauty pageants. We only howl in unison and raise hell, or unite if some foreigners bash anything Filipino.

    But here in our country, most will agree that the moment we step out of the house, that feeling of “me against the world” quickly takes the front seat. It’s reflected in the way we drive, the way we compete and the way we tend to envy or put down others who excel in the same field we are in or pursuing the same goal. “What’s in it for me” quickly comes to mind before joining an advocacy or an organization.

    What I’m saying here is that I’m not trying to highlight our ugly traits but pinpointing the main reason why we are always on the receiving end of exploitation especially by politicians or the heavily favored business taipans. They are well aware of these weaknesses that divide us and make it so damn easy for us to be “conquered”. Our society is in danger of losing its main strength and that is our sense of national pride, nationhood or even patriotism. That is why we are mired in seemingly endless poverty. Regionalism still prevails strongly and due to this, traditional politicos can part the Red Sea and allow them to breeze through the path to their desired destinations of power and greed. We choose our leaders in desperation hoping that there will be a “swashbuckling champion” brandishing his gleaming magic sword on top of a galloping white horse only to be frustrated again and again. We do not even have a story to tell because we allow others to do the storytelling for us and submissively swayed by their versions.

    I maybe wrong (how I wish) and denials or insults may come my way but sorry to say, this is how I feel right now sincerely and honestly. Yes indeed, we have tons of aspirations and proclamations, we are a hundred million so many but sadly, we still are not one.

    * * *

    Is this true?

    That “Banks Give Money If You Prove You Don’t Need It”

    Our banking system was not made for small businesses. Banks think that accessibility means building more and more branches, but for small businessmen, accessibility means an easier and faster way to access financing especially during bad times.

    To get a formal loan from a bank, it would usually require that the business run for at least three years with good financials. Moreover, it will take weeks, if not months, before you get approved. If you don’t qualify, you are left with financing options that would eat your business up with unimaginable interest rates.

    Take the case of business start-ups, for instance. When entrepreneurs draw up a business plan and try to get under way, the first hurdle they face is complying with the procedures required to incorporate and register the new firm before they can legally operate. The Philippines requires at least 15 procedures and takes some 30 or more days to start a business. Malaysia requires nine procedures and 24 days while Taiwan requires eight procedures and 48 days. The rest of the Southeast Asian region averaged 8.7 procedures and 46.8 days to start a business.

    No wonder small Filipino businessmen are dying. The banks prefer to deal only with the Goliaths and kill the Davids with their gigantic sling shots.

    * * *

    One story that I would like to share.

    The Philippine Red Cross:
    70 years of providing humanitarian service to Filipinos

    The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has always been there in our midst whenever we are in dire straits. In every emergency situation, calamity or armed conflict, you can be certain that help is coming your way through the millions of Red Cross volunteers spread throughout the country.

    Since its formal establishment 70 years ago on April 15, 1947, the Philippine Red Cross has emerged as the country’s leading humanitarian organization. Under the watchful eye of its present chairman, Senator Richard J. Gordon, more and more people, especially the youth, are volunteering their services and donors have been more than generous in lending a hand to the agency’s cause of alleviating human suffering and helping the most vulnerable sector of Philippine society.

    With its track record of effectively delivering the goods and services to our fellow men in need, even to the farthest corners of these islands, the PRC indeed deserves all the support it is getting and should receive. For good measure, your trust is worth your while for the PRC now has armed itself with modern, state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, including a newly bought hospital and disaster response ship which can sail across choppy seas and can haul itself to shore. All these are intended to ensure swift and unhampered transit of aid to critical areas because Chairman Gordon, the man dubbed as the master of disaster, considers each and every Red Cross mission a race against time.

    The Philippine Red Cross never leaves a disaster site even when government agencies and other private humanitarian groups have left the area to focus on more recent concerns. The PRC makes sure that its presence lingers until the disaster-stricken community is able to stand on its own feet again and gets a new lease on life.

    As Chairman Gordon aptly puts it, “the work of the Red Cross is always a work in constant progress.”

    We salute and thank the Philippine Red Cross for its 70 years of “Kusang Loob, Malasakit, at Kapwa Tao,” qualities that demonstrate unselfish dedication to serve the Filipino nation, and for always being there when we need you the most.

    Good work, good deeds and good faith to all.

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