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July 16 - 22, 2016

Duterte should consult his technocrats


I supported President Rodrigo Duterte in the last election and still agree with his method of solving the horrific drug and corruption problems in our country. But his recent dialogue with the notorious big-time drug lord, Peter Lim, who he agreed to meet in Davao City, as compared to the summary executions of the small-time-drug pushers who were shot dead while “resisting arrest” in the squatter colonies where they lived is a cause for concern. Since it can easily be conceived as his “double standard” for dealing with these
deadly agents of misery.

Another unfortunate incident was his petulant refusal to honor our country’s commitment to limit fossil fuel emission here as called for in the Climate Change Pact we signed in Paris, France, last December. According to our sources, his reason for not honoring the pact was that he was not a signatory to the agreement.

He would later explain (quite clearly) that the Pact was unfair and biased against Third-World countries like the Philippines which are still trying to industrialize, and badly needed these plants to reach First-World status. But how can he rationalize the construction of more coal-powered plants here, when we already have 8 and plan to establish 12 more during the next decade?

Coal is the dirtiest source of power on earth, and the smoke it emits is depleting our atmosphere’s Ozone Layer which protects us from the deadly heat rays of the sun. Do we really need more of these polluters when we have other sources of fuel like solar, wind, wave, and geothermal power?

I hope the president gives his DENR Secretary, Gina Lopez, the authority to truly regulate the destructive commercial mining practices of the giant mining firms here. Otherwise, I have a feeling she will resign from his cabinet, long before he leaves office.

Instead of relying mainly on his long-time friends and colleagues at San Beda College who are mostly neophytes in national government affairs, I believe President Duterte should tap the expertise of the proven technocrats in his cabinet, like Benjamin Diokno, who served as Budget Secretary and Education Secretary Leonora Briones who was our National Treasurer, both under President Joseph Estrada.

It would also help, if he could discard his “I will be harsh” facial expression, and happily look at the brighter side of life. After all, didn’t the latest Pulse Asia Survey reveal that 91 percent of Filipinos respect and admire his brand of leadership?

Antonio M. Reyes is the publisher and editor of the Southern Leyte Times the largest circulating newspaper & website in Southern Leyte.

Dummies No More

In its Memorandum Order No. 24-2016 the Bureau of Internal Revenue makes it hard for corrupt public officials to buy properties worth several thousands, or even millions, and hide their ownership in the name of their willing dummies.

This they do to evade lifestyle checks in case they no longer have political clout when they get out of government service.

I have been reading copies of tax declarations of real property, mostly land, in the name of persons I know who just are not capable to buy several hectares of land worth several thousands of pesos. They are being made to own such property in behalf of powerful, corrupt politicians whose main purpose is to avoid detection by the scrutinizing eyes of learned citizens. In Maasin City alone, there are various landed property declared in the name of persons with no real capacity to buy such. But in reality the buyers are corrupt politicians who are well known publicly to own them.

The BIR’s memorandum order prescribes guidelines and procedure in the conduct of investigation on the capacity of party/ies to acquire properties.

Transactions covered by the order are those subject to: 1) Final Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on sale of real properties considered as capital assets; (2) CGT on sale, transfer or assignment of stocks not traded in the stock exchange; (3) expanded withholding tax (EWT) on the sale of real properties considered as ordinary assets; (4) donor’s tax; (5) estate tax; (6) other taxes including documentary stamp tax related to the sale/transfer of properties; and (7) those covered by tax-free transfer under Section 40 of the NIRC or the National Internal Revenue Code.

Application for the issuance of Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) and Tax Clearance (TC) covering sale/transfer/assignment of properties shall be evaluated for possible audit or investigation. Parties to transactions may be subjected to audit or investigation to determine their capacity to hold and/or acquire properties. Relative to this, the One-Time Transactions (ONETT) Team shall verify with the Integrated Tax System (ITS) that the seller and buyer regularly files returns and report income sufficient to establish financial capacity. Documents maybe required for presentation such as Income Tax Returns, loan documents, etc. The BIR’s National Investigation Division (NID) shall conduct the audit or investigate when necessary.

It is quite laudable for the BIR to have issued such memorandum order to deter tax evasion, and for corrupt public officials to hide in the name of their dummies suspicious acquisition of real property, notably those bought through corrupt transactions in government.

We hereby name one PNP general whose real properties are visibly acquired through the sale of illegal drugs. Of the five generals now under investigation, it is General Loot whose multi-million properties are highly suspect as shown on television.

From now on, it is high time for our public servants to be clean in their service to the people. After all, on the day they took their oath of office they swore to uphold the Constitution and be upright in serving the government.
Come clean, and leave clean. There’s no substitute for a clean conscience.

Critical collaboration

The adversarial stance of media towards government is as natural as holy water to the devil or the populist base to autocracy, monarchy or dictatorship. With the advent of a civilized society ready to acknowledge the responsibilities, rights and respect for both sides in a democratic space of freedom of the press and speech, they agreed on a compromise of critical collaboration as in the church and state and the press, the so-called Fourth Estate.

The adversariality by media to government and vice versa is deeply rooted and it has nothing to do with principle, policy, competitiveness or public will but everything to do with pride and prejudice, if not arrogance. Man is naturally resentful to any prohibitive interference by others especially lesser mortals. As a demigod, he thinks he knows best. Reason does not appeal to him only that which rhymes in his mind appreciated and applauded by a captive complimenting crowd of cowed underlings and yes-men.

The intent jive with the purpose of creating a climate of fear and enhancing an environment of uncertainty for disagreement, dissent and discussion to thrive which is the essence of free expression. Unfortunately, only catcalling is considered free expression. So is the declaration of an open season to kill, errant journalists, drug lords, corrupt officials and suspected police generals on the take who also happen to be human beings and citizens first of all. How many of them would be tried by publicity and sentenced without evidence or due process. And they call it speedy justice!

The die is cast and the Rubicon has to be crossed. It is not a question of who blinks first or who is who. The most vital factor is meeting of the minds over acceptable terms, condition and rules of the game. And there is no better solution than the policy of critical collaboration. Meaning criticize the bad and collaborate with the good!

Well-meaning citizens not the sycophants and fanatics would tend to accept this modus vivendi as the best option to stop the impasse between two indispensable pillars of democracy including the church that has needlessly been drawn into the controversy.

But, of course, both media and church have a long history of persecution and these have withstood the tests and trials. The right side of history is long theirs as the wrong one on the side of tyrants and despotic rulers.





Editorial archives . . .


Purging in Maasin

Governor Mian supports police drug drive

Maasin is 91st least competitive city

DA allots P100M to revive SL abaca industry

Governor to highlight President’s hometown

Barangay and SK poll registration deadline set on Friday

Gabions curb landslides along Prov’l highways

Advocacy on airport, seaport, and tourism

Shootout in Sogod

Mosquito born virus strikes Ichon villages

De Leon is new PNP Provincial Chief

DPWH employee busted in drug sting

Prince Pagara suffers first loss

101 Addicts Yield

23,000 families here are poor

People warned against landslides

Arquero bags gold medal

New road brings hope to San Ricardo village

Mary Diane is Miss Southern Leyte 2016

Duterte appoints Maasinhon Commissioner

“Local boy” is 16th President

28 drug users surrender in Libagon

Pinoy oks Fisheries Centers in Region 8


Duterte should consult his technocrats

Dummies No More

Our Greatest Basketball Player


Engine replacement


Wasted shredder


500 drug personalities surrender

Hospital pushing incident

Suspected Vietnamese drug pusher arrested


Artambay painting catches budding artists

Southern Leyte celebrates 56th Founding Anniversary

The driving force of Living Hope Hospital


Delayed salary of Bantay Dagat

Hopes for action on Climate Change

Online comments from netizens





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