Sona yet so far
From now on, when you hear some loudmouths mock our leader Benigno Simeon, aka BS, for turning the usually heavy policy speech called Sona into some trying hard thanksgiving chat, just look them straight in the eye and say: “Boo!”
Then you can collect your share of the billions of pesos in “lump sum” in the annual budget of the Aquino (Part II) administration for 2015 and, most likely, also for the election year 2016.
Down here, we have to understand that anybody who is worth his weight in congressional pork cannot just acquiesce to any putdown of our leader BS, not when he still commits to use “daang matuwid” as his slogan for the next 10 months.
What is special about the Sona, anyway?
By tradition in this democracy, the yearly speech of the President of the Republic during the opening of Congress has always been the yearly report of the executive to the legislature which, in turn, would make it the report to his ultimate “bosses.”
Our dear leader, BS, simply set aside the old-style nature of the Sona as the most propitious discourse of the president on the pressing problems of the nation and what could be done about them.
What was wrong with disregarding something as important as that?
In his 6th Sona on Monday, breaking all records at more than two hours, at times turning into personal boo-hoo musings, when in the past the Sona would last only for an hour or so, our dear leader, BS, perhaps wanted to cement originality as his Sona legacy.
We were made to believe by all the others before him that, through the Sona, the President would try to validate to the public, for instance, the P3-trillion plus budget that this administration would ask Congress for 2016.
The Sona used to touch on a lot of money matters—and out of necessity.
The past administrations courted the legislature in the Sona, seeking funds to solve the country’s many problems, which the government would have to prioritize because the list of problems has always been endless.
So what if, this time, our dear leader, BS, just sort of glossed over the mother of all our problems, the main beef of the business community, which unfortunately also had a big role in improving the quality of life down here?
That would be the sorry state of infrastructure all over the country.
So what if our dear leader, BS, did not even bother to specify to Congress, and thus to the “bosses,” what kind of infrastructure projects to expect in the last 10 months of this administration to solve some problems directly affecting us.
One of them of course would be the rotten traffic!
There was nothing wrong in the way our dear leader, BS, forgot about the much needed infrastructure for the 2016 government spending program, since this administration never really seriously pursued infrastructure in the past five years, to begin with.
Why would our dear leader, BS, bother us with infrastructure plans, when he did not even mention the biggest of our worries nowadays: the security of the republic with the intrusion of China in our territorial waters?
When nothing was said in the Sona about those two important aspects of our ordinary lives, we immediately knew that it came from our dear leader, BS.
That, I tell you, was how close he has become to his “bosses!”
Neither could anybody claim that the daang matuwid slogan, as repeated again and again in the Sona, seemed to be a hard sell, even though we knew all along that the “kotong” system still operated with impunity.
For why would anybody want to hear from our leader, BS, what kind of hard concrete projects he had installed for us in the P3-trillion plus budget for 2016?
That would be too selfish and self-centered!
Of course the other side of the budget coin would involve the most deadly of all government powers: the power to impose taxes.
Our dear leader, BS, simply spared us from all the worry on tax reform programs, which would only give us some tax relief, with his stroke of genius in disregarding the issue in the last Sona altogether.
The crybabies among us have been asking for adjustments in income tax rates, which have been in effect for the past 20 years or so, arguing that many things already happened all those years, such as a movie actor becoming president, and so many sons of old politicos inheriting the government positions of their parents.
What was so unacceptable about the present income tax rates, in which a simple man getting P50,000 a month would only have to pay the same tax rates (32 percent) as the richest man in the land with tens of billions of pesos in net worth?
To think, that salary of P50,000 a month would not even get him far, and so what was the use of complaining?
Anyway, in the income tax reforms being pushed by the bellyachers among us, it was estimated that the income tax adjustments—both for personal and corporate taxation—the government would have to forego some P90 billion in revenue a year.
It meant that the public and the business sector would have the P90 billion as extra disposable income or extra money for re-investments.
How could the Aquino (Part II) administration allow all those people to have that kind of tax break?
In the first place, this administration already loses hundreds of billions in revenues due to smuggling. In 2010, the estimated losses were P140 billion which have ballooned to P230 billion in 2013.
In short, smuggling grew steadily under the daang matuwid slogan.
The difference between the revenue loss in smuggling in 2013 and in 2010 also amounted to P90 million, or the same as the foregone revenue due to the income tax reforms pushed by all those whiners.
There—it was enough that the administration already must grapple with the smuggling problem, and nobody should worsen the problem our dear leader, BS, by asking for some income tax breaks. Sobra na!
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.