Community Whispers by Ray Junia
Community Whispers

Months’ work, shot down in a day

Aug 2, 2022, 12:23 AM
Ray L. Junia

Ray L. Junia

Publisher

In the news, Malacañang vetoes two bills. One seeking to exempt from taxes incomes related to election related services. The other is seeking the creation of transportation safety board.

When the President vetoes a bill, it is also seen as a slap on Congress, the proposed law not having passed the needle’s eye as Congress, both houses, are bound to do.

We are forced to ask, who are the people advising the President on matters of bills to veto?

It is unfortunate that a bill takes years to pass and given to the President for his final action but it takes days for a small group to shoot it down.

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Take the case of the Transportation Safety Board. The President described it a duplication of functions that will result in waste of government resources.

I agree with Senator Grace Poe, there is no such thing as duplication if only the President’s review team took time to read the bill.

That the President vetoed the bill that will strengthen protection of transport users speaks loudly of the level of concern on human life in the government.

If you look at the numbers of deaths from accidents, maritime and roads, there is reason to worry on our safety when we step out of the house.

International standards require that transport safety be given high importance. Having an independent agency investigating and drawing policies on transport safety is as important as having an agency looking at health issues and looking at solutions on new diseases.

Years back, I organized Road Users Protection Advocates or RUPA, exactly to help victims of road accidents and lobby for higher protection to motorists and other users of roads, including pedestrians.

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The first bill vetoed was that Ecozone proposed in Bulacan. The reason, the bill was vetoed was it offered “unreasonable” perks to investors in the ecozone.

Perks and incentives are reasons business grow in these ecozones. From last count, the Philippines ranked low and not competitive in terms of tax incentives and costs that foreign investors park their money in Vietnam and other ASEAN countries.

Then, the government says, the new administration is confident it can up the GDP to pre-pandemic levels in no time at all as business is expected to grow beyond expectations.

The new administration is confident foreign investors will come flying in with their billions of dollars and create millions more jobs.

Maritess says that’ll remain a dream for even local businessmen are bringing their funds to more attractive capital destinations.

A classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.

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Another big surprise, the owners of New San Jose Builders, Gerry Acuzar is the newly- sworn in housing czar. The writing on the wall is clear: conflict of interest.

The new Secretary of Human Settlements and Urban Development is a brother-in-law of Paquito Ochoa, the Executive Secretary in Malacañang of President Noynoy Aquino in a past administration.

This is a double surprise but many take this as Marcos, Jr.’s statement of unity, inviting even those in the opposite camp to help his administration.

The other message here is the President is more focused on building houses, the expertise of Acuzar, than making life livable.

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Gerry is actually a good friend from those days when he was starting as a landscape contractor at the NHA.

I remember him telling me, “Be nice to people until you have made your first million pesos. After that people will be nice to you.”

I agree.


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