Sunday, November 04, 2012

My Opinion About Taxation in the Philippines

I believe in social justice. Social justice balances the opportunities between the rich and the poor people. Hence, I believe that those who have more in life should pay more or higher taxes than those who have less in life.  Social justice is not about equalizing incomes nor setting up a communitarian state. It’s about giving equal opportunities or chances to all to succeed in life without curtailing your human rights, freedom and civil liberties. Social justice is merely a way of balancing the opportunities and chances of individuals from whatever sector of a society to have access on the economic gains of a nation.

Here in the Philippines, we need good roads, effective police forces, well-funded public schools, and other basic services. Therefore, the Government needs to be transparent in showing to the public that the revenues it collects from them will really go to worthy projects. Public officials should be held accountable for the right or wrong handling of revenues generated from tax-collections. Those who have committed bribery or mishandled the said revenues should be penalized for graft and corruption.

The Philippine Government must also run after tax-evaders.  Tax evasion causes economic problems, and those who commit such crime should be penalized. It’s a patriotic and democratic duty to pay one’s taxes, because such is part and parcel of the social contract between the government and the governed. Every sector in the society would benefit from effective means of tax-collections and in the prosecution of tax evaders.



Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Subdivision in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines Has Been Flooded for More Than 2 Months Now

Last August 6 of this year strong monsoon rains battered several areas in Luzon and Metro Manila. Several cities and towns in the Philippines were heavily-flooded for days due to such Luzon-wide monsoon rains. But flooding in most of the said areas had subsided already after one week. However, some places near the Laguna Lake in the provinces of Rizal and Laguna are still flooded up to now. There were no storm-signals in Southern Luzon since the last week of August, but the villages near the Laguna Lake are still flooded up to the present time. Some daily thunderstorms from September 1 until today- October 16 added more waters to the already flooded areas near the Laguna Lake. One of such places that have been flooded since last August 6 is Maryland Subdivision.

Last September 16,, about 7 in the morning, my two friends and I went to Maryland Subdivision in Landayan District, San Pedro Town, Laguna Province to take a closer look at the ‘flooding’ in such place. Today is already October 6, 2012 here in the Philippines. We rented a ‘make-shift boat’ so we can tour the whole subdivision last September 16. It took us about nearly 4 hours to completely tour the flooded subdivision. There were no motor boats available in that place. People there use “make-shift boats” as means of transportation. My friends and I were quite shocked to find out that the whole Maryland Subdivision has been flooded for several weeks since August 6. The residents there are using ‘make-shift boats’ as means of transportation. We found out that the whole subdivision has been in flood-waters for several weeks now since August 6. Some residents in the area have already taken refuge in evacuation centers. But most residents there decided to stay in their homes to protect their properties.

Maryland Subdivision is actually a middle-class place in Laguna Province. San Pedro Town in Laguna is a haven for middle-class subdivisions and “exclusive villages.” But the problem with Maryland is that it was built near the Laguna Lake. I wonder how real-estate developers were able to put up subdivisions near the Laguna Lake? It’s obvious that areas near a huge body of water like a river or a lake are prone to flooding. I don’t think subdivisions and other housing projects should be built near hazardous places like volcanoes, rivers, lakes, landslide-prone hills, and bay-side areas. Such ‘hot spots’ are quite prone to natural calamities that can easily ruin people’s lives and properties. Maryland today depicts how a subdivision near a huge body of water faces the daily risk of submerging into waters if strong rains or powerful storms strike.
The national government of the Philippines and the provincial government in Laguna want to continue the plan of dredging the Laguna Lake in order to prevent it from overflowing again and again during rainy days. 

According to environmentalist groups from Laguna, “Due to deforestation, pollutions, improper means of disposing garbage, lack of dikes to protect the towns near the lake, and the clogging of several waterways in the province, the places near Laguna Lake are now suffering from flash-floods and flooded villages in such places would remain submerged in flood-waters for 2 or 3 months.” Various environmentalist groups from the Laguna Province want the national government to implement effectively the projects that can revive the ‘dying lake’. Among such projects are: dredging, the construction of 100-kilometer ring-dike from Taytay City in Rizal to Sta.Cruz in Laguna, massive reforestation, and eco-tourism projects. The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), the government agency in charge of such visionary projects, promised the residents who are living near the Laguna Lake that it would work hard this year and in the coming year to implement the said projects.

Meanwhile Maryland Subdivision in Landayan District, San Pedro, Laguna remains flooded up to this day. The subdivision has been under floodwaters for 2 months now. While some people in that subdivision have already decided to temporarily take shelter in evacuation centers, most residents there decided to stay in order to protect and secure their appliances, vehicles, and even businesses. The residents who stayed in the subdivision now face the threats of having such sicknesses like leptospirosis, diarrhea, dengue fever, amoebiasis, cholera and other water-related diseases. Besides, it would be difficult to transport would-be patients or would-be accident victims out of such area since the streets there are still flooded and “make-shift boats” are the only means of transportation in that place. The height or level of flooding in the area is from 1 foot up to more than 3 feet. Many streets there still have flood-waters up to the waistline. The “middle-class area” has now turned into some kind of a lake. Experts say that flooding in that subdivision and other places near the Laguna Lake might remain from 3 to 4 months before the flood-waters actually subside. I do hope that the national government, the municipal council of San Pedro Town, and the provincial government of Laguna will cooperate together in helping the residents of Maryland Subdivision in Landayn, San Pedro, Laguna. I think the national government should send a team of scientists and engineers in the said subdivision to search for means of making the flood-waters subside faster in such area. I hope the national government can bring in some “technical experts” to the said area in order to help eliminate the flood-waters there. The said subdivision has been flooded for 2 months now.

(NOTE: I requested my 2 friends, Robert Ong and Robin Mercado, to accompany me in taking photos and videos about the ‘flooding’ in Maryland Subdivision, Landayan District, San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines. I decided to go there in the morning of September 16, and that was around 7 a.m., because I heard the news about the ‘more-than-one-month flooding’ in the said area from some fellow-community volunteers who were then doing relief-operations for the victims of the August 6 monsoon rains in Laguna. It would be recalled that powerful monsoon rains battered many parts of Luzon last August 6 here in the Philippines. I went to Maryland Subdivision in the morning of September 16 to personally take photos and videos about the one-month flooding in that area. I used my own digital camera in taking photos and videos of the flooding in the said subdivision. The flooding there was aggravated by the daily thunderstorms that have been occurring in the province of Laguna since September 1. Though the thunderstorms were not that strong, Laguna has been experiencing frequent rains since September. August and September are considered here in the Philippines as months when frequent rains occur on a daily basis. But as I’ve said, the thunderstorms that struck Laguna these past few weeks were not that strong.
I was the one who took pictures and videos of the flooding mentioned in this report. My friend Robin helped me out in recording some videos about my comments on the flooding in the said area. He helped me in focusing the digital camera towards me when I was talking about month-long flooding in the said subdivision. I was the one talking and commenting about the said flooding in the 2 videos of this report. I appeared in those 2 videos to talk about the said flooding. But I was the one who took the pictures and videos of the actual flooding in the said area. The whole subdivision has been under flood-waters for several now. The whole place was devastated by flood-waters. My friends and I traveled around the said subdivision by renting a “make-shift boat.” We rode on that boat for almost 4 hours, from 7: 05 until 11:05 in the morning, just to take a look at the said flooding in that place. Today is Saturday, October 6 here in the Philippines. I was lucky that I was able to take some pictures and videos of the flooding while the sun was out in the morning of September 16. The flood-waters in the said area are obviously stinky and dirty. Rainy season in the Philippines usually lasts from the middle part of June until the middle part of November. Some experts say that the flooding in such subdivision, just like the other villages near the Laguna Lake, would last for about 3 to 4 months. I returned to the said subdivision last Wednesday, October 3 and found out that the flooding in the said area has not yet subsided. That means the residents in Maryland Subdivision would still wait for another 2 more months before the flood-waters would subside completely in their place.)

Sunday, October 07, 2012

About The Newly-Passed Anti-Cyber Crime Law In The Philippines

An Anti-Cyber Crime Law was recently passed this October here in the Philippines. It’s nice that such a law is now in effect to prevent criminals and would-be criminals from exploiting the internet as a medium for their unlawful acts. However, some ‘insertions’ to that law are being questioned by freedom-loving Filipinos. The anti-libel provisions and, also, the super-police power given to government agencies to easily arrest those who are suspected of committing defamatory statements on the internet without court orders are unfair articles that have been inserted in the recently-passed Anti-Cyber Crime Law. Such provisions of the said law clearly violate the freedom of speech in the Philippines. The internet is now a “commonplace” where people meet, mingle, communicate, make new friends and express opinions on various topics, issues and news. The said provisions will make our politicians, aristocrats and celebrities become very powerful since the law will automatically favor them in whatever topic that may pop up from any public issue that involves them. Such is unfair since it means the law only favors the POWERFUL, the RICH and the FAMOUS here in the Philippines. Ordinary folks using the internet would now be easily castigated and penalized for merely expressing their opinions. 

I think it’s only proper that the Philippine nation has Anti-Cyber Crime Law. We must have a law that will penalize criminals who are utilizing the internet as a device that can broaden and aid their unlawful activities. Also, some sex-perverts are using the internet to prey upon young and innocent boys and girls that they can victimize. Every country must have an anti-cyber crime law that will penalize criminals and perverts who use the internet as a source for their would-be victims and as a device that aids their illegal activities. But such a law should not in any way limit nor hinder one’s right to freely express his or her opinions, for a democratic republic upholds the right of an individual to freely communicate and express her or his feelings, ideas and opinions through rational, empirical and pragmatic means. As long as such expression won’t incite violence and persecution against an individual or a group, such expression should be allowed to be heard and expressed in and upon the internet. The internet has become the largest commonplace here on Earth, and the freedom of speech and the right to express one’s self should be upheld and secured in such a commonplace. Hence, an anti-cyber crime law should not contain any provision that would curtail the freedom of speech and the right to express one’s ideas and opinions in and upon the largest commonplace right now here on Earth- the internet universe. We must remember that humanity as a whole has achieved civilization and progress because we allowed individuals and groups to freely express their ideas and opinions for the betterment of this world. Curtailing both freedom of speech and the right to express one’s ideas and opinions is synonymous to curtailing the march of human progress.

Saturday, June 02, 2012



It's so wonderful to have the freedom to love, for such privilege glorifies and completes your being. Such freedom is so powerful that even tyrants and bullies are powerless to stop and suppress it. Even despots crave for love and will readily kneel down just to get it. Whether you're rich or you're poor, the freedom to love is a basic necessity. Love gives direction and meaning to life. Love enables us to do what is righteous. The freedom to love here on Earth is the freedom to find and gain real happiness.