“The Commission on Elections (Comelec) the only body authorized to decide on electoral matters, decided that it wants to use the only system that has, so far, given us the least problems. This is as it should be.”
by Ducky Paredes
I can’t believe that we may actually have to go back to manual voting for the May 13, 2013 elections. What even makes it even more implausible is that so many who have been swearing that they are for clean elections are actually pushing for a return to the system that has made Philippine elections a not-really-funny laughing stock wherever elections are mentioned.
We’ve had the birds and the bees electing our mayors, congressmen, even presidents and senators. Dagdag-Bawas is a term known even to non-Tagalogs. And, after every election, we have so many (ho-hum) electoral protests. In 2010, we had a national election where the final count was done within 36 hours after the polls closed. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) the only body authorized to decide on electoral matters, decided that it wants to use the only system that has, so far, given us the least problems. This is as it should be.
So, why is it that three petitions by various groups, led by the Automated Election System (AES) Watch, want the Supreme Court to invalidate a P1.8-billion supply contract with Smartmatic Corp. to purchase the automated voting machines that were used in the 2010 elections? If the SC rules in the petitioners’ favor, we will go back to the tried, tested and failed system that we have had for decades that has been manipulated by operators to favor their paying customers.
Under this system you can buy your seat in Congress or any other position that you care to have. All that is required is that the price is right. And this is what they want? Why?
Is it only because the Comelec did not choose the system that they were selling which, anyway, from what we know, would probably not have worked as flawlessly as those PCOS machines. So, is this being done out of spite. If it’s not his system, then, we can’t have it?
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If the Philippines were to outlaw the use of tobacco because of the health problems that comes from smoking cigarettes, I would not be against it. (Of course, what would probably happen is what happened in the United States during the Prohibition Era, when alcohol (whiskey, etc.) was prohibited. One could still have a drink but the government was paid no taxes and the manufacture and sales of alcohol continued with their business, albeit illegally. Eventually, the government wised up and legalized alcohol.)
What the Department of Finance is planning for tobacco is more sinister. The DOF would greatly increase the tax on cigarettes manufactured locally using partly local tobacco. It would also increase the tax on imported cigarettes but not as much as the increase in the tax on the locally manufactured.
This would increase the price per pack to the point where there would probably be a decrease in the number of cigarettes sold. Thus, the government would be collecting more on every pack even as fewer packs will actually be sold arising from the drastic increase of the cigarette tax that would price local cigarettes beyond the paying capacity of many smokers.
Would this actually mean that more taxes will be collected or will the higher tax (as much as 1,000% more) bring down the amount of cigarettes sold?
This is not such a bad thing because the less number of cigarettes sold, the healthier our population would be.
Still, if the idea is for government to increase its tax take on tobacco, will this actually increase or will the dwindling numbers of smokers negate the higher tax. The formula is simple: # of cigarettes sold x excise tax = tax collected.
It is also very easy to see that an increase in the tax will work to discourage smokers thus causing the “# of cigarettes sold” to drop. If the large increase in the tax rate will have no effect on the volume of cigarettes sold, well and good! But, if the increase in the tax rate were huge enough to affect the volume of cigarettes sold, then, even with the large increase in the tax rate, the government would still not improve its income stream from the increased tax on cigarettes.
Would a 1,000% increase in the tax rate also mean a huge decrease in the “# of cigarette sold”?
I don’t think one has to be a financial genius to figure this out!
We may end up with a healthier country with less smokers and our own DOF would be credited with its service to our health needs even as it fails to deliver on our country’s financial health!
Not such a bright idea, one would think.
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House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo cites a unit of global financial services giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. for becoming the largest taxpayer among business process outsourcing (BPO) firms operating in the Philippines.
The New York, NY-based financial holding company’s in-house worldwide service center in Manila is listed as the No. 1 taxpayer among BPO providers in the Philippines, according to Romulo, who represents the lone district of Pasig City in Congress.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.-Philippine Global Service Center paid P139.65 million in taxes on gross sales of P8.75 billion in 2010. It ranked No. 158 overall among the top 500 Philippine corporate taxpayers, based on a list released by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The service center has a workforce of more than 9,000 in offices at the Net Plaza in Taguig City and Asiatown IT Park in Cebu City.
The center provides strategic back office support to JPMorgan’s lines of business and clients around the world, including analytics, finance, accounting, voice-based customer services, research, IT assistance, training and many other functions.
“That a BPO entity has advanced as a leading corporate taxpayer is testament to how huge our outsourcing industry has grown,” said Romulo, a key backer of the sector.
Romulo is author of the proposed Data Privacy Act, which is expected to further drive outsourcing to Manila.
The bill mandates both public and private entities, such as a BPO company, to protect the integrity and confidentiality of any personal information collected from their clients, in adherence to international privacy standards.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have already passed the Romulo bill on third and final reading.
“We have very high hopes it will soon be signed into law,” Romulo said.
The BPO industry is projected to produce $25 billion in revenues and fully engage some 1.3 million Filipino workers by 2016. With a labor force of 630,000, the sector posted $11 billion in revenues in 2011.
The industry is expected to generate $13 billion and add 126,000 full-time jobs this year, according to the Business Processing Association of the Philippines.
Imagine that Manny Pacquiao, in 2009, paid about as much on his income tax as the top BPO did in one year only to disappoint Kim Henares when, in 2010, Manny paid only a meager P7,000,000.00!
Of course, Kim wants an explanation from the Boxing Champion!
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hvp 04.13.12Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at email@example.com