Friday, August 06, 2010

Expats View 1: Some Drastic Government Moves

One of my favorite newspaper columnists is Peter Wallace, an Australian businessman who has been living and working here for more than three decades now. Peter writes a weekly column in Manila Standard.

Today, Peter's article is entitled, "A real to-do list",

Peter suggested the following to President Aquino:

1. Legalize jueteng you’ll never stop it. Bingo is legal, casinos are legal, why is just one form not? Legalize it, you can control it. Legalize it and the crime syndicates go bankrupt.

2. Abolish the National Food Authority use conditional cash transfers. With a debt of P177 billion, it’s a proven failure. Give the poor the cash to buy from a competitive market.

3. Mandate that all pork barrel funds should go to education and health.

4. Revive family planning and sex education in school ask the United States to provide free condoms again.

5. Add carriages to MRT-3 and reduce the number of buses on EDSA by half, controlled into the right-hand lane only LRT-7 will help greatly here.

6. Make English the primary language of learning but retain Filipino as a secondary language.

7. Negotiate power plants we know the cost. We need power NOW. Declare a state of emergency if necessary, because it is an emergency.

8. Order transparency in government a law can follow. All President Noynoy Aquino has to do is order all departments to open their books to anyone who asks.

9. Reduce cigarette taxes to one tier or, reluctantly, two the currently mangled law is depriving the government of billions. we need high taxes on cigarettes, they kill.

10. Increase VAT to 15 percent and greatly reduce personal income tax for salaries below P20,000 per month. I’d far rather pay tax when I spend than when I earn.

11. Scrap the idea of receipts and taxes for sari-sari stores they can come later, if at all. Let those with marginal incomes also maximize the use of what little they get.

12. Create a Department of Information and Communications Technology it’s going to be the biggest sector.

13. Split the Department of Environment and Natural Resources you can’t promote and regulate in the same office. The conflict this develops is emphasized by what’s happening in Tampakan now.

14. Scrap the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform program, 21 years was long enough it hasn’t worked and you need plantations, economies of scale in agriculture.

15. Resolve the Ninoy Aquino International Airport mess within 90 days, not 91 either through a final court decision or a unilateral decision by the Philippine government to just pay a fair price.

Of the 15 items above, I support all except the following:

12. Create the DICT. It's another bureaucracy in the government, the BPO and ICT sectors grew even without a department in the past. Most new regulation on ICT becomes outdated within a year or less as that sector is very dynamic.

I haven't thought much on no. 4, revive family planning and sex education in public schools.

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