With the enactment of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, wage earners can expect a bigger take-home pay, but also bigger expenses on fuel, fares and goods.
That’s on the downside— critics have warned that the higher value-added tax on fuel and other goods stipulated in the TRAIN would offset whatever savings people would derive from lower income tax.
To me, the bottom line is that TRAIN would create a much-needed middle class and fund the administration’s Build Build Build program. It would really bring the change that we have been clamoring for.
The Duterte administration should conduct a massive information program. Reforms are not all sweet —they also entail sacrifices.
I think the new, simplified and fairer income tax system would greatly ease the financial burden of millions of Filipinos and put a bit more money in their pockets.
For this I commend Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and all the lawmakers who finally came up with a tax reform program—a milestone for the country.
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I tend to agree with the view of some lawmakers that civil unions and partnerships are a more feasible option than same-sex marriages endorsed by President Duterte.
They are right in saying that same-sex marriage is banned by the Family Code and the Philippine Constitution. The Civil partnership Bill filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez recognizes the civil and legal rights of the LGBT community.
For one thing, legalization of same-sex marriage would offend religious sensitivities. Most Filipinos are Christians/ Roman Catholics. I think that even if President Duterte pushes for it, he would not get to first base.
But civil partnerships would make them covered by the Family Code which respects conjugal rights, inheritance and custody of the adopted children. It will also penalize them if they commit adultery and concubinage.
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Since my next column won’t appear until Tuesday, Dec. 26, I want to share here The Tale of the Son upon the request of many who have read it before,
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
When war broke out, the son was called to battle. He died rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and he grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood with a large package in his hands. He told the old man: “Sir, you don’t know me but I am the soldier for whom your son gave up his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart, and he died instantly. He often talked about you and your shared love for art.”
The young man held out the package.
“I know this isn’t much. I’m really not a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”
The father opened the package. It was the portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that soon he was crying. He thanked the young man and offered to pay for the painting.
“Oh no, sir. I could never repay what your son did for me.”
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Everytime visitors came to his home, he took them to see the portrait of his son.
A few months later, the father died. There was to be an auction of the paintings owned by the old man. Many influential and wealthy people gathered.
The bidding started with the portrait of the son. The auctioneer asked: “Who wants to bid for this?” But the people said they wanted to see the great works of art. “Skip this one!” they said.
But the auctioneer continued: “The Son! Who will take the son?”
A man made a bid for $10, and the crowd wanted to continue with the auction. But the auctioneer said the bidding was over.
He said there was a secret stipulation in the will of the father. Only the painting of the son will be auctioned, and whoever bought the painting would get the entire estate.
With this message, I wish to greet my readers a blessed and happy Christmas.