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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, January 23, 2019
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What VAT shouldn’t touch

Ninfa Leonardia

The Pacquiao mansion – that’s what reporters called it – in Los Angeles, California was entered by a thief or thieves while the boxer was on his way back from Las Vegas. Reports were, however, vague about what had been stolen. Maybe the burglar only wanted some souvenir items, or any other pieces of property that could be considered priceless mementos of the famous ring hero. Or could it have been a fan of Adrien Broner who wanted to give the Pacquiaos a scare?

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I wonder, though, why the Pacquiao mansion had not been better secured. Did he not have a caretaker to watch or maintain the sorroundings? According to the news reports, it was the Los Angeles Police Department men who discovered the theft when they noticed that the door was open. Such a careless thief that one must have been. Must have been an amateur who left his fingerprints all over the place. Let us see how fast the LA cops can solve this.

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Meanwhile the House of Representatives has approved the bill that will lower the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9 years old. Do the House members not listen to the voice of the people they are supposed to represent? Even letters to the editors of newspapers have been vocal in expressing their objection to that measure. The United Nations has also criticized it, but why was the House so eager to pass it? Maybe its members are now too old to have 9-year-old children? What about their grandchildren?

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Anyway, let us wait and see how the Senate approaches this issue. I am rather doubtful, though, because the President is said to be backing it, and, as we all know, “What Digong wants, Digong gets”. So parents, just make sure you are always watching your kids and warning them about the company they keep and the groups they join. By the way, what is the average grade of a nine-year-old? Grade II or Grade Three? I cannot imagine how such kids can get “in conflict with the law”. But maybe our lawmakers have nothing more sensational to impose on our people. For shame.

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One of the most sensible bills to be presented before our lawmakers is the one that seeks to exempt from the onerous value-added tax, or VAT, medicines for cancer and those considered “maintenance medicines” for such health problems as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Indeed, those are the ailments that are very common, especially among the elderly, most of whom are already retired, and no longer have sufficient incomes. The removal of the 12 percent VAT will be a big help, not only in maintaining their health but also sparing them from pain and suffering.

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The latest news on this proposal is that Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, or “Sonny”, is the one pushing for such a measure. Now let us hope that the House of Representatives starts working on this very important piece of legislation that will earn them the gratitude of so many patients who could still be useful members of society, if given the proper, and affordable medication that could lengthen their lives and enable them to be contributing members to the progress of their communities. In this, I can see that Sonny Angara is, indeed the son of his father, one of my most admired government officials, as well as friend, the late Senator Edgardo Angara.

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I was both amused and concerned when I saw s report about England’s Prince Philip, consort and husband of Queen Elizabeth, who was involved in an accident while driving in the streets of London. The item said he was not hurt, nor did he hurt anyone, but one can just imagine a 97-year-old fellow still driving himself to wherever he wants to go. And this is no ordinary “Brit”, he is married to the queen and lives in a palace! But Prince Philip is an outstanding person, he has never been involved in anything “unroyal”, and is fondly regarded by his wife’s subjects.

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Speaking of the elderly, I came upon an article on Doris Day, the very popular and well-loved singer and actress, who is now 96 years old and will also be 97 on April 3. Imagine that! Millenials may no longer have an idea of who she is, but those of an earlier generation still sing the songs she popularized. The article mentioned some of them, like “Sentimental Journey”, which was followed by several hits and Number One tunes, like, Till the end of Time, It’s Magic, Again, If I give my heart to you, Teacher’s Pet, Tea for two, On Moonlight Bay, By the Light of the Silver Moon, Secret Love, My Love and Devotion, Que Sera, Sera, and so many, many, others, including the ever popular, Christmas Story, and one that was so suited for her titled “Day by Day”.*

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