Sunday, 09 June 2013 00:00
BOC smuggling cases wrapped in mystery
BY ATTY. BATAS MAURICIO
LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, `Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15-16, the Holy Bible).
BOC’S SMUGGLING CASES SHROUDED IN SECRECY: Our columns on the inability of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to reach its monthly collection targets for the first five months of 2013 generated one reaction that put to doubt the seriousness of customs officials in running after those it had charged with smuggling before the Department of Justice and the courts.
This reaction says, the BOC has not shown an honest-to-goodness interest in pursuing its smuggling cases, despite the fact that a special unit was even created specifically for them. Observers noted that there is even no report on the present status of the cases, and that everything about these cases seems to have been kept in the dark, with the proceedings therein mostly shrouded in secrecy.
This is inexplicable, because an honest-to-goodness prosecution will not only lead to the conviction and incarceration of smugglers, but, what is more, it will generate bigger collections for the Bureau. If smugglers and corrupt importers will realize that the BOC will stop at nothing to jail them, they will be compelled to minimize, if not altogether stop, their smuggling activities, which would, in turn, mean more customs revenues. Unless, of course, if the cases were filed on account of some other motivations…
POOR PINOYS: NO FOOD, NO HOUSES: Housing assistance for poor Filipinos? It’s more fun in the Philippines, because it cannot be denied that our countrymen who are poor not only have nothing to eat. They also do not have homes, and so they are forced to put up tents and paper or carton houses on street or road sidewalks, so they could have some place to sleep or to stack up their meager belongings.
The question of course is this: where is the P21 billion or so dole-out to the poor that the Aquino government has been giving out? Maybe, the Department of Social Welfare and Development could try going around the streets of Metro Manila for a start, and see for itself the pitiful condition of our hapless countrymen who have no other option but to sleep on the soil and rough pavements, and then try to do something for them, too.
PNOY MUST PUSH CHARTER CHANGE NOW! If I were one of the advisers of President Aquino, I will make a strong push for an amendment of the 1987 Constitution at this point that he continues to be very popular among the Filipino people, as shown by the most recent survey results issued by the Social Weather Station (SWS). The time is quite ripe for Charter Change, especially to open up land and other business ownership, to enable more foreign capital to come in.
Of course, his critics will say that this Charter Change maybe used by the President’s allies to extend his term beyond the six-year period to which he was originally elected to, but then, what’s wrong with giving him additional time to complete his “daang matuwid “ (or good governance and anti-corruption) initiatives, and solidify the gains the economy has so far attained under his administration?
PREMATURE DEATH FROM BACON, HAM: Here’s an item from Yahoo! Shine that reminds all of us never again to eat hams, sausages, and bacon: “You know in your gut (and your gut knows it, too) that bacon is bad for you. And yet you can’t resist. But a new study might make it easier. It found that consuming high amounts of the breakfast favorite and other processed meats can raise your risk of premature death by 44 percent.
“The research, conducted by scientists across 10 European countries, included tracking the health of more than 450,000 participants over the course of a decade or more. Of the 26,000-plus who died during those years, the ones who ate the most processed meats—5.5 ounces or more every day of bacon (so, five strips), sausage, hotdogs, salami, ham and the like—were 44 percent more likely to have died than those who ate little or none….” I wonder what the Department of Health will say about this?
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