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Are you playing ‘Santa’ with taxes?

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We appreciate and admire people who display their spirit of humanitarianism, magnanimity, kindness, and charity during this sacred season of advent. Deserving utmost admiration are those who show this charitable passion of helping their fellowmen in times of natural calamities or man-caused disasters and devastations even without their names being mentioned, credited, or media covered. Unfortunately as universally observed, the best and worst attributes of humanity come out during conditions and occasions of great festivity, crisis, and suffering.

What is not proper about some acts of charity and benevolence popularly demonstrated by politicians and other public officials is playing Santa using the taxes of the people shamelessly making them appear as their own personal possessions. Rumors abound during this Season of Christmas that certain public officials go into a rampage of throwing lavish parties and all sorts of social functions where they hand out checks, cold cash, bags of goodies playing the role of the legendary Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, or Kris Kringle using pork barrel and other public funds with full personal credit line and media coverage.

If ever there are public officials of this kind, we consider them to be very fortunate, because they have unlimited resources at their disposal courtesy of the taxpaying citizens of our country. This could be the reason why, if they are reminded or bluntly advised not to dip their fingers into any public treasury, they instantly retaliate with a barrage of invectives or volleys of retaliatory verbal attacks.

Being invited to parties, dinners, and concerts that are held using personal or private funds is a rare honor and privilege. But being a guest of a party that is financed by public funds is not only a terrible insult and embarrassment but also makes one an accomplice of committing a technical crime. We only hope not one of our honorable public officials is giving out Christmas gifts, holding parties and concerts, and other social activities using public funds and make these appear to be entirely financed by his own pocket or wallet.

Are you playing Santa using taxes right now? Buyag! Let this happen anywhere else in the world, but not in a predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines. Please don’t let this article destroy or affect negatively your holiday mood. Just consider this as a pigment of my imagination. The show must go on! Anyway it is very unlikely that one of our public officials is guilty of this immoral, unethical, and notoriously undesirable official conduct. However, just in case some are guilty of playing Santa during Christmas or any other festivity using taxes intentionally or unintentionally, may we just request them to turn a new leaf this coming New Year? I am very certain that the taxpayers will be very happy if this will be included as one of the New Year’s resolutions of all public officials.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!

By Clem M. Bascar




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