Unsolicited advice to BBM: Choose skillful cabinet members

The overwhelming win of BBM-Sara UNITEAM is slowly shifting from ecstatic to very serious when it comes to our nation’s problems. Coming from more than two years of COVID-19, the country is at a very important crossroad.

Economists argue that the new administration must address several major problems. These are job creation (at least 3 million a year), food shortage (disrupted world supply of corn, wheat), runaway inflation (now at 4.9 percent), highest 63 percent debt-service ratio to GDP, the lack of foreign direct investments and the effects of the Russian-Ukraine war particularly on rising gas and oil prices.

Our agriculture production needs to be improved to ensure food security, and lower costs. It is unbelievable that our national budget stupidly allots only P95-B a year into Agriculture when it is mandated to to feed our people. If we had a successful Build, Build, Build in DPWH with a P686-B budget, we should also have Plant, Plant, Plant initiative with much higher expenditure.

Another major problem is our education infrastructure that should improve the math, science and reading skills of our students. It is disheartening that most of our young teenagers are behind their Asian counterparts in these capabilities. Our young people cannot compute, not science-literate and do not understand what they are reading. No wonder presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte recognized this and accepted the challenge.

Another worry is the resurgence of criminality, illegal-drugs and terrorism. Of late, there were numerous seizures of drug shipments in various areas in the country. Many believe, local officials and PNP bad eggs are again involved. There are also increased reports of drug-related crimes and return of pushers in the neighborhoods. Perhaps, they are anticipating that Duterte is leaving. We must all remember that these drug pushers and addicts were so terrified by PRRD, that more than 2 million of them publicly surrendered in 2016. A one-of-a kind event in this world. But not to worry, the nomination of incoming DILG secretary Benhur Abalos, to my mind, is a fitting antidote to this menace.

This is the reason why choosing other new cabinet appointments are highly important today when our nation’s problems are huge and formidable. The BBM-Sara team should thoroughly calibrate their cabinet selections by superb skill and not on popular or political considerations.

Economically, we are now in better standing after President Duterte enacted several laws from the trash bin of previous Congresses. Impressive tax reforms were made, such as lowering of corporate income tax, the abolition of NFA and the Rice Tarrification Law, the imposition of Sin taxes on Sweetened beverages, the Nationwide fuel marking system to curb oil smuggling, the National ID system, Ease of Doing Business Act , and the Real Estate Investment act (REIT).

And the biggest benefit of all, is Duterte’s TRAIN law that reduced the personal income taxes of 99 percent of taxpayers, the first ever in almost 20 years. Practically, our wage earners received a 14th month pay every year because of the tax reduction. Our working citizenry were instantly provided with additional yearly money for their savings or expenses.

All these economic moves are coming to fruition now, and recently, our first quarter GDP zoomed to 8.3 percent, a clear indicator that the nation is on the right track.

Corruption has been largely addressed despite our flawed and slow justice system that cannot imprison offenders. I recommend the enactment of a similar US-RICO act that allows the freezing and confiscation of properties of accused individuals. But yes, our corrupt legislators will not allow it.

The Duterte hotline 8888 must be institutionalized as check and balance against corrupt public officers. I heard that Malacanang has issued an executive order, creating an Anti-Corruption committee (ACC) in every barangay, municipality, city and province. This will minimize illegal acts in all LGU’s.

Overall, we really need real unity in solving all our problems. The elections is done with and we have new leaders. This is not the time anymore for negativity and nitpicking. We should not destroy the image in the eyes of the tourists and the world. Let us all work hard together as Filipinos loving our own and only beloved country, the Philippines.

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