FROM Baste Chua News Service comes this remarkable development: Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to come back to the Philippines, a wish he expressed before leaving Manila after APEC. Let’s hope he wants to come back as a guest not as Overlord. But Noy’s playing hardball with China has clearly paid off more than all the legal mumbo jumbo about sovereignty, islets and reefs that the French found first but abandoned as worthless.
The only American concern is freedom of navigation. It has declared it will never take sides in territorial disputes. So China can go on reclaiming and weaponizing the reefs so long as it doesn’t treat the surrounding water as China’s. And China will not—until the reefs are reclaimed, weaponized and good and ready to blow any vessel out of the water that challenges its newfound sovereignty. Reefs are unsinkable battleships.
I’ve said it before: the Philippines have nothing navigable to speak of. We will never have a merchant marine again nor need we worry about an interruption maritime trade so long as China allows it—and if it doesn’t, there’s nothin’ nobody can do about it.
The Chinese have no problem with freedom of navigation. They treat the entire South China Sea as their home and, polite as they are, they say—like Mexicans say mi casa es su casa—mare nostrum but feel at home in the Chinese southern sea. Last time a U.S. warship cruised within 12 nautical miles of “the ancient island” that China just raised out of the water, a Chinese warship escorted the US warship, chit-chatted with the American crew, and expressed a sad goodbye and the wish to see them again when they had to part as they approached the territorial waters of Vietnam. In short, the United States was a guest of China all that time.
Noy playing hardball worked, as I said. Instead of us going to China for bilateral talks China will come to us possibly with a couple of MRTs maintained by China and not by a talyer in Paniqui, Tarlac.
And, finally, Noynoy told his bosses that he will not let them keep more of their hard-earned money by lowering taxes. He will keep taking the lion’s share of our incomes. Why? Because, he said, he doesn’t want to be blamed by—listen to this—the beneficiaries of lower taxes when his successor raises them again.
I am trying to wrap my head around this statement but the idea is too big. Noynoy’s concern begs the question whether his successor will ever succeed in increasing the taxes he lowered. That would be political suicide for his successor and the next congress. In fact the people will praise Noynoy for giving them even temporary relief—like GasEx— from fiscal flatulence.
Taxes are never the government’s money; it is the people’s money taken and held in trust, as need requires. This is why when the US Supreme Court warned that the power to tax is the power to destroy, it wasn’t by that formula defining an unlimited taxing power but issuing a grave warning that government’s must tax carefully and hesitantly lest it destroy property without due process of law. Tax no more than is needed for the national defense and the most urgent public needs.
Noy’s parsimony has shown we can have progressive government without throwing money around, especially at big businessmen through PPPs which is the polite name for hold-ups—like when businessmen talk about ‘inclusive’ that it only means they want to fleece everyone no exception.
Still, I can understand why Noy says no to tax relief. When I advised GMA to lower and repeal a lotta taxes, especially the EVAT which I sponsored so as to raise the revenues to protect our financial system from the ravages of the American induced global financial crisis of 2008-2010. The crisis has passed, I told GMA, so repeal it; government doesn’t need the money anymore. By decreasing taxes and doing away with a lotta them, I explained, the next government will be too busy scrambling for funds to harass her.
She said my suggestion was brilliant but unbefitting a president. She said she would not scorch the earth on her way out even if she’s hounded by enemies.
Well, she’s been detained without probable cause of a criminal offense and has been awaiting death by Filipino medical malpractice in a military hospital that used to function as a torture chamber, according to Ninoy Aquino in his Testament from a Prison Cell. That’s what happens when you don’t listen to me.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.