‘Sin tax’ and the smoking PresidentBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
In signing Republic Act 10351, commonly known as the “sin tax” law, President Noy said its first year of implementation would “liberate more Filipinos from the vices of smoking and drinking.”
How ironic of the President to say that since he is known to be a chain smoker with no immediate plans of quitting the habit.
Some of his Cabinet members and close friends, on the other hand, are said to be heavy drinkers.
* * *
Congress has asked the President to create a presidential task force to coordinate relief and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of Typhoon “Pablo” in the worst-hit provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
Both houses of Congress made the request to the President.
That’s good and welcome news.
But the news would have been better if the House of Representatives also announced it would investigate Rep. Nelson Dayanghirang (lst District, Davao Oriental) on allegations in this space that he is involved in illegal logging in his province.
Dayanghirang, Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon and her brother, Cateel Mayor Camilo Nuñez are being accused by many of their constituents of conducting illegal logging activities in the mountains of Baganga and Cateel.
Baganga and Cateel were the hardest-hit after the typhoon made landfall in the two towns.
Illegally cut logs in the forests of the two towns rolled down the mountain slope, floated on the swollen rivers and bulldozed bridges and houses in the way of rampaging floodwaters.
* * *
I understand why the House of Representatives does not want to investigate Dayanghirang.
It’s the “old boys and girls club” mentality at work among many of our legislators.
But why has the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) under Mar Roxas not ordered an investigation into the allegations in this space about the illegal logging activities of Malanyaon and Nuñez?
If Roxas was quick to investigate allegations that Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino was involved in “jueteng,” why is he footdragging in investigating the accusations of illegal logging against Malanyaon and Nuñez?
It is likely the charges against Espino were politically motivated, but the charges against Malanyaon and Nuñez are not.
Espino’s opponent for the gubernatorial post is a Liberal Party member.
I am the making the charges against Dayanghirang and Malanyaon who happen to be not only my provincemates but my friends as well.
Clearly, I’m neither motivated by politics nor malice in making the accusations.
Dayanghirang and Malanyaon are running unopposed.
* * *
I’m surprised why the President has not asked Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje to explain why illegal logging in Baganga and Cateel went unnoticed.
Paje must have looked the other way while the forests in the two towns were being denuded.
The report by a Palace mole that the President was overheard saying that Paje was corrupt seems to gain credence.
* * *
Sen. Edgardo Angara has withdrawn from the gubernatorial race in Aurora province, but has appointed his younger brother, Mayor Arthur Angara of Baler town, as his substitute.
Apparently, the elder Angara knows he stands to lose because of the much-publicized protest march by Casiguran folk who complained of alleged abuses committed by officials of Aurora Pacific Economic and Freeport Authority (Apeco), Angara’s brainchild.
Apparently, he used his influence over his colleagues in the Senate in passing the law creating Apeco even if it was reportedly not economically feasible.
More from this Column:
- ‘Yolanda’ victims can rely on Lacson
- Ping Lacson’s new job
- Epidemic might break out in Tacloban
- Love is helping others in need
- A real working democracy