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Sharp Edges

Lazy Metro mayors face charge of gross neglect of duty

As early as Sunday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) announced that Tropical Depression “Falcon” would dump moderate to heavy monsoon rains on Metro Manila on Wednesday and Thursday.

This gives newly assumed mayors and governors more than enough time to decide whether or not to suspend classes.

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Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier warned erring and lazy local officials that they could be charged with “gross neglect of duty.”

Department of Education Order Number 43, series of 2012, and Malacañang’s Executive Order (EO) 66 tasked mayors with the suspension of classes (in the absence of typhoon signal warnings from Pagasa). The announcements should be made not later than 4:30 a.m. for morning classes and before 11 a.m. for afternoon classes.

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For college students, the Commission on Higher Education follows Memorandum Order 15, series of 2012, which gives universities and colleges the authority to call off classes. This conflicts with EO 66 which gives that power to mayors and governors.

This may result in some confusion like the misunderstanding between University of the East officials and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno over the suspension of classes on July 2.

Starting today, we will know which Metro Manila mayor will properly do their duty. Which ones are uncaring of their constituents and downright lazy? And which mayor will be charged with gross neglect of duty?

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The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) business is raking in billions of pesos for the government. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) expects an additional collection of P8 billion this year. This is on top of the P12 billion collected from 2016 to 2018 just for franchise and regulatory fees from 59 Pogos.

Pagcor chair Andrea Domingo says the Aquino administration collected only P56 million yearly from more than 200 Pogos.

On the other hand, the Department of Finance is eyeing a possible P32-billion annual income if each of the 138,000 legal Pogo workers, mostly Chinese, would pay the right taxes.

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An interagency task force has been formed composed of Pagcor, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Immigration, Department of Labor and Employment, Securities and Exchange Commission and special economic zones to allow these agencies to coordinate their actions. The government even approved the operation of Pogo hubs, one in Clark (Fontana) and another in Kawit, Cavite (the 12-hectare Island Cove, now called “Pogo island”).

Industry sources tell me there are at least 700,000 Chinese Pogo workers employed in non-Pagcor-accredited offshore gaming operations all over the country.

Online gambling is prohibited in China and government sees this as a form of “money laundering.”

Today, a big, powerful group is centralizing Pogo operations nationwide with thousands of Chinese online gaming operators lined up for inclusion. Remember Jack Lam, the wanted casino financier, who was involved in the P50-million bribery case against two immigration commissioners? Is he back? Who replaced him? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Tune in to the “Banner Story” radio-TV show, Monday-Friday, 6-9 a.m., on dzIQ (990AM), ABS-CBN TV Plus Channel 30. E-mail [email protected] for comments.

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TAGS: Andrea Domingo, class suspensions, Jake J. Maderazo, Metro Manila mayors, Pagasa, Pagcor, pogo, Sharp Edges, tropical depression Falcon
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