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Sharp Edges

Gov’t may lose P1B in taxes a year from horse racing

The sport of kings is flourishing today in most parts of Asia, especially in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Macau and Malaysia. But here in the Philippines, the reverse is happening as 2017 racing sales (P7.378 billion) dived in 2018 (P5.556 billion), for a P1.822 billion decrease in all three racetracks.

The Department of Budget and Management last year gave a P100 million incentive, plus a P10 million promotion fund, but this hardly changed the trend.

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With just five months remaining in 2019, racing sales are projected to end up below the P5 billion mark.

Several horse owners have already quit because of very low race prizes and very high maintenance costs. Some professional horse trainers have filed for early retirement while professional jockeys are moving to other Asian countries and the Middle East as stable hands or exercise jockeys to have a more stable monthly income to support their families back home.

Many more reasons are being cited for declining sales: High taxes due to the TRAIN law, online “sabong” in racing off-track betting stations in Metro Manila, illegal bookies, questionable racing decisions and the “sagging” credibility of horse racing as a betting sport.

All these problems now need effective solutions from a new team. Otherwise, the government will lose P1 billion in taxes a year from horse racing.

Revamp the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom) now, Mr. President.

* * *

This week, the Department of Transportation officially approves the construction of the P734-billion New Manila International Airport (NMIA) at zero cost to government and taxpayers.

To be built on a 2,500-hectare property in Bulakan, Bulacan, the “aerotropolis” includes an international airport with four parallel runways capable of serving 100 million passengers annually, a seaport and industrial zone, a government center and institutional and residential zones.

A larger infrastructure ecosystem will connect the NMIA to North Luzon Expressway and Macarthur Highway, plus new airport and shoreline expressways. Mass rail transits will also link the airport to southern and northern Luzon.

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San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang says the unsolicited project will fuel “trillions of dollars” in economic activity and create 30 million tourism-related jobs.

Construction will start at the end of the year with a targeted opening of 2023.

Hopefully by that time, our country will have a dream airport.

* * *

Mayor Joy Belmonte is reportedly working 14 hours a day to manage Quezon City, which is five times bigger in land area than Manila, with a population of more than 3 million people.

She quietly seeks the best and permanent solutions to her constituents’ problems while remaining on guard against troublemakers.

On the President’s order to clear roads and sidewalks of all obstructions, Mayor Joy tasked all 142 barangay captains to act and report to her on a daily basis. The results, though underreported in media, has totally impressed even the interior department.

For instance, she was able to find a solution to the problem posed by a barangay hall in Damayang Lagi that had long been identified by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority as an obstruction. With the help and approval of Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, she found a new site for the barangay hall — a nearby government lot. The old one is now being torn down while two container vans at the new site will serve as the barangay hall in the meantime.

Tune in to the “Banner Story” radio-TV show, Monday-Friday, 6-9 a.m., on dzIQ (990AM) and BEAM TV. Email [email protected] yahoo.com for comments.

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TAGS: DoTr, horse racing, Jake J. Maderazo, Joy Belmonte, New Manila International Airport, Ramon Ang, Sharp Edges, SMC, Taxes
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