A useless exercise
The Balangiga church bells will never be returned, notwithstanding the US Embassy’s short statement that its government will consider the Philippine government’s request.
“We will continue to work with our Filipino partners to find a resolution,” it said.
In his State of the Nation Address on Monday, President Digong demanded the return of the bells, which were taken by American occupation soldiers from the Balangiga church in Samar in the early part of the 20th century.
“Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are ours. They belong to the Philippines. They are part of our national heritage,” said the President.
It’s a useless exercise to demand the return of a war booty as a dictum in war says that the spoils belong to the victor.
Scandinavian countries, for example, have never returned the booty the Vikings plundered from other countries in Europe from the 8th to 10th centuries A.D.
Then President Fidel Ramos, an “Amboy” (American boy) as he graduated from West Point, asked the Clinton administration to return the bells but his plea fell on deaf ears.
The Duterte administration should focus on more important things, like fighting crime and corruption, rather than the return of a war booty.
President Digong is quite successful in his war on drugs and crime as the crime rate in the country has gone down considerably in the first year of his administration, compared to the six years of Noynoy Kuyakoy’s watch.
Drug abuse leads to petty street crimes.
The President has to start focusing now on corruption in his administration.
The corrupt officials during Noynoy’s watch have been replaced by Digong-appointed officials who are as corrupt as—if not more corrupt than—their predecessors.
The President should send counterintelligence people to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs to see how his campaign promise of change is being mocked by his trusted people.
* * *
The House ways and means committee started its probe Monday on the sweetheart deal between the multinational Del Monte Corp. and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
During the hearing, BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay and Assistant Commissioner for Large Taxpayers Service Teresita Angeles pointed accusing fingers at each other for the reduction of tax assessment for Del Monte from 2011 to 2013.
Del Monte’s tax liabilities for that period was P8.7 billion (not P80 billion as reported in this column earlier).
Yet it was taxed only P65 million, the committee learned.
Dulay said he did not approve of the lowering of Del Monte’s tax liability to P65 million, and pointed to Angeles as the one who lowered the tax from P8.7 billion.
Angeles said approving the reduction in tax assessment was solely the function of the BIR commissioner.
Tsk, tsk, tsk!
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.