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Rough Cuts: Soon we will know who we are

Well, we are happy to know that after a long wait the implementation of the once controversial National ID System law will now proceed. That is, after another wait of five more months.

We remember that the National ID system started during the time of President Fidel V. Ramos. But it was met with strong opposition especially from the militant groups who claimed that this would give the law enforcement authorities opportunity to invade the privacy of individuals.

The same proposal was reintroduced during the long years of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime. But still it failed to even reach bill introduction stage in Congress. It was somehow cast into the drain during the time of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III who was trying to keep his administration from known controversy-laden propositions.

But the same proposal for a national identification system seems to have breezed through the usual critics’ attention during the first two years of the Duterte administration. It was introduced and approved by both Houses of Congress with hardly a whimper of protest. And in September of this year, according to the head of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) XI, the registration will finally begin.

PSA XI Regional Director Ruben D. Abaro Jr. said that distribution of registration kits to all citizens will help every applicant’s biometrics and demographic information captured in the national system.

This development should be welcomed by every Filipino. This is one effective way of establishing the identity of every one and if one has not committed any infraction in his/her life towards other people and against the government there is no reason to be afraid of acquiring a national ID. After all, the ID that will come out of this new identification system can be used in all government and private transactions.

We hope that there is nothing more to prevent the final implementation come September. The national ID system is long overdue.

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are claiming they are doing stringent monitoring of prices of sugar in the country.

The move, according to news reports from Manila, came after the chief of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) through member Emilio Yulo, earlier lamented the steep rise in the prices of sugar in the market. Reports disclosed that a kilo of refined sugar is now pitching P60 or over.

The SRA is suspecting that the sudden hike in the prices of sugar could just be a ploy to justify the moves from certain quarters to liberalize sugar imports.

We understand exactly the apprehension of the SRA. Some shrewd businessmen are trying to manipulate prices of certain commodities like rice – and of course sugar — just to have them go into importation of the basic cereal for the Filipinos.

But the questions that must be raised and addressed to the executives of the DA and the DTI should be: What is next after their monitoring will confirm the high cost of sugar in the market? Will the agency close the erring stores and file charges against those who are caught manipulating the price of the commodity?

How far can the two agencies go with their regulatory powers? Will closing the erring establishments stop the manipulators? All these questions really have to be answered and evaluated in the light of previous experiences where regulatory agencies are mocked by well-connected and resource-laden businessmen who are out to devour the trading of the most basic of Filipino needs at the expense of the consumers.

And to think that the regulators whose primary responsibility is to protect the consuming public are, in the most astute way, abetting the manipulations and earning huge sums of money out of their shenanigans.

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Yes, President Rodrigo Duterte has every reason to be proud that after fifty years, Davao City has again hosted the PalarongPambansa.

From media accounts the President was ecstatic, and even eclectic, during his speech at the opening of the national games despite a long and grueling trip from China.

But wait. Did the President know that the facilities of the Davao City Sports Complex at the UP-Mindanao compound are not yet fully completed? Did he know that some events were played at the sprawling Tacunan Elementary and High School grounds? We bet he did not.

We hope though that the Department of Education and the Philippine Sports Commission will give the President the true picture of the city’s sporting facilities. That way the President can use his power to hasten completion of what are yet to be done in order to make the city a true sporting haven in this part of the country.

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