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Rough Cuts | Uncertain start for 2020

Before anything else we would like to extend our belated Christmas greetings to some of our readers who might have missed reading our column that came out on the combined issues for December 24, 25, and 26.

This time we are extending our heartfelt wish to our followers for a happy and prosperous 2020.

May they succeed in pursuing the endeavors that they may have failed to attain during the last 12 months.

Yes, each one of us has aspirations being hoped to be achieved in this departing year. Some of us may be fortunate enough to make those dreams come true. But we also know that there are many who did not make it for one reason or another.

But again, another year is up and about. We may or may not pursue those dreams we failed to realize in 2019. The option is ours and ours alone.

So, to all our readers, a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year to all of you!

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This is one bit of bad news to the Filipino people right on the onset of 2020.

The government is starting to collect the additional excise and value added taxes on oil products under the TRAIN law and the Corporate Income Tax Rationalization Act. That would mean the start of the driving of the crucifixion nails on the palms and feet of every Juan de la Cruz. This was supposed to be done starting January 1, 2019 but was put on hold by the government. It was then a huge relief to the common man who is the first to suffer the brunt of the spike in cost of basic goods usually brought about by the increase in prices of petroleum products.

Of course, everyone is aware that this respite is already over. So, waiting for the old oil products inventories to be consumed could even be more excruciating. What with reports that members of the organization Oil Producing and Exporting Countries or OPEC, are planning to put a cap in their production to rationalize prices of their products in their favor.

Should OPEC pursue this plan the cost of oil per barrel in the first few months of 2020 could be higher. Thus, the imposition of the additional excise tax could also pull up the cost of fuel products in the Philippines to another high.

Naturally, the producers of basic commodities in the country can immediately find a scapegoat to justify the increase they would impose on their products. They’d immediately point to the higher cost of running their machineries fed with fuel; or they’d be spending more for transporting their goods to the market.

Yes, the manufacturers, the dealers up to the lowest retailers refer only to one reason of the spike in the cost of their goods – high cost of fuel products.

Indeed, lurking behind the positivity brought about by the short deferment of the imposition of the additional P2 in excise taxes of petroleum products for 2019 and the gradual hike of the same tax plus the slapping of a new VAT, under the new tax law is the grim reality of a resurgence of a higher inflation rate in the early part of 2020.

This is something that we have to prepare for. We cannot afford to, again, be caught by any such contagion with our pants down.

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And here are some of our additional wishes for the incoming year:

– That there shall be no additional slippage in the completion of the Catalunan Grande road expansion project after its contractor Ulticon Builders, Inc., failed to make good its contracted completion date of January 2018. January 2020 is about to begin and the two-year delay is quite hard to accept by the people. Another year or even a half more of slippage would be reason enough to raise the Davaoenos’ eyebrows.

– That finally, in 2020, the much talked about multi-billion peso sports facility at the University of the Philippines reservation in Tugbok, Davao City would be fully completed – as in COMPLETED — and can already be used for the next national and regional games after the 2018 staging of the Palarong Pambansa; and that the government, be it the national or local, be ready for a unit or office as well as budget to take care of the facility’s upkeep so that its use can be for long and not just for a year or two;

– That whatever is or are the issues that hinder the implementation of the first ever Mindanao Railway System is resolved and the project started. Delaying the resolution of these issues could only mean that the government is not really serious in having the railway project pursued. That would be one big blot in the making for the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the first Mindanaoan President who is expected to successfully put in place that gigantic infrastructure project in this southern Philippine island.

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