By Leandro DD Coronel
More and more people are angry about the TRAIN law.
As early as January this year, I had already warned that the new taxes under TRAIN could possibly spell disaster for the government. And they could accomplish what the diabolical extrajudicial killings (EJKs) failed to do – bring out angry people out in the streets to protest.
In a nutshell, TRAIN is a set of new taxes that the government made palatable to the people by eliminating income taxes up to a certain bracket.
In exchange, certain taxes were be rolled out so the government can carry out showcase infrastructure projects, like roads, bridges, airports, and the like. The government touted these projects as ushering in “a golden age of infrastructure,” under a catchy mantra of “build, build, build.”
President Duterte’s minions and admirers are particularly ecstatic about “Build, Build, Build.” Meanwhile, while the government was marketing “Build, Build, Build” to the Filipinos, the EJKs were taking place every night around the land. Thousands of Filipinos were being slaughtered in their homes and in the streets.
EJKs are summary killings, meaning they’re done without due process. They’re just “rat-tat-rat,” and people fall down dead. In other words, they’re illegal. People are being killed on the pretext that they’re criminals. But even if they’re criminals and not just suspects, they have rights just like every citizen.
Those who complained, here and abroad, about the absence of due process were simply ignored. Or they were threatened or cursed by the goverment or by its supporters.
Freedom-loving Filipinos thought the EJKs would trigger widespread indignation, that the masses would condemn the EJKs and the administration. But no such widespread outrage. Many Filipinos couldn’t be bothered by such disregard for human rights. It revealed to us that Filipinos are not at all bothered by Filipinos killing fellow Filipinos.
And now we have TRAIN, something that could possibly bring out Filipinos out in the streets to protest. If something like EJKs couldn’t bother Filipinos, would they be bothered by the oppressive effects of TRAIN?
Sen. Ping Lacson has warned that a revolution is possible if prices of basic commodities aren’t kept within people’s budgets. “Those who make a peaceful revolution impossible make a violent revolution inevitable,” US President John F. Kennedy had warned in his time.
Already there are rumblings among the people. EJKs didn’t bring out people in the streets to express their anger. Will TRAIN do it? Could the rumblings of the stomach be more compelling than the rumblings of the conscience?
Tantrum Ergo. President Duterte didn’t vote in the recent barangay elections. He goes to his friends’ birthday parties and other such festivities, but didn’t have time to vote, a citizen’s most basic right and obligation in a democracy. What an example to set for our young people. Maybe he was too busy tinkering with the jetski?