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As gathered from the Internet, introduced this year are House Bills 2700 and 2926 seeking to impose two to three years service in local hospitals before nurses are allowed to work abroad. Here is a look at these bills from the standpoints of economics and fairness.

Those who can pay more for the attainment of a prosperous and peaceful society should pay more—because they have MORE wealth and happiness TO GAIN from such ideal society, and MORE wealth and lives TO LOSE in a society that, for lack of necessary government funding, is beset by mass poverty and crimes against rich persons and property, like kidnapping, murder, and robbery.

In other words, rich people who benefit and enjoy more in civilized society have to pay more for their continued greater benefit and enjoyment, by shouldering higher taxes—affordable to them—that help the government maintain the established order. In this context, the negative comments in media against the decision about two years ago of Dr. Elmer Jacinto, medical board topnotcher, to seek greener pastures abroad as a nurse were unfair. In effect, he was asked to render medical service to generally indigent Filipinos—a social responsibility to poor constituents borne by governments of other nations that can pay for it, but not by our government that cannot afford it. Therefore, what we have is a problem of LACK OF GOVERNMENT FUNDING, and those who faulted Dr. Jacinto wanted him to alleviate it by his lonesome self-- WITHOUT ANY OF HIS CRITICS HAVING THE GOOD SENSE TO SIMILARLY CALL ON ANY OF THE SUPER RICH TO HELP BY SUBSIDIZING HIM THROUGH A MONTHLY ALLOWANCE SO HE WOULD STAY . But why pick on Dr. Jacinto without doing the same on those who can very well help through contributing money for medical services? What more proof that the rich in our society could have very well subsidized him than the P50 million contribution by Mr. Mark Jimenez to distressed educational plan holders? Even that is a drop in the bucket compared to what a super rich could have contributed, as proven to us by the P10.25 billion (equivalent to $200 million ) donation to a foundation by Mr. John Gokongwei, Jr.!

Moreover, if the problem is GOVERNMENT FINANCING, it should be solved by the citizenry through an equitable TAXATION system, not by selective public service —tantamount to UNJUST TAXATION payable in kind or service—by the singled out and DISCRIMINATED Dr. Jacinto. And if we are talking of taxation, we should look first at the capable rich with surplus or disposable income, not at the poor doctor. In contrast, while there are countries with top personal income tax rate of 60 percent, and despite its budget deficit, our government does not rescind what it gifted to rich individuals—successive reductions in their top income tax rate from the old 70 percent to 60 percent in first half 1980's, then to 35 percent under Executive Order No. 37 dated July 31, 1986, and finally down to 32 percent by 2000 under the Tax Reform Act of 1997.

In war, patriotism alone will not solve the problem of insufficient enlistment in the military, so countries mandate compulsory drafting of able-bodied citizens into military service. The same is true in economics—patriotism alone of a few volunteer professionals will not solve inadequate funding for public services. Thus, there must be compulsory contribution out of SURPLUS INCOME by affluent residents—before we lament Dr. Jacinto's decision not to become victim of unjust taxation, or before legislators with billions of pesos in PORK BARREL raise indirect taxes on both luxury and essential goods.

Increase in indirect taxes (paid for by businessmen but actually shouldered by the buying public as part of selling prices), like value added tax (VAT), will hardly affect the comfortable lifestyle of the rich but worsen the already miserable life of the poor. Unlike income tax incurred by the rich based on ABILITY TO PAY, VAT arises from the NEED or whim to PURCHASE goods and services, such as the need to buy expensive life-saving MEDICINES by the poor, or the whim to buy affordable luxury goods by the rich. I could not believe that the government would raise VAT even on medicines rather than exempt these and instead tax some more the rich, but there it is on a popular drug store chain receipt—12 percent VAT on Norvasc tablet or P8.01, which raised its price to P74.75 per tablet to be taken daily, definitely beyond the reach of many Filipinos mired in poverty and misery. While the super rich can afford to pay multi-million pesos more in taxes—as exposed by Mr. John Gokongwei, Jr.—they are subjected to income tax and VAT at rates that still leave them substantial disposable income and are well within their capacity to pay, while the already hurting poor are subjected to VAT at a rate way beyond their means!

Indeed, the GOVERNMENT HAS RAISED early this year the VAT RATE from 10 percent to 12 percent even at the tremendous SACRIFICE OF THE POOREST OF THE POOR—yet it did NOT see fit to RAISE the top personal INCOME TAX RATE of even the RICHEST OF THE RICH, which higher tax rate would not have made a dent in their luxurious lifestyle to begin with! Yes, even if they pay extra millions in taxes—petty cash to them—local taipans can still enjoy their palatial homes, flashy cars, fabulous jewels, and other luxuries that many Filipinos cannot even dream of.

If we do not ask the very rich in our midst to make a bearable financial sacrifice for the sake of the nation to which they are morally INDEBTED, as it PATRONIZES THEIR PRODUCTS and provides them protection under its system of laws, why should we ask the poor Dr. Jacinto—and other POOR NURSES for that matter—to make a worse financial sacrifice when they are not even indebted to the people the way rich people are?


San Miguel, Bulacan
September 14, 2006

The congressmen who filed the two House Bills should be asked to respond to the comments against their bills. First and foremost, if they are asking nurses to sacrifice, what is their own PERSONAL SACRIFICES (nothing?) in solving the problem of health and mecical care in the country?

Are medicines really subject to 12% VAT or the drug store chain (Mercury Drug?) is in error in charging VAT to its medicine sales?

Our nation as a whole is pathetic.

There is only one medical board topnotcher every exam, and yet we, as a nation, cannot offer one like him what he needs so he will stay and make use of his expertise for the benefit of Filipinos.

There is a more-than-one-million-peso vehicle for Commissioner Ricardo Abcede and billions of pesos in pork barrel for our legislators, but not a measly subsidy for Dr. Jacinto. His critics want him to sacrifice alone without them--his critics--wanting to share in his sacrifice.

No wonder, Dr. Jacinto left. He encountered problems in his employment in New York, all right, but that is just a temporary setback. He is still young, he will surely rise from that experience given time. And I am sure he has not forgotten his country. I believe he will return if he can.

Sa proponents of House bills on mandatory nursing service:

Kung gusto nyo na magsakripisyo ang mga nurses, dapat kayo rin. Sa House bills ninyo, ano ang sakripisyo nyo? Kung wala, MAHIYA naman kayo!!!

Sa mga critics ni Dr. Elmer Jacinto, may solution naman pala, makikitid lang ang utak ninyo.

Kaya ayun ang nangyari, sayang ang talent niya. Hindi niya nagagamit ang pagka-doktor niya.

Sana yung donation ni Mr. Gokongwei sa foundation na ang purpose ay education, sana gamitin ito sa pagtulong sa kanya. Sana bigyan siya at iba pang medical topnotchers ng scholarship para magpakadalubhasa sa US, tapos ay pabalikin sila para mag-serve dito sa Pilipinas. Hindi dapat sayangin ang talent ng mga Pilipino.

Yung mga NURSES, tulad ni Elmer Jacinto, ayaw magmakaawa kina Gokongwei at iba pa, kaya nga nagsisikap sila na makapag-abroad.

Hindi rin sila umaasa sa gobyerno dahil malabnaw din ang utak ng mga ekonomista nito, kasama yung nasa Malacanang, kaya hindi makita ang mali sa ginawa nila--na yung mahihirap pinagdudusa ng 12% VAT pati sa mga gamot, samantalang yung mayaman ni hindi nila itinaas kahit bahagya ang income tax rate gayong sobra pa rin ang pera nila, tulad ni Gokongwei.

Tapos heto, yang mga walang isip na congressmen, hindi na sila nakatutulong, nandadambong pa sila siguro ng PORK BARREL na kulang sa COA audit kaya dami nilang palusot, ngayon ay peperhwisyuhin pa nila ang mga mahihirap na NURSES!!! MAHIYA NAMAN KAYO, CONGRESSMEN, PATI MGA EKONOMISTA NG BANSA--FROM MALACANANG TO NEDA TO UP TO ATENEO TO UAP AT IBA PA!!!

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