Creating new problems to solve old ones

Visa-free Taiwan
Visa-free entry to Taiwan is welcome news to many Filipinos, especially the Chinese Filipinos. As Tulay associate editor Grace Pe-Bacani said, it took her just seconds to log on to the visa-free online registration to get visas for her whole family. I’ve had no problem in the last three years getting my electronic free visa by just indicating my valid US and Canada visas.
But I wonder if Taiwan is ready for the possible deluge of Filipino tourists who might decide to overstay and find work in Taiwan. Maybe it’s not all bad news for Taiwan. After all, it does need Filipino workers and if the tourists succeed in applying for a job while already in Taiwan, why not? But illegally staying Filipinos may create new problems for Taiwan.
As for Filipinos who plan to TNT (tago ng tago, or stay illegally), be warned: Taiwan has a very efficient National Identification System. Authorities know immediately the whereabouts of undocumented people.
More senseless deaths
On the heels of the deaths of teenagers Kian delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo “Kulot” de Guzman during police operations is the senseless death of yet another young man.
University of Santo Tomas law student Horacio Castillo III died on Sept.17 of traumatic injuries he sustained at the violent initiation rites or hazing by members of the Aegis Juris fraternity.
There have been many other deaths from this brutal, immoral, senseless ritual, too many to count. The Anti-Hazing Law is ineffective; it has failed to end this form of barbarism.
Former Internal Revenue Commissioner Romulo Villa must be turning in his grave, wondering why 26 years after his son’s death, hazing rites continue to claim lives, just as it did his son. Leonardo “Lenny” Villa, an Ateneo law student, died at the hands of his supposed “brods” at the Aquila Legis fraternity in 1991.
Republic Act 8049, the Anti-Hazing Law, was passed in 1995. Both Villa and his wife Gerry took comfort in the fact that their son’s death was not in vain. But the law lacks teeth to end the long-standing “tradition” of violence perpetrated by fraternities and sororities during membership initiation.
The best solution is for these organizations themselves to practice humanity and decency and respect life. Members of frats in law schools should also bear in mind they are future lawyers who are supposed to defend the rule of law.
Remove PHL from UNHRC
The Philippines has exhibited a total mockery of international human rights mechanisms and should be removed as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the group Philippine Universal Periodic Review Watch says.
The group also reiterated its call for the international community to guard against the worsening climate of impunity in the country. It then called on states to withdraw financial support, if any, for the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other programs “that abet the human rights violations.”
While we agree that there is grave cause for concern in the continuing cases of extrajudicial killings, we do not think it will do any good to solve a problem by creating another problem such as withdrawing financial support and booting the Philippines from the UNHRC.
Just like we found it ridiculous that Congress, in an act of insanity, approved a P1,000 budget for the Commission on Human Rights.
The solution is to make CHR more efficient and effective in imposing their sanctions against erring authorities. But, like the problem of continuing EJKs, the light at the end of the tunnel is still very dim.
More vehicle restrictions
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is proposing the expansion of the vehicle reduction scheme by imposing a four-number ending scheme: 1234 on Mondays, 5678 on Tuesdays, 9012 on Wednesdays, 3456 on Thursdays, and 7890 on Fridays.
As of now it’s just a proposal, but it is already causing stress to motorists who fear it may be implemented.
MMDA is still awaiting approval from the Metro Manila Mayors Council, but people are asking if the mayors intend to consult the public before they decide. So far, I have not encountered any announcement of a public hearing on the proposed scheme.
MMDA thinks this scheme will keep more vehicles off the road and ease traffic. But, is there any alternative? Will the motorists turn to the overworked, under-maintained, breakdown-prone and inadequate transit system on no-drive days? Won’t they add burden to the already overcrowded transit system?
My son-in-law proposes that all cars with the same registered address should have the same coding day. He joked that if you want to get a different coding day, you need to buy a new house! But a friend pointed out the obvious loophole: Business owners and professionals can have the car registered to their office addresses. Businesses can always argue they need mobility for their operations.
Traffic remains a problem, but we cannot solve any problem by creating new ones.
Likewise, if government is going to keep our cars off the road half the time, can they cut registration fees, insurance premiums and taxes by half too?
Disturbing impeachments
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It provides impeachment as a mechanism to remove elected public officials for offenses against public interest. It is a sacrosanct process that ensures government power is wielded only for the good and greater interest of the people.
Impeachment should by no means be wielded indiscriminately just to punish political opponents.
The impeachment complaints filed against Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales are very disturbing. The public is awaiting to know whether more discerning minds in the House of Representatives can overrule the majority who decided to play into the hands of President Rodrigo R. Duterte. They found probable cause to accept the complaints against our magistrates, who are after all just doing their constitutional duties.
We’ve seen so many threats against our hard-earned constitutional democracy lately and it looks like many more are looming in the horizon.

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