ROUGH CUTS| Taking advantage of the hapless

HONESTLY we believe that nowadays using certain situation as basis, businesses and people from all walks in life are quick to take advantage over others who they think are helpless and cannot do anything except gnash their teeth in anger.

Despite warnings from government regulators even in small commercial places like Calinan tricycle drivers suddenly jacked up their fares almost twice the minimum when the passengers have bags of merchandise with them, or that their destination would necessitate using routes that are saddled with vehicular traffic at the height of the Holiday season.

In the vicinity of the Calinan public market where ambulant vendors displayed their wares and other merchandise normally sought during Christmas and New Year’s time, prices of fruits like apples, mangoes, rambutan, water melons, and even loaf bread, did frog leaps by as much as 20 percent more compared to normal prices during ordinary days.

And even in downtown Davao City where some operatives from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) where doing some monitoring of public utility vehicle drivers’ actuation, there were still passenger rejections due to distance and numerous bags of apparently Christmas and New Year purchases. And primarily it was because passengers were oozing then and drivers can choose who to pick up.

Of course passengers who were mostly in a hurry to go home seem to be the first to offer perks to the drivers, especially of taxicabs. And this “voluntary” offer seals the deal. However, those were little things that can be considered isolated.

However, this obnoxious character of many among us is getting the goat from the disadvantaged sectors of the Filipinos especially in the recently signed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law. From our own understanding, a law like the TRAIN cannot start moving to its implementation stage when it is not yet published in a nationally circulated newspaper including its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). And we learned from an interview with Sen. Vicente “Tito”

Sotto III late last week that the TRAIN’s IRR has not yet been completed. It is still being refined to ensure the smooth implementation of the law.

So, the Senator was somewhat surprised why there are already commercial establishments increasing the prices of their commodities when they are not yet supposed to. To him, and to many among us, it is plain and simple taking advantage of the situation.

On the other hand, we agree with the lawmaker that the government through the agencies that have major responsibilityy of informing the people of any issue or development that affects the general public, must do their best to undertake a massive information dissemination drive on the TRAIN Law, its details, the effect of the law on the economy, the lives of ordinary people, and even the possibility of some sacrifices that have to be done in order to attain the primary objective of the law.

For now, the issues brought about by the law that are now being subject to public outburst are all on the negative aspect. That is, how it tends to benefit only the better off in society, and that the poor sector will not have any iota of a chance to enjoy from the supposed fruits the law can give the Filipino people.

To us, it seems the government has allowed itself to be bludgeoned by the untruths and half-truths spewed by those against the law and those who already saw in the TRAIN their opportunity to advance their profit taking. And they are now doing this by increasing the cost of their products or merchandise even before the law becomes officially effective.

We can only hope that the Departments of Trade and Industry, Finance, Agriculture, and Energy will do its mandate in policing the businessmen and even the dealers and small retailers, more so the manufacturers. Once the manufacturers and major suppliers up their prices this rise in cost will be immediately cascaded down to the smallest ambulant vendor.

And maybe it is worth appealing to the conscience of the officials of the supermarket and dealers associations to tame their itch for huge unreasonable profit by waiting first for the release of the IRR before allowing their members to implement price increases citing the need to pay tax rate increases under the locomotives of the TRAIN Law.

Posted in Opinion