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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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FIRING LINE: Smuggling galore

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Facing the Senate budget deliberations recently, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio yielded to the wisdom of senators the determination of the intelligence and confidential funds that would be allocated for her offices.

That’s a humble gesture from VP Sara. But if you think about it, there’s no primacy in her offices being afforded hefty “intelligence funds” in the first place.

It would have impressed me more had the Vice President appealed to yield these funds for realignment to the country’s budget for building evacuation centers. Such a gracious gesture would unburden public schools of disruption since classrooms are used as temporary shelters for displaced calamity victims.

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Some P5.3 billion in agricultural losses due to the scourge of the recent storm “Paeng” is a tragedy that is easily felt by the industry and market goers.

Vegetable prices have gone so high that when you order chop suey at a restaurant these days, you get more meat. This situation, however, has agricultural smugglers rejoicing.

Firing Line supports AGRI party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee in pursuing an amendment to Republic Act (RA) No.10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016. If passed into law, his proposed House Bill No.5742 would ensure that government officials and employees involved in agricultural smuggling are slapped with heftier penalties.

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Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto has bolted from the Aksyon Demokratiko party, relinquishing his post as party external vice president. Undeniably, Sotto has been one of the most admired local chief executives since first being elected in 2019 because of his commitment to good and honest governance.

Had Senator Raul Roco been alive today, Mayor Vico would not have resigned from the reform-oriented party. Since the passing of Aksyon Demokratiko’s founder, the party’s direction has never been on a straight line. Truly, I understand why a reform-oriented politician like Sotto would leave a formerly reform-oriented party.

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Last week, the Gregorio Catapang-led Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) announced the seizure of 7,000 cans of beer and “shabu” inside the Maximum Security Compound of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) as part of the intensified “Oplan Galugad.”

With that truckload of contraband, there’s no denying that prison officers are in cahoots with whoever is smuggling these beer-in-cans. Unless the smuggling is done in threes with very lax security checks for visitors, we don’t need an A-1 sleuth to determine that these are being brought in boxes.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.thephilbiznews.com

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