TO VOTE IS TO FREELY EXPRESS YOUR CHOICE

MANILA
, May 8 , 2004
 (STAR)
BUSINESS & LEISURE By Ray Butch Gamboa  -  As a journalist and columnist for business, lifestyle and motoring, writing about politics and the coming elections probably should not be my concern except to remind everybody about their duty to be part of the process of choosing the people who would run our country.

On Election Day next week we should all perform our duty as a citizen of the Philippine Republic to express our choice as a free Filipino as to who we think should lead this nation.

We should all remember that our vote is our expression of our will and not primarily a vote to make a candidate win.

Let us all explicitly define our choice this Monday regardless of whether our candidate has a chance to win. We should bear in mind that the right of suffrage is the right to express this choice.

Let’s all go out and vote – it’s our duty to God, country and our fellowmen!

Rest & Recreation Or Refuge? Or Sometin’ Else?

Word has it that quite a number of businessmen have firmed up reservations for Hong Kong and other countries in the region while the more practical ones have just opted for nearby Subic or Clark for a "post-elections sojourn" – or what some of them candidly confess to as refuge – just in case.

Some prophets of doom still maintain that should some candidates, especially those who honestly think that they would win, end up not meeting their strong expectations – all hell just might break loose. And most of the businessmen, ever being on the safe side, would rather be far from the ‘action’ this time.

But most of these top businessmen’s legitimate assistants are volunteering the info that many of these wily ones are just making the "threat" as an excuse to their wives for a chance to get into some romantic rendezvous with their other "assistants".

A Willing Sacrifice?

It has been reported that government taxmen are eying the possibility of taxing every text message that’s being sent. The Philippines now being considered as "the text capital of the world" has made it so encouraging for the government to look at this very popular means of communication as a source of income to help augment what’s now considered by many as ‘near empty’, if not virtually empty, government coffers.

Many are of the opinion that the idea, as it is, may be brilliant as long as the communication companies would not pass on the proposed tax to their subscribers but just sacrifice a little of their huge margins to show support for the government and the "texting" public.

Reality check from industry observers – would the telecoms firms be willing to do such sacrifice for their country and their subscribers? It may be ideal corporate citizenship but would it augur well with their business interests?

Many subscribers who have recently gotten wind of the multi-billion peso profits that major telecoms companies have been raking in lately are saying that the prospect of not raising rates of text messages should the government go ahead in slapping tax on them should not be anything less than a "willing sacrifice" of the telecoms companies for their more than 20 million loyal subscribers. Many are of the belief that the poised tax would not make the telecoms companies actually lose money but probably just reduce their profits – indeed a sacrifice.

Sorry, It Skipped My Mind

We apologize to Mrs. Fides M. Sotto and to our other readers about not having mentioned in our column two weeks ago just where to find exactly Mr. Efren Miranda’s bonsai garden, which we discovered in one of our trips to Tagaytay City.

To begin with I don’t honestly think that it’s located in the city itself but on the way to Tagaytay along the Balibago/Tagaytay Road, I think it is.

This is the "new" route to Tagaytay that is not through the old Aguinaldo Highway but through Sta. Rosa, Laguna, taking the Sta. Rosa exit of the South Luzon Expressway, which I’m sure you’re familiar with.

Miranda’s Garden is just past Ming’s Garden, owned by former First Lady, Madame Ming Ramos, on the right side going to Tagaytay. If you still miss it, just ask – they speak Tagalog there.

Happy bonsai hunting! Arescom Activities

The Army Reserve Command (Arescom) had a full month of activities last month starting with the POTC or the Probationary Officers Training Course CL 15-04 last April 12, composed of 130 Advance ROTC Graduates with Major General Raul D. Ralano AFP, vice commander Philippine Army, as guest of honor. The course was officially declared open by Brig. General Dionisio A. Torina AFP, commanding general Arescom.

Meanwhile, 22 students composed the Instructor Development Training CL 15-04 also at the Arescom headquarters, which was declared officially closed by Col. Aguedo P. Vilches INF (GSC) PA, chief of staff, Arescom, with Col. Rolando D. Pacis INF (GSC) PA group commander, 4th Regional Community Defense Group, as keynote speaker.

And finally last April 28 the Centralized ROTC Summer Camp Training at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, composed of 180 ROTC cadets from different regions of the country was officially declared closed by Brig. Gen. Dionisio A. Torina AFP, Arescom commanding general, with Lt. Gen. Efren L. Abu AFP, commanding general of the Philippine Army, as guest of honor and keynote speaker.

We find space in our column for these activities not only because there are quite a number of big businessmen and top business executives who are very actively but quietly involved in these but also in recognition of the efforts that are being exerted by the Arescom not only in strengthening our reserve forces for possible activation in time of national need but their involvement in socially relevant projects that help in nation building.

Nationwide Brownouts Again In The Offing?

On our episode this week on Breaking Barriers (Wednesday, 11 pm, IBC Channel 13) we shall have a second look at our interview with Energy Secretary Vince Perez where my brother Rey and I broke barriers in order to gain deeper insights into the status of the nation’s energy sector. Part of our discussions is the dim prospect of having a repeat of nationwide brownouts that’s presently in the news.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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