"Why does the President appear so cool about what is happening?"
Santa Banana, in the wake of what is happening in the country—the influx of some 800,000 Chinese in the guise of tourism, resulting crimes committed here by the Chinese against their compatriots, and the corruption of Immigration officials who facilitate their entry—why does President Rodrigo Duterte appear complacent and unmindful?
It’s quite obvious that the illegal entry of workers of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators is being done by Chinese syndicates in connivance with corrupt Philippine officials, even members of the police and the military, my gulay!
Syndicates from mainland China have made our country their playground. Crime is one thing. It is also an issue of national security. Imagine, some of the suspects in a killing were found to possess IDs from the People’s Liberation Army. Have we heard anything from the Department of Defense? No!
There is also the reported entry of an estimated $370 million, snuck into our borders by two syndicates known only as The Rodriguez Group and Chinese Group.
The Customs chief himself said that backtracking and monitoring activities showed that the Rodriguez Group smuggled some P10.18 billion through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The Chinese Group brought in some P8.54 billion.
If Customs Chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero had known about this since last year, why wasn’t the Anti-Money Laundering Council informed? This is sheer negligence, considering the impact of all smuggled foreign currency on national security.
This is why I wrote last Tuesday that I am alarmed over what is happening in our country—even if our President appears cool with it. I lament the fact that the government has done nothing. I would like to ask Mr. Duterte, is all the money we are getting all worth it?
Why are we so in love with POGOs?
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Another thing that President Duterte should be concerned about is the impact of COVID-19 on our national economy.
World economies are reeling from the virus scare. Many industries and businesses are suffering.
Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia himself said that annual GDP growth could be cut by one percentage point. And what is the Duterte administration doing to address this? Sadly, I do not see anything.
From the looks of it, the Duterte administration is just folding its arms waiting for the worst to happen. I hope I am wrong, Mr. President.
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The pastillas racket resorted to by Immigration officials and personnel of the NAIA has taken a new twist with the testimony of columnist Ramon Tulfo, who claimed that former Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre was the protector of the racket and that he was also getting part of the loot.
Tulfo said that Immigration Bureau whistleblower Allison Chiong revealed to him that when Aguirre was justice secretary, there was a money trip to Mulanay, Quezon—where Aguirre lived—via helicopter that contained the ex-secretary’s loot from the scheme. Aguirre has denied all the allegations.
The face-to-face confrontation of Tulfo and Aguirre at the next Senate hearing is something to look forward to!
According to records, millions came as tourists through the pastillas scheme.
Videos have shown that Immigration people often give special treatment to mainland Chinese who come here to work for POGOs, legal or illegal.
Aguirre is a fraternity brother of President Duterte at San Beda Law. I wonder how the President would act on these accusations.
In this connection, the fact that Aguirre appointed the deputy Immigration commissioner, Marc Red Mariñas, who also became Immigration’s port division chief, is another thing. Chiong has given Senator Risa Hontiveros a video of Immigration personnel giving special treatment to the Chinese. Hontiveros questioned the fact that while Mariñas became POD chief, his father headed the special division on security.
And then there is the guard who declared a P9.9 million net worth in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
These and many other things happening at Immigration will soon be revealed.
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One of the most common complaints of businessmen seeking to register businesses in local governments is the high number of signatures required to open a business.
Just to open a shop, one must get the clearance of the barangay. And then you have to have a construction clearance when putting up a structure. There is another one for sanitation; another one for plumbing. After everything, they also need a mayor’s permit. Businessmen shell out a huge sum of money “for the boys”—if you know what I mean.
I am well aware of this racket because when my son tried to open a gallery near Greenbelt, he had to endure the hassles which cost him more than P100,000. It was only when I called a councilor, upon the suggestion of a prominent businessman, that my son was able to get his mayor’s permit.
Oh well. Welcome to the Philippines.