What’s good about the Philippines seems to be frequently asked nowadays. Pessimism abounds as the answer seems to point to nothing much. The economic situation is making it harder and harder to survive. Everyone still wants to leave for greener pastures, and that includes, oftentimes, selling ourselves short just to make a decent living abroad and to support our loved ones.
Here at home, one of many woes on our minds has been the implementation of the expanded value-added tax, a two per cent e-vat which is supposed to answer the government’s budget deficit with subsequent strengthening of the economy. This is predicated, however, on good governance of the taxes to be collected, especially from the big tax evaders and the smugglers who should pay what is due, or else the burden will again be on the ones paying the right taxes.
These added-value taxes burden all of the population as it would impose taxes on gasoline, electricity, professional fees and so forth, directly impacting the cost of living, making it more difficult to make ends meet.
So many expenses and so much keeping up to do, and so much unhappiness if we cannot afford the next car, the next trip, the next computer?
It’s not fair. It’s just not fair. And the taxes will not help any.
Is it within our scope to change things? Would it help if we become violent as a means of protest?
What we should realize is that we cannot totally abscond from our responsibilities to make things better for ourselves, and not wait for others to change it for us.
Yes, but what is better? What will really make life better? Many items are more expensive, but they do not necessarily add up to peace of mind or happiness. There are basic necessities, and many other material things that globalization has introduced to us.
The key to expenditure is choice of what is basic and what truly matters.
Is worry about not having enough worth all the stress, all the added cholesterol, high blood pressure, triglycerides, etc.?
Can’t we just be content with what is simple and what is truly necessary?
Let us go back to when old-fashioned values reigned, and choose good health, good friends and close family ties.
In the end, everything can be bought but, as the credit card ad says, old fashioned happiness is priceless. Let us settle for the smile of a child, our child. Peace of mind. Fresh air. Being with our loved ones. Being with friends. These are priceless. Rene-Edgar R. Mendoza, M.D.