ABOUT a hundred white- and silvery-haired ladies and gentlemen lined up for free admission to watch Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in the year’s most hilarious movie, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, based on a true story. We laughed so hard and loud, my eyes brimmed with tears, not of salt but sugar.
Rather than tears of relief, however, the whole lot of us should have wept sad tears instead, and tried to figure out what Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez ate for breakfast the day he announced that senior citizens will have to sacrifice some of their little pleasures to support DU30’s tax program. The Secretary is white-haired but doesn’t need a discount card to enjoy a movie, take a plane ride and relax in a spa or resort, eat out in a nice restaurant with family or old (as in elderly) friends. He doesn’t need tax deductions and price discounts, and that’s that.
Unlike the septuagenarian President who’s been solicitously reaching out to soldiers, policemen, veterans, their wives and widows, children and orphans, the DoF chief just wants to keep taxing retirees and oldies, and he’s determined to limit their “privileges” to uncooked food, medicines, and education. How many seniors are healthy enough to do the marketing, clean the fish, boil the rice? Pray tell, what education does he think they lack?
True, the removal of some privileges won’t kill them – “not fatal,” to quote the most notorious disclaimer of all time – but once given, should they be taken away? Does DoF have to be so heartless to those who are without income and financial support, who are in the twilight of their years after breaking their backs to pay their dues, those to whom a bit of fun means so much?
Only Congress can overpower this thoughtless, harebrained scheme, but if lawmakers are in a pernicious contest to prove who’s more loyal to DU30, do citizens have a chance? Let someone drag Mr. Finance to view Florence FJ on a Monday or Tuesday. Let him LOL and see what joy seniors get out of a freebie. Yes, but can he empathize?
(Jullie Y. Daza)