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‘Scrape to metal’ or ‘retouch’

by Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye

During my color-coding days, I normally take Uber. Regardless of LTFRB’s misgivings about Uber, I personally find UBER quite efficient, economical and practical.

I must have inherited my budget consciousness from my late mother, Sofia Rivera Bunye. So you guessed it right, I always opt for ride-sharing.

Savings aside, I also use Uber for the opportunity to pick on the brains of the driver – my favorite man on the street – as I try to research for my weekly newspaper column.

With the last driver, however, it was the other way around. He obviously recognized me as I settled on my seat. As soon as we got going for my destination, he asked me: “Sec, ano ho ba ang tingin niyo dito sa federalism?”

Wow. I almost fell off my seat. How do I explain this complex subject in ten minutes or less to someone who, in all probability, has very limited exposure to law or political science?

I told Narding (the Uber driver) that switching to federalism is like buying a new car.

The first question to ask oneself is: Do you really need a new car?

So I asked Narding about the car he is driving – a Toyota Vios which he owned. I asked him if he was satisfied with its performance. He answered affirmatively so I told him if that’s the case he did not need a new car.

I asked him next if his car ever suffered any damage which needed urgent repair. Again, he answered “yes.”

He explained that his car was scratched by another vehicle not so long ago. So he brought his car to a neighborhood shop to get a repair quotation.

The shop owner initially quoted a horrendous figure for a “hilamos” or a “scrape to metal” repaint job.

“Pina “retouch”ko nalang ho. Para din naman hong bago. Malaki pa ho ang diperensiya sa presyo at nakuha kong mas maaga ang aking sasakyan,” Narding said.

“There you have it,” I told Narding. “You have answered your own question.”

Our 1987 constitution which provides for a “unitary” government undoubtedly has some shortcomings. But these defects can be cured by a simple “retouch.”

As peddled by its proponents, a federal government (the opposite of unitary government) promises greater autonomy for local governments which have been complaining against too much control from “Imperial Manila”, the national government.

But greater autonomy is still possible without having to change our constitution and without having to switch to a new form of government.

My proposal is simple: Just change, by ordinary legislation, the sharing of income between the national government and local governments. Believe me. You will arrive at the same desired results.

I explained to Narding that right now, revenues (net of some deductions) are split 60:40 between the national government and local governments. With the complicated and, I would even say, inequitable sharing, not much is left for LGUs.

“Hindi hating kapatid ang nangyayari,” I explained to Narding.

My solution: Give the LGUs greater fiscal autonomy. Revise revenue sharing to 50:50, or better still, make it 40:60 in favor of local governments. And let us use gross collection as the basis for sharing.

“Eh Sec, kung ganyan ho palaka-simple, bakit gusto pa rin ng ilan na magpalit ng gobyerno?”

I replied: “Malay ko. Baka may ibang agenda.”

Narding caught on immediately: “Hindi ho kaya term extension, Sec?”

PFVR – the inimitable golfer

It is always a nice experience to bump into former President Fidel Valdez Ramos, who remains undisputably the No. 1 Favorite Adopted Son of Muntinlupa City.

Among his numerous direct contributions to Muntinlupa’s progress, PFVR signed into law the City Charter of Muntinlupa. The city is celebrating its 23rd Cityhood Anniversary this March 1.

My latest encounter with PFVR was during the 118th anniversary of Manila Bulletin on February 2 at the historic Manila Hotel.

An avid golfer, PFVR inevitably asks about one’s game. “Toting, have you ever shot your age in golf or lower?”

“Never, Mr. President,” I told him.

“I have done it 11 times!,” he justifiably bragged.

As proof, he handed me a golf scorecard of some of his memorable games.

At 79, PFVR shot a 78 at the Philippine Navy golf course (2007).

At 85, he shot 80 also at the Philippine Navy Golf course. (2013)

He equaled his age, 86, when he played at Camp Aguinaldo (2014).

At 87, PFVR played another 86. This was also at Camp Aguinaldo (2015).

In the last game, he was in a flight which included Gen. Gerry Kagaoan, Ysmael Bergado, Gen. Mitch Templo and Ambassador Acmad Omar.

“Wala pang ‘give’yan. Lahat ‘putt through’. You ask Mitch Templo.”

In LPGA PRO-AMs, PFVR has partnered with such golfing greats as Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Christie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Ai Miyasato, Natalie Gulbis and our very own Jennifer Rosales. None of them has done it.

What about golf legend Tiger Woods (who is now 42) ?

“It will take Tiger Woods years before he even comes close to my record, ” PFVR said with a wink and his signature thumbs up.

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