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THE Philippine peso slumped to its lowest value in seven years to R48.41 per United States (US) dollar at the close of the Philippine Dealing System last Monday, rebounding slightly the next day. It was the lowest level since the R48.335 on September 15, 2009.

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The Philippines and Vietnam were on opposite sides in the Vietnam War that ended in 1955. Filipino doctors went to South Vietnam in 1954 under Operation Brotherhood which helped Vietnamese refugees in the South’s war against the Communist North. President Ferdinand Marcos sent 2,000 combat engineers to help the South, equipped with patrol boats, weapons, and other equipment from the United States. Saigon, capital of the South, eventually fell on April 30, 1975, and a united Vietnam, with its capital in Hanoi, emerged from the long war.

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The search for solutions to the Metro Manila traffic problem continues, with the latest proposal from Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, suggesting that schools begin their annual Christmas break two weeks earlier than usual.

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IN the last few months of the previous administration, there was a mounting call for tax reform focused on the need for more equitable tax rates. Under current rates which have not been revised since 1997, a rich man whose income is mostly from stock dividends pays 10 percent, while a salaried employee pays 32 percent. The 32 percent tax rate was fixed some two decades ago on the high salaries earned by top executives. Today, because of inflation, this top rate applies to salaries of ordinary employees.

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Certain words have a distinct aura to them that immediately arouses a specific response from people. Take the word “dictatorship,” for example. Use it and people immediately think of Hitler and Stalin and Idi Amin. It is a most distasteful word, to be avoided by a leader at all costs.

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DEPARTMENT of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano proposed last week a two-year moratorium on the conversion of agricultural lands to subdivisions and other purposes. The department immediately stopped – temporarily, it claimed – the processing and approving of applications for land-use conversion.

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