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Like a hole in the head

We have more important things to talk about than “no elections.”

 

Santa Banana, the no-election scenario, like a recurring disease, has cropped up once again.

At this time when everyone’s focus should be on the COVID-19 pandemic, we need this no-el scenario like a hole in the head.

The idea is tantalizing for those who want to cling to power, but they forget the election has been set in the Constitution. What these proponents need to do if they are serious is to amend the Constitution first.

More importantly, Filipinos will not stand for a no-el scenario. Elections are when the people believe they are supreme, with the power to choose their leaders.

The excuse being cited is that people may hesitate to go out and vote because of their fear of the virus.

Fortunately, President Duterte has already thumbed down this crazy “no-election” scenario, obviously to prevent his critics and the opposition from making capital out of it. That should quiet down this nonsense. We have more important things to deal with.

**

For four years since he assumed office as President, Mr. Duterte has set aside our legal victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration which ruled in favor of the Philippines' claim in the South China Sea, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

But for the first time, Duterte affirmed the Philippine legal victory over China before the United Nations General Assembly.

Duterte has hesitated to bring up the legal victory over what China calls its nine-dash line. But China has continued to bully the Philippines over the disputed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continues to encroach on Philippine waters and harass Filipino fishermen.

China has both the economic and political power to pull its weight, so what is to become of the Philippines? I guess our only choice is to ask for support from the community of nations. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have already supported us in our claim.

Our 2016 legal victory over China is now part and parcel of international law.

What I consider doublespeak was what China President Xi Jinping said before the UNGA that “we will never seek hegemonic expansion of our sphere of influence. We have no intention to fight a Cold War or a Hot War with any country."

My gulay, that’s typical of China when it comes to the Philippines, knowing full well that the Philippines can never fight back. The Chinese leaders speak with forked tongues.

What I would like to know from Mr. Duterte is this: After that UN speech, shall he follow through or shall he continue with his policy of accommodation and acquiescence like what he has been doing with China?

**

We rarely hear some good news these days.

But this is definitely one -- the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has imposed a 2-percent cap on monthly credit card interest rates.

Effective November 3, credit card users will be required to pay no more than 2 percent a month, or no more than 24 percent annually on this type of debt.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said that this rate ceiling applies to all credit card transactions. The Monetary Board’s policy also provides that interest rates on finance charges on unpaid outstanding credit card balance of a cardholder should not exceed 2 percent each month.

The interest rate cap aims to ease the financial burden on consumers and micro, small, and medium enterprises amid a difficult economic environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Would you believe, Santa Banana, that banks charge credit card holders as much as 54 percent a month for transactions made on these short-term loan facilities?

My gulay, to me, a credit card is a debt trap. I know this only too well since at one time, I had four credit cards, and I incurred a debt of P1 million. It took me more than a year to pay just half of it!

The new issuance also prescribes a separate interest rate ceiling for installment transactions.

Meanwhile, no other charge or fee may be imposed or collected on credit card cash advances except for a maximum processing fee of P200 per transaction.

These cap on interest rates is certainly a boon for credit card holders who have been the victims of greedy banks. The pandemic has brought enough hardship to people.

Topics: COVID-19 , Election , South China Sea , Rodrigo Duterte , Xi Jinping , China , Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
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