Informative Travels

Opinions Unlimited

by Atty. Tony(APA) Acyatan (Atty. APA – chairman of Acyatan & Co., CPAs-DFK International is president of PICPA in 1990 and ASEAN Federation of CPAs (1998-2000) and Accountancy Hall-of-Famer (2006).

OBSERVED:  We have returned from our short trip to the USA – heavily laden with fresh information and realization – and great resolutions.  For one, we now acknowledge that we are no longer the sturdy cocks that we used to think we were.  As we walked alongside our fellow airplane passengers – our strides gradually became slower- and suddenly, there was that urge to holler for “freely-offered assistance” (wheelchair and volunteer pusher).

The airlines’ weight limit for carry-on luggage became a blessing rather than a prohibition.  It means our lifting capacity (up to the planes’ overhead spaces) has been reduced.  The moral lesson is summarized in simple terms by my wife:  Travel Light – buy only those souvenirs that are small and light.  As a CPA and former banker, I told her:  buy only from bargain sales those that we really need – if they are costly or heavy, then let us NOT need them!

BARGAINS: The big Philippine department stores (SM and the others) hold almost bi-monthly mall-wide sales.  In the USA – sales by Macy, J.C. Penney, Walmart and the others (including factory outlets) are done almost every weekend.  During ordinary weekdays – there are just few Pinoys (mostly seniors) whiling their time away in the malls.  But come weekends – more so in the malls holding sales – many of our kababayans are “on the hunt”.

With the improvement of the peso value – there are many sale items with converted peso prices that are truly “bargains”. Our advice to Filipinos who are going abroad for vacation and bargain-hunting, is for them to window-shop in our malls so they have a genuine feel of the cost of supposed bargains abroad.  They must also keep in mind the goods that are available here.  Even if the converted peso price abroad is “cheaper” – the cost of carrying them home negates the advantage.

US ECONOMY:  The GNP of the USA is a measly 2.0% – a far cry from being the financial giant and most industrialized in the world.  Consumers’ purchasing power has been greatly eroded – and the rate of unemployment is still high.  Latest statistics though are showing bright rays of hope.  Retail sales of new homes are showing improvement – thereby energizing the construction and housing industry.

Homeowners whose mortgaged assets were foreclosed or “dacioned” are reportedly streaming back to their mortgagee banks – offering to “buy back” their homes – or “buying” new, smaller housing units.  Erstwhile terminated personnel are slowly being called back to work – while those with reduced working hours are now given regularized skeds.  Searching for new jobs is still problematical – more so for those who are without formal residency papers.

ELECTIONS:  We missed observing the conduct of our barangay and SK elections since we were abroad.  From the news we have read or received, the voting exercise and more so the campaigns, were politicized.  Politicians funded their chosen candidates – and these obviously are tied up with the next local elections come 2013.  Under the Local Government Code, our village leaders must be non-partisan.  As things now stand – the noble spirit of the law has been lost.

The corruption of the barangay election system is the primary reason why Opinions Unlimited agrees with the CBCP proposal to scrap the SK system.  Experience shows that many of former SK leaders eventually ascended to real-life politics.  As SK leaders, the youth are invariably initiated into graft exercises that served to demolish their purity of purpose and independence.  “Too young, yet already so corrupt”!

LESSON:  It will soon be the Season of Advent.  Let us use our days to prepare for the Lords’s coming – into our hearts and our homes.


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