Donation Taxation / The Philippine Jaeger Program

What angered
the Filipinos
and the rest of the world
was that despite
the Philippines being
hit by history's
strongest storm,
and despite the
prompt response of the
entire international community,
local officials
of the Philippine government
had the nerve to slap on
donor's taxes,
import duties,
and other tariffs
on relief goods
and foreign aid
arriving in the aftermath
of the supertyphoon.

But although on the surface
it looked like highway robbery,
this was actually
way more than the
State skimming
a few pesos off the top
using the cleverly executed
sleight of hand techniques
of a certified public accountant.

For every dollar
in foreign aid sent
by our international neighbors,
two percent is taken
by the government.
But the amount collected
does not go to the
local government coffers,
nor does it end up
in the pockets of politicians;
instead, these taxes
are being used
to fund

The Philippine Jaeger Program
The Philippines is known for a lot of things. It is famous for its beaches, its islands, its festivals, and its people. It is also infamous for its dirty politics and rampant corruption.

The pork barrell scandal which rocked Philippine politics just months earlier saw the disappearance of millions of pesos into bogus beneficiaries and non-existent NGOs. It seems public trust has disappeared with the public money, and after a tragedy like Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines last November 8, you can't blame the public for their vigilance.

What most people don't know is that the people's taxes are being used for a noble purpose: the funding of the Philippine Jaeger Program, or the PJP.

The PJP was inspired by decades of exposure to Japanese mechas, and most recently, the release of the film Pacific Rim. Jaegers or battle mechs are huge, gigantic robots controlled by pilots, and are humanity's last line of defense against giant monsters.

"The PJP is doing practically the same thing as the anime battle mechs," says the Honourable Jorge "Bolet" Banal, Congressman of Quezon City's 3rd Legislative District and Chairperson of the Philippine Jaeger Program. "Our goal is to create even bigger, more gigantic robots capable of battling the weather."

That's right–it's Man v. Nature on the road to extinction. If you've seen the satellite photographs of Typhoon Haiyan, then you know why it's called a "supertyphoon". To combat gigantic storms, you need gigantic robots, which is why Philippine Jaegers are generally two to three times bigger than the Jaegers in Pacific Rim.

Because of the sheer size of the robots, two pilots won't be enough. "We need four to five pilots to control a single Jaeger," says Banal. "So in a sense, our pilots are closer to a proper Voltron or Voltes V team."

Chairman Bolet Banal also took the time to explain how a Jaeger is deployed into action. "What we do is we have an early warning device," he explains, "which tells us if we have a typhoon forming in the middle of the Pacific. Then we deploy the Jaeger to meet it halfway across the ocean, and here it unleashes an array of weapons designed to weaken the storm. That way, should the typhoon still make landfall, it would be reduced to gale-force winds."

Following the movie Pacific Rim's tradition of Jaeger names, the Philippines's first Jaeger prototype has been christened "Snyper Bolet", in honour of PJP Chairman Bolet Banal, and is expected to be deployed with the next supertyphoon.

16 Nov 2013

Sting Lacson

A writer. By degree and by profession. Also strongly advocates ten-finger typing to all writers because that's what you do for a living, so be efficient at it.

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