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PNP to focus on seven crimes, Patriots win Superbowl + other taxing news

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ILLUSTRATOR Jasrelle Soriano
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PNP broadens agenda after temporary halt on drug war.

With the President’s war on illegal drugs on standby, the PNP has now shifted its agenda to preventing and solving seven serious crimes: murder, homicide, theft, robbery, physical injuries, car and motorcycle theft, and rape. Duterte recently also ordered the NBI to refrain from participating in the war on drugs, while tasking the army with identifying and removing corrupt anti-drug police. PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa did not elaborate on the details of this strategic shift, however it is worthwhile to remember a recent survey which noted that the drug war’s declining crime rates also resulted in increased insecurity among the population.

New England Patriots win Super Bowl LI.

The Patriots won the 51st Super Bowl, the U.S.’ most highly anticipated sporting event, after trailing for most of the game. Quarterback Tom Brady, who won his fifth NFL title and fourth MVP award, led the team to victory against the Atlanta Falcons by passing for 466 yards and two touchdowns. The sporting event was the subject of political controversy as President Donald Trump is a noted Patriots fan and friend of Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. Furthermore, controversial halftime TV ads for Budweiser and 84 Lumber put the spotlight on the current immigration issue.

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Renewed Senate debate on Sin Tax.

The current law, implemented only on January 1, 2017, mandates a unitary tax rate of PHP 30 per cigarette pack, regardless of price. However, a soon-to-be discussed bill aims to reverse the new law, re-establishing two tiers by adding PHP 32 to the price of ‘low-tier’ brands and PHP 36 to ‘high-tier’ brands. Under this proposed bill, cheaper brands would enjoy a competitive advantage, and Mighty Corp., a major producer of ‘low-tier’ cigarettes, is the only producer in favor of the bill. The Departments of Health, Agriculture and Finance have all expressed serious reservations.

Duterte claims Korean mafia active in Cebu.

In a statement PNP Chief Dela Rosa noted that the Korean mafia may be involved in South Korean national Jee Ick-joo’s kidnapping and murder. While a number of police officers have been implicated in the businessman’s murder, this is the first time the PNP has connected the murder to organized crime. Duterte noted that the Korean mafia is “strongest in Cebu” and warned South Korean nationals engaged in criminal activities in the Philippines from continuing to do so as they would “be treated as just an ordinary criminal, just like a Filipino.”

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