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Contracts of adhesion

  • Written by Dennis F. Fetalino
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 328

If men were angels, there would be no need for accountants—and contracts.

Quite sadly and outrageously, for many of them, their word is not their bond and so contracts were conceptualized as a social construct, a binding agent, to keep men to their word.

Tribes nations empires, and civilizations  injured because of contracts in the form of accords pacts treaties and similar arrangements  that compel to or more parties into adhesion to certain terms and conditions contain in a document.
All self respecting governments uphold the sanctity of contracts, including this brand-new one.       
That’s why President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered that all government contracts be maintained in his inaugural speech yesterday saying that his directive is issued to all agencies.
Recently the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Ports Authority  were at odds over directives issued by former Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina giving certain ports in the country the status of authorized customs facilities  that effectively elevated their business from domestic port operators to one providing international port services in violation of contracts signed with the government through the PPA.
"I order all department secretaries and heads of agencies to refrain from changing and bending the rules government contracts, transactions and projects already approved and awaiting implementation. Changing the rules when the game is on-going is wrong," Duterte said in his speech.
He added that he abhors "secrecy and instead advocate transparency in all government contracts, projects and business transactions from submission of proposals to negotiation to perfection and finally, to consummation."
"Do them and we will work together. Do not do them, we will part sooner than later," he said.
The BoC has been underperforming and has been perenially missing revenue targets set by the government.
It missed the revenue collection target in the past five months amounting to P43.25 billion, which translates to close to P300 million a day it has foregone that Duterte said in an earlier speech was being lost due to rampant smuggling and corruption.
BOC tax collection performance records show that in May 2016 alone, the agency recorded a deficit of P8.85 billion or P295 million in losses a day.
Lina blamed the missed revenue targets of the BoC on the sliding price of crude oil in the world market and not on smuggling and corruption as Duterte mentioned.
Duterte declared BOC as one of the most corrupt agencies, prompting him to order “zero tolerance” on smuggling and graft at the agency.
Port stakeholders have complained against a series of directives of Lina that in effect altered the contracts port users have with the PPA.
The PPA has ordered its port managers to ignore the Lina directives and maintain a status quo in the Philippine ports Lina declared as ACFs.