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IN MY EYES

I have been a Muslim store fan since they (my Muslim friends) started their business selling DVDs, DVD players, cellphones, CP cases etc.

I always believe that everybody has the right to earn a living, Muslims or Christians. They sell their stuffs cheaper than most Christian businessmen.

I love dealing with Amron, Sa-id and Akbar, all Muslim vendors. They are very good and very nice to deal with. Unlike the Muslims portrayed in Maguindanao, the renegade BIFF, the ultra-bandid group Abu Sayyaf (and also the MILF lost command groups), the trio of Amron, Sa-id and Akbar, are living examples of how good many Muslims are.

We do not talk about the Mamasapano incident, fellas. We only talk about business, no more, no less.

There are many Muslim vendors from Sinait to Tagudin, Ilocos Sur and the whole of Region I. In fact, they are everywhere in key towns and cities in the country selling stuffs ranging from DVDs, cellphones, reconditioned televisions etc. They have developed that networking habit of contacting one another to promote their business. Just like the Chinese, they are content with a little profit they get from every sale. Akbar said as long as there are many customers, a business will prosper. The little gains he gets from each sale eventually will grow big through the years.

This is how patient many of our Muslim brothers are, unlike many garapal Pinoy businessmen who are not content in small profits. They like to gain big immediately upon opening that’s why they have little customers. One of these kinds of Pinoy businessmen that I really hate are those operating restaurants along the national highways which have become the stopovers of hog-bellied bus conductors and drivers who eat for free at the expense of the poor passengers. I think bus companies should stop tolerating their drivers and conductors for eating for free because these garapal restaurant owners would charge their meals to the passengers by jacking up their prices to almost 300%! Sanabagan!

But that’s jumping out of the story, fellas.

One day, I dropped by in one of my Muslim friend’s stall there at the market because my son wanted to have an 8 gigabyte micro memory card for his cellphone. But before proceeding to his stall, I canvassed first the many stalls around. One vendor said it’s P400. Another it’s P350. One said it’s P300. The first and second ones were Pinoys. The third was a Muslim, also a friend. But when I went to Akbar, he sold me at P250.

We had one pleasant conversation, fellas.

When he learned that I also belong to the print media, he poured out all his heartaches.

One of these “aches” is the unfair treatment of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in his town. He said that he pays for the stall permit (which he regularly does) and pays his dues to the BIR in which he was issued official receipts to give to customers once they buy something from him.

But what he is sulking about is that many of the stallowners there in the market do not have business permits.They operate as colorum. He said that he used to complain to the BIR officer who regularly conducts market inspections but up to now, these stallowners are still there, operating under the blind eyes of this BIR personnel.

He also said that Mr. BIR man would always say that “very soon,” these colorum stall owners competing with our Muslim brothers in the market will have their license permits to operate, but up to now, after many years, that “very soon” is still “coming soon.”

“So, it’s like a movie ha,” I said. “It’s always next picture or coming soon, no now showing!”

What really irritates him is that he said he pays his monthly dues and pays the BIR and he still pays for the dirty CR every morning.

“It’s really very dirty and odorous, I wonder what the CR caretaker does with all the money he collects,” he said.

He said he wonders how these colorum stalls are able to get away selling their stuff with the BIR man not knowing they are colorum.

“Perhaps, these stall owners give your BIR man regular lagay,” I said.

“Perhaps,” he said, smiling sarcastically.

“Why don’t you and all legal businessmen here pool together and report this matter to your mayor. Maybe your mayor doesn’t know about this,” I said.

“I have personally gone to a head BIR man to report this matter but it seemed it was not effective,” he said.

He also said that if they go directly to the mayor, they might fall out of grace under Mr. BIR man.

“Baka pag-initan pa kami,” he said.

“But if you won’t act, then these colorum storeowners swarming all around you will just go on depriving your town of the taxes they ought to pay. Next, they will remain your business competitors inspite of the absence of a business permit. Moreover, you might develop a heart disease storing all these pains inside you,” I said.

“Hope you can write about this,” he said.

“I’ll do, but you have to do something also to stop your Mr. Bureau of Internal Remedyo man,” I said.

“Okay, I’ll see what I can do,” he said.

I really pity Akbar, fellas. He said he had lots of stuff to sell before like CPs and accessories. But now, competition has gone tough because many of these colorum stallowners sell theirs at a cheaper price. It’s because they do not pay their tax.

May I, then, call on the attention of all town executives to personally inspect their markets and listen to the voices of the legal stallowners, particularly our honest and law-abidingMuslim brother who are honestly plying their trades and religiously paying their taxes for the betterment of the town and the people.
I’m sure, they would hear of this Mr. Bureau of Internal Remedyo man.#

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