Apr 042014
NGCP says it dutifully pays franchise taxes to gov’t

MANILA, Philippines – The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the country’s power grid operator, maintained that it is exempt from income tax but stressed that it dutifully pays its franchise taxes to the government. NGCP, a privately owned transmission company, said that its tax-exempt privilege is provided under Republic Act 9511, the law that granted NGCP a 50-year franchise to operate the grid. The grid operator made the clarification after the Department of Finance (DOF) published a Tax Watch print ad stating that only 39 of the top 100 corporations ranked by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the corporate regulator, landed on the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) list of 500 top corporate/non-individual taxpayers. NGCP is in the SEC’s list of top 100 corporations, occupying the 25th spot, based on revenues. On the other hand, BIR’s list, which was based on income tax returns, did not include the grid operator. NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Perez-Alabanza said that the company pays franchise tax in lieu of income tax.  “NGCP’s franchise granted through Republic Act 9511 mandates that it pay a franchise tax equivalent to three percent of all gross receipts, ‘in lieu of income tax and any and all taxes, duties, fees and charges of any kind, nature of description levied, established or collected by any local or national authority on its franchise, rights, privileges, receipts, revenues and profits, and on properties used in connection with its franchise,” she said. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Read More …

Feb 132014
Bill seeks to increase monthly stipend of senior citizens

An elderly survivor evacuated from the disaster zone of typhoon Haiyan is wheeled past a V-22 Osprey on tarmac after arriving on a military plane at Villamor Air Base in Manila November 13, 2013. Philippine officials have been overwhelmed by Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons on record, which tore through the central Philippines on Friday and flattened Tacloban, coastal capital of Leyte province where officials had feared 10,000 people died, many drowning in a tsunami-like wall of seawater. (MNS photo) MANILA (Mabuhay) – A lawmaker has filed a measure increasing the monthly stipend of senior citizens from P500 to P1,000. House Bill 3731, authored by Rep. Anthony del Rosario (1st District, Davao del Norte), also seeks to lower the age of coverage from the present 77 years old to 70 years old. Del Rosario said the present age requirement is no longer reasonable considering today’s average lifespan of senior citizens. “The coverage should be lowered so that our elderly will be able to avail of the benefits longer into their twilight years,” Del Rosario said. The measure amends Republic Act 7432, as amended, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. “The time is ripe to re-visit the provisions embodied in the existing law and uphold the time-honored principle that those who have less in life should have more in law,” Del Rosario stressed. “It cannot be denied that over the years the prices of commodities have increased and by increasing the senior citizens’ purchasing power, this Read More …

Jan 162014
PNP finalizes details of gun amnesty implementation

member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) shows the new Glock 17 Generation 4 pistols after a distribution ceremony of the pistols at the police headquarters in Manila July 2, 2013. Philippine President Benigno Aquino attended the ceremony in which 22,603 pistols were distributed to PNP officers as part of the government’s effort to arm each police officer in the country with a handgun in order to strengthen the police force, local media reported. (MNS photo) MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is just ironing out final details of the gun amnesty which is expected to start within the month as part of implementation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act. PNP Director General Alan Purisima said that the PNP leadership is now finalizing details of the gun amnesty for the smooth implementation of the new firearms law. ”We are just ironing out some details so that there will be proper procedures in the gun amnesty,” said Purisima. The PNP chief the gun amnesty will start as soon as the police leadership finalized the procedures. ”There is just a review and then we will implement it. We will publish it,” said Purisima. The final gun amnesty is part of the provisions of RA 10591, which was signed into law last year by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Purisima cited the importance of the new firearms law in combating crimes in the country, which mostly involved guns. He vowed strict implementation by the PNP Read More …

Nov 022013
Palace: Preparations ongoing for last-quarter LEDAC meet

Preparations are ongoing for a prospective last-quarter meeting of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), Malacañang said Saturday. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said a technical working group is preparing to present to President Benigno Aquino II the final proposals of the Cabinet clusters. “The TWG is still working to present to the President the number, at least the final proposals from the different Cabinet clusters. From the last update, na-consolidate na po nila yung listahan at kailangan na lang pong iharap sa Pangulong Aquino for his approval and then the LEDAC will be scheduled,” she said on government-run dzRB radio. LEDAC’s functions include determining and recommending socio-economic development goals, and providing policy advice to the President. It is also mandated to integrate legislative agenda with the national development plan; and recommend to the President and Congress sources of revenues and measures to reduce unnecessary expenditures in government. The LEDAC page on the National Economic and Development Authority said Republic Act 7640 provides that the Council shall meet at least once every quarter but it may be convened by the President to special meetings as may be necessary. Also, it said only two LEDAC meetings were held during the Aquino administration – on Feb. 28 and Aug. 16, both in 2011. It said there was no LEDAC meeting in 2012, and none so far this year. — LBG, GMA News

Oct 302013
DOJ prosecutor accused of extorting P2.5M from PALEA members suspended

The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended the senior prosecutor of the Department of Justice accused of extorting P2.5 million from members of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) National Prosecution Service chief Prosecutor General Claro Arellano confirmed that Assistant State Prosecutor III Diosdado Bernales Solidum Jr. has been suspended pending the resolution of his case pending with the Ombudsman. “Pros. Solidum is placed under preventive suspension without pay for a period which shall continue until the case is terminated but shall not however exceed six months,” Arellano told GMA News Online on Wednesday. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, in August, ordered the filing of criminal charges against Solidum for direct bribery and for violation of Section 7(d) in relation to Section 11 of Republic Act  6713 (Code  of  Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. According to the Ombudsman, Solidum demanded P10,000 each from the more than 200 PALEA members or equal to almost P2.5 million in exchange for the dropping of the pending charges against them. A complaint for violation of Section 81(b)(5) of Republic Act 9497 the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008 has earlier been filed with the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office against 241 PALEA members. Morales said the money being demanded later went down to P1.2 million payable in installment. PALEA president and complainant Gerardo Rivera said Solidum had request a meeting last July 29 in Quezon City, in which the prosecutor said having the union members’ case reversed would entail costs. “Rivera replied that Read More …

Jun 232013
Comelec to release Random Manual Audit results of May 13 polls within the week

The Commission on Elections will release this week the Random Manual Audit (RMA) results of 234 precincts during the May 13, 2013 midterm polls. Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that, “Walang problema, 99.99 percent.” However, he noted that not all the results from the 234 areas will be published, but he assured that it would be more than 200 precincts. “Yung iba hindi na mailalabas dahil may court order like protective order, protest,” the poll body chief explained. Republic Act 9369 or the Poll Automation Law states that there should be an RMA conducted in one precinct, randomly chosen  in each of the 234 congressional districts. Earlier, Brillantes said that the RMAs of the 2013 and 2010 polls were practically the same. He added that the accuracy rate was what they expected, adding that there can never be a 100 percent matching count. “Visual appreciation and machine appreciation, there will always be difference. There will always be variants or discrepancies no matter how you look at it. It cannot be perfect no matter how you look at it,” he had said. — DVM, GMA News

Jun 212013
New law provides PhilHealth coverage to all

President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday signed into law a bill ensuring PhilHealth coverage to all Filipinos, including indigents and persons with disabilities, Malacañang announced Friday. Republic Act 10606, or the National Health Insurance Act of  2013, amends Republic Act 7875 or the National Health Insurance Act of 1995. “Iyong Section 6 ng dating batas, inamiyendahan din po ito. Iyong coverage po nito ay ngayon mandatory na,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said at a briefing. Section 6 of RA 7875 said enrollment to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) “shall not be made compulsory in certain provinces and cities” until such a time that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation “shall be able to ensure that members in such localities shall have reasonable access to adequate and acceptable health care services.” The new law provides that all citizens of the Philippines, regardless of social and economic status, shall be covered by NHIP. According to the new law, “the Program shall be compulsory in all provinces, cities and municipalities nationwide, notwithstanding the existence of Local government unit-based health insurance programs.” PhilHealth lauded the passage of the law, calling it proof of the government’s commitment to the health of all Filipinos. “Mas naging malinaw or may emphasis na the state shall provide a comprehensive health care service for its citizens,” said Greg Rulloda, PhilHealth’s vice president for corporate affairs. “The law emphasized rin that the state will prioritize the healthcare needs of the underpriviledged, the elderly and persons with disabilities,” he added, Read More …

Jun 102013
Comelec exec: Non-filers of expenditures report may be face perjury raps

A Commission on Elections official has warned candidates who ran in the May 13 elections that they face perjury charges if they will fail to submit their statements of contributions and expenditures (SOCEs).   At a press conference on Monday, Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said such candidates may have committed perjury since they declared in their certificates of candidacy an oath to submit their SOCEs. “Yung balak namin, ie-endorse namin ‘yung mga hindi nagfile sa DOJ [Department of Justice],” said Lim, head of the poll body’s campaign finance unit.  Perjury is a criminal act under the Revised Penal Code. However, “(A)ng target namin is really not to put people in jail but to encourage them to file,” said Lim. Republic Act 7166, which was enacted on Nov. 26, 1991, states that every candidate and treasurer of a political party shall be required to file an itemized statement of all contributions and expenditures within 30 days after the day of the election. Failure to submit SOCEs is penalized with an administrative fine from P2,000 to P30,000 for the first offense, and from P2,000 to P60,000 for second offense, depending on the position, according to Comelec Resolution No. 9476.  While it is not a criminal act, failure to file SOCEs can be penalized with disqualification from holding public office, the law said. The Comelec had earlier wanted failure to submit SOCEs a criminal offense. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/RSJ, GMA News

Jun 052013
Congress retains 15-years-old minimum age for criminal liability

Congress on Wednesday ratified proposed amendments to the country’s law on youth offenders without lowering the minimum age of criminal liability, which the existing legislation pegs at 15 years old. The ratified committee report on House Bill 6052 and Senate Bill 3324 proposed that children aged 12 to 15 who commit heinous crimes or repeatedly violate the law undergo community-based intervention programs in a residential facility. The House version of the bill originally proposed the lowering of the minimum age of criminal liability to 12 years old, but the Senate version prevailed. The amendments to Republic Act 9344 also provides the maximum penalty for those who exploit children for the commission of criminal offenses. The ratified bills also transfer the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council from the Department of Justice to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The council is the primary body in charge of implementing the country’s legislation on children in conflict with the law. — DVM, GMA News