FLIGHTS CANCELED DUE TO BAD WEATHER

Two other PAL Express flights were canceled due to marketing requirements: 2P-2049 (Manila-Caticlan) and 2P-2050 (Caticlan-Manila). The weather bureau noted a Low Pressure Area at 180 kilometers northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar or 230 km east of Catarman Northern Samar, bringing cloudy skies and moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Bicol, MIMAROPA and Visayas. Metro Manila, CALABARZON and Northern Mindanao will have light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms, the weather bureau added. READ LIST OF PAL, CEBU PACIFIC FLIGHTS SUSPENDED.

ALSO: BIR appeals CTA ruling on tax-exempt condo fees

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has appealed the ruling of the Court of Tax Appeals that condominium dues, membership fees and other charges are not subject to income tax and withholding tax. “The decision is a decision of a division of the CTA and which will be appealed by the BIR to the Court en banc by way of a motion for reconsideration,” the BIR said. The ruling was issued by the CTA’s third division pursuant to the case filed by Officemetro Philippines (formerly Regus Centres Inc.), contesting the deficiency expanded withholding tax assessed by the BIR. In its petition, Officemetro alleged that a portion of the rentals were payments of condominium dues that do not form part of the taxable income of the condominium corporation and should not therefore be subject to withholding tax. READ MORE...

(ALSO) Commentary by Boo Chanco: Using our coconuts

I am sure that if former Sen. Kiko Pangilinan had his rathers, he would rather not be in that hot seat as P-Noy’s troubleshooter for agriculture. Senator Kiko was just starting to enjoy his life as a budding farmer of sorts when duty called. Suddenly, his leisurely days in his lettuce garden and playing with his pet pig Bacon turned into dreary hours of policy wrestling with conniving bureaucrats and their interest group patrons. If Senator Kiko’s old idea of public service is being a senator, I am sure his mind has been disabused by now. Senators do nothing much but talk and make pa-pogi. Some enrich themselves through pork and build nice big houses. Almost all of them think they know it all, perhaps even Senator Kiko during his time at the Senate. Now, however, former Senator Kiko must use his coconut, so to speak, to deal with two national emergencies: rising food prices and a serious malady afflicting our coconut trees. It isn’t only a matter of harnessing his intelligence, or even just his common sense in addressing these problems. He must also gather all his inner reserves of patience, as nothing he can say or do will be considered right by at least one noisy segment of the public. I have always liked Senator Kiko, because he showed how principled he is early on. As the UP Student Regent, he got himself expelled by his fraternity for voting his conscience rather than a fraternity brother who was the fraternity’s candidate for UP President. I hired him during my watch at the ABS-CBN News room because I found him to be someone who seems to have a genuine desire to serve the public. Still, he has not really been tested the way he is being tested now. His Senate years had been at best, a blur. But it is almost unfair that he is expected to produce quick results acceptable to all for problems the Agriculture Secretary had over four years to fumble. But can Senator Kiko deliver? That’s the big question his current test will determine. *READ MORE...

(ALSO) Commentary by Satur C. Ocampo: Is China beginning to become a superpower?

Why does China — the world’s second largest economy — behave like the neighborhood bully, specifically towards the Philippines and Vietnam with which it has maritime disputes, and arrogantly claim “undisputable sovereignty” over 90% of the South China Sea? Could this situation have been foreseen 40 years ago, when it was still a very poor country? What has been happening between then and now? Let’s review a speech delivered on April 10, 1974 by Deng Xiaoping, then China’s executive vice premier, before the UN General Assembly special session on the problems of raw materials and development. He depicted China’s status at that time thus: “China is a socialist country and a developing country as well. China belongs to the Third World. Consistently following Chairman Mao’s teachings, the Chinese government and people firmly support all oppressed peoples and oppressed nations in their struggles to win or defend national independence, develop their national economies, oppose capitalism, imperialism and hegemony. This is our bounden international duty.” The five principles that guided China in both its political and economic relations with other countries were then cited by Deng: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. “We are opposed to the establishment of hegemony and spheres of influence by any country in any part of the world in violation of these principles,” he elaborated. “We support the permanent sovereignty of the developing countries over their natural resources as well as their exercise of it.” *READ MORE...

China says it will never seek regional hegemony

Chinese President Xi Jinping said yesterday his country will never seek hegemony no matter how strong it becomes, even as his neighbors worry about Beijing's actions in several territorial disputes. Xi made the comments as he hosted leaders of India and Myanmar to commemorate 60 years since their countries agreed to principles of peaceful coexistence. At the same time, China is quarreling with several neighboring countries, including India, over territory and is challenging US power in the region. In November, China declared an air defense identification zone over much of the East China Sea, where it is disputing several islands with Japan. Tensions also flared up with Vietnam after China deployed oil rigs in waters claimed by both countries, and with the Philippines, where Beijing has asserted its sovereignty in the South China Sea close to Philippine shore. However, Xi, Myanmar President Thein Sein and Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari pledged to work to preserve regional peace. Xi also called for "a new architecture of Asia-Pacific security." He has said previously that such a security arrangement would include Russia and Iran and exclude the United States. While the US is not a claimant itself, it says it has a national interest in sustaining open navigation and trade through the strategic waters in the South and East China seas.THIS IS THE FULLL REPORT FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:

Flights canceled due to bad weather

MANILA, JUNE 30, 2014 (PHILSTAR) Bad weather prompted the cancelation of about 20 flights on Friday, the Department of Transporation and Communications announced.

The following flights from PAL Express and Cebu Pacific were suspended:

2P-2079 Manila-Catarman

2P-2080 Catarman-Manila

2P-2071 Manila-Calbayog

2P-2072 Calbayog-Manilaa

5J-323 Manila-Legazpi

5J-324 Legazpi-Manila

2P-2925 Manila-Legazpi

2P-2926 Legazpi-Manila

5J-521 Manila-Naga

5J-522 Naga-Manila

2P-2031 Manila-Busuanga

2P-2032 Busuanga-Manila

5J-329 Manila-Legazpi

5J-330 Legazpi-Manila

2P-2927 Manila-Legazpi

2P-2928 Legazpi-Manila

5J 329 Manila-Busuanga

5J-330 Busuanga-Manila

5J-899 Manila-Caticlan

5J-900 Caticlan-Manila

Two other PAL Express flights were canceled due to marketing requirements: 2P-2049 (Manila-Caticlan) and 2P-2050 (Caticlan-Manila).

The weather bureau noted a Low Pressure Area at 180 kilometers northeast of Borongan, Eastern Samar or 230 km east of Catarman Northern Samar, bringing cloudy skies and moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Bicol, MIMAROPA and Visayas.

Metro Manila, CALABARZON and Northern Mindanao will have light to moderate rainshowers and thunderstorms, the weather bureau added.

BIR appeals CTA ruling on tax-exempt condo fees By Zinnia Dela Peńa (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 27, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has appealed the ruling of the Court of Tax Appeals that condominium dues, membership fees and other charges are not subject to income tax and withholding tax.

“The decision is a decision of a division of the CTA and which will be appealed by the BIR to the Court en banc by way of a motion for reconsideration,” the BIR said.

The ruling was issued by the CTA’s third division pursuant to the case filed by Officemetro Philippines (formerly Regus Centres Inc.), contesting the deficiency expanded withholding tax assessed by the BIR.

In its petition, Officemetro alleged that a portion of the rentals were payments of condominium dues that do not form part of the taxable income of the condominium corporation and should not therefore be subject to withholding tax.

The CTA agreed with Officemetro, saying association dues, membership fees and other charges collected by condominium corporations must not be included in Officemetro’s gross income and are exempt from income tax and withholding tax.

However, Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares,said the case did not touch the issue of value-added tax (VAT).

Henares said the CTA division likewise did not rule on the validity of Revenue Memorandum Circular 065-2012, which subjected association dues, membership fees and other charges paid by unit owners and beneficial users to income tax, withholding tax and 12-percent VAT.

“Therefore, RMC 065-2012 is the prevailing rule today and all concerned taxpayers are required to comply with the provisions of RMC 065-2012,” the BIR said.

“The BIR rulings cited in the CTA Decision are in contrast with BIR Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) 065-2012,” the BIR added.

The BIR stressed that the amounts paid as dues or fees by members and tenants of a condominium corporation form part of the gross income of the latter subject to income tax.

According to the BIR, since a condominium corporation is subject to income tax, income payments made to it are subject to applicable withholding taxes under existing regulations.

The BIR previously exempted condominium and homeowners associations from the payment of income tax and VAT. This was premised on the notion that the money collected was merely held in trust to be used for administrative expenses incurred in servicing members and does not constitute any sale of goods or rendition of service.

Commentary: Using our coconuts DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 27, 2014 - 12:00am


By Boo Chanco

I am sure that if former Sen. Kiko Pangilinan had his rathers, he would rather not be in that hot seat as P-Noy’s troubleshooter for agriculture. Senator Kiko was just starting to enjoy his life as a budding farmer of sorts when duty called. Suddenly, his leisurely days in his lettuce garden and playing with his pet pig Bacon turned into dreary hours of policy wrestling with conniving bureaucrats and their interest group patrons.

If Senator Kiko’s old idea of public service is being a senator, I am sure his mind has been disabused by now. Senators do nothing much but talk and make pa-pogi. Some enrich themselves through pork and build nice big houses. Almost all of them think they know it all, perhaps even Senator Kiko during his time at the Senate.

Now, however, former Senator Kiko must use his coconut, so to speak, to deal with two national emergencies: rising food prices and a serious malady afflicting our coconut trees. It isn’t only a matter of harnessing his intelligence, or even just his common sense in addressing these problems. He must also gather all his inner reserves of patience, as nothing he can say or do will be considered right by at least one noisy segment of the public.

I have always liked Senator Kiko, because he showed how principled he is early on. As the UP Student Regent, he got himself expelled by his fraternity for voting his conscience rather than a fraternity brother who was the fraternity’s candidate for UP President. I hired him during my watch at the ABS-CBN News room because I found him to be someone who seems to have a genuine desire to serve the public.

Still, he has not really been tested the way he is being tested now. His Senate years had been at best, a blur. But it is almost unfair that he is expected to produce quick results acceptable to all for problems the Agriculture Secretary had over four years to fumble.

But can Senator Kiko deliver? That’s the big question his current test will determine.

*The crisis in food prices exists because the old ways of doing things have failed. Yet, it is tragic how our leaders both in government and in so called farmers groups continue to support discredited policies that have simply not worked over the decades. It is plainly stupid to think such failed policies could now deliver a different outcome.

There is hope. I just read a news report saying that the Department of Agriculture is now belatedly thinking of issuing import permits for around 46,000 metric tons of garlic, which will satisfy not quite half of the annual domestic demand of more than 100,000 metric tons. Filipino farmers only produce around 9,000 MT annually, meeting only a 10th of the annual demand. With numbers like that, the present Agriculture Secretary had simply been negligent of his duties with his failure to do anything earlier.

On rice, Bloomberg reports that policy makers will consider a proposal next month to adopt a free market and allow private traders to import as much rice as they want. Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told Bloomberg that government would instead collect tariffs on the imports.

Balisacan said the administration is considering a change in standing policy as we battle record-high domestic prices and as we seek to limit losses at NFA. P-Noy is said to be concerned about rising prices and wants to curb inflation running at the fastest pace since November 2011, boosted by the higher cost of rice.

“We need to get our trade policy right to address rising rice prices,” Bloomberg quotes Balisacan. “Our approach in restricting rice imports without an adequate assurance that local rice production would be sufficient to meet demand was the main factor that led to higher prices,” he explained.

“Debt at the National Food Authority, which subsidizes farmers by buying their rice at higher prices, will also probably climb to P180 billion ($4.1 billion) by end-2016 without any changes to the program... or twice the nation’s defense budget this year, according to Bloomberg calculations.”

“Moving to a free market allows the government to plug its cash leaks stemming from rice subsidies,” Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc. told Bloomberg in Manila. “It also provides more market access for people to buy rice.”

Retail prices of well-milled rice rose 20 percent from a year earlier to a record, as of the second week of June, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. Yet, the prices of Thai five-percent broken white rice, an Asian benchmark, have tumbled 26 percent in the past year as the Thai government accelerated sales of stockpiles to make payments to farmers.

If we made timely imports from Thailand and not a belated one from Vietnam, the rise in the local price of rice could have been prevented. The neglect to do so is criminal. It is a shameless Agriculture Secretary who clings to his position in the face of such a failure.

As a result, there is rumbling in our organized labor community for wage increases to take care of higher food costs. “Workers spend up to three-fourths of their wages on food,” complained former Sen Ernesto Herrera, TUCP president and former chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.

On the coconut infestation problems, Senator Kiko must now clarify what is going on and how the Philippine Coconut Authority is responding. In an exchange of messages, the former senator told me there had been quite a number of misconceptions regarding their effort.

There is, for instance, a protest that government is forcing the coconut farmers to take the chemical injection approach. There is suspicion some people want to make money on the purchase of chemicals. Kiko clarifies that “it isn’t true that we are only pushing for chemical injections. The organic protocols will also be made available.”

Kiko continues that “It isn’t also true that the chemical protocol is more expensive. In fact the tested organic protocols are more expensive as they require multiple applications.

“In the end, however, this is a race against time. The pest has doubled in the last 45 days. From 1.2 million affected trees in May to 2.1 million affected trees this June 19. If we do not intervene now, it will be 20 million trees infested by end of the year. If this was cancer, do we use chemotherapy or alternative, all natural treatments? Tough call.”

The former senator also pointed out that “the 2.1 million infested trees still represent less than one percent of the entire nation’s coconut tree population. The proposition that we will be killing the coconut industry if we use chemicals on less than one percent of the total tree population in order to keep the remaining 99.4 percent of the rest of the trees pest free and safe is unfounded and baseless.”

He reassures that “in the end, while we implement field tested protocols both organic and chemical, we will not stop testing other protocols in search for a superior treatment. We cannot, however, wait until then. We have to act with what we now have to contain the spread.”

The question I have on this coconut pest problem is how come the current Agriculture Secretary, who comes from a major coconut growing province, didn’t respond to the problem early on when it was just starting. Now, we are in panic mode because the problem is threatening to move up to crisis level.

I am hoping that on this and on the price upsurge of rice, garlic and other farm products, our officials will really use their coconuts and adopt a common sense approach towards resolving them.

I am glad Secretary Balisacan is apparently now being listened to. I am told that there had been vigorous debates within the Cabinet on how to reform policies specially as regards rice and the NFA. I am hopeful that in the end, P-Noy will be bold enough to break from the same old policies and approaches and listen to Sec. Balisacan.

Not only is the NEDA chief an expert on agricultural economics and poverty, he is probably just about one of the few Cabinet members who cannot be suspected of having ulterior motives. He had been a respected academician with actual field experience and no connections to the usual vested interests.

Maybe, Sec. Balisacan and former Sen. Pangilinan can lead the change we badly need… if P-Noy is brave enough to break with the discredited past.

Is China beginning to become a superpower? AT GROUND LEVEL By Satur C. Ocampo (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 14, 2014 - 12:00am


Satur C. Ocampo

Why does China — the world’s second largest economy — behave like the neighborhood bully, specifically towards the Philippines and Vietnam with which it has maritime disputes, and arrogantly claim “undisputable sovereignty” over 90% of the South China Sea?

Could this situation have been foreseen 40 years ago, when it was still a very poor country? What has been happening between then and now?

Let’s review a speech delivered on April 10, 1974 by Deng Xiaoping, then China’s executive vice premier, before the UN General Assembly special session on the problems of raw materials and development. He depicted China’s status at that time thus:

“China is a socialist country and a developing country as well. China belongs to the Third World. Consistently following Chairman Mao’s teachings, the Chinese government and people firmly support all oppressed peoples and oppressed nations in their struggles to win or defend national independence, develop their national economies, oppose capitalism, imperialism and hegemony. This is our bounden international duty.”

The five principles that guided China in both its political and economic relations with other countries were then cited by Deng: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.

“We are opposed to the establishment of hegemony and spheres of influence by any country in any part of the world in violation of these principles,” he elaborated. “We support the permanent sovereignty of the developing countries over their natural resources as well as their exercise of it.”

*Developing countries may have differences with each other, Deng said, but these “can very well be resolved, and should be resolved, through consultations among the parties concerned.” He emphasized that China’s cooperation in this regard “is a cooperation based on true equality.”

Deng devoted a big part of his speech denouncing the US and the Soviet Union as the world’s two bitterly contending superpowers. He defined a superpower as “an imperialist country which everywhere subjects other countries to its aggression, interference, control, subversion or plunder, and strives for world hegemony.”

Calling the US and the SU as the “biggest international exploiters and oppressors,” Deng said the duo “exploit other countries economically, plundering their wealth and grabbing their resources.” They attempted to bring the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America under their control, he added, “at the same time bullying developed countries that (were) not their match in strength.”

“Wherever they contend, turbulence occurs. So long as (US) imperialism and (Soviet) social-imperialism exist, there definitely will be no tranquility in the world,” Deng stressed, concluding: “It is entirely right and proper for the developing countries to terminate imperialist economic monopoly and plunder… and take all necessary measures to protect their economic resources and other rights and interests.”

On the Soviet Union Deng heaped his rancor, saying:

“A socialist country that is true to its name ought to follow the principle of internationalism, sincerely render support and assistance to oppressed countries and nations and help them develop their national economy. But this superpower is doing exactly the opposite. This is additional proof that it is socialism in words and imperialism in deeds.”

Deng followed up with these categorical statements:

“China is not a superpower, nor will she ever seek to be one.”

“If capitalism is restored in a big socialist country, it will inevitably become a superpower.”

He pointed out that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and the campaign of criticism carried out against Lin Piao and Confucius were aimed at preventing capitalist restoration and “ensuring that socialist China will never change her color and will always stand for the oppressed peoples and oppressed nations.”

Pursuing the logic of his second statement, Deng declared:

“If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant of the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the peoples of the world should identify her as social imperialist, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.”

Today, undoubtedly capitalism has been restored extensively in China, the biggest former socialist state.

And the irony of it all: Deng Xiaoping is indisputably hailed – by China’s leaders and the barons of the capitalist/imperialist system alike – for having engineered the capitalist restoration. He did so after becoming the “paramount leader” of both the Communist Party of China and the government after Mao’s death in 1978.

The fact is, during the Cultural Revolution Deng was denounced and stripped of power for being the “No. 2 person in authority taking the capitalist road” (next to Liu Shiaoqi). After rebounding into the center of power, he proved. by his acts, that the label was true.

So now, with capitalism restored (albeit with “Chinese characteristics”), will China become a superpower soon -- as Deng said it “inevitably” would?

Is its bullying behavior in the South China Sea (and in the East China Sea against Japan) the prelude to such transformation?

A further and more important question: can the peoples of the world count on the Chinese people to oppose and overthrow this social-imperialist superpower in the making?

FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

China says it will never seek regional hegemony (Associated Press) | Updated June 29, 2014 - 5:36am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, third from right, meets with Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Wang Zhao, Pool) BEIJING

BEIJING— Chinese President Xi Jinping said yesterday his country will never seek hegemony no matter how strong it becomes, even as his neighbors worry about Beijing's actions in several territorial disputes.

Xi made the comments as he hosted leaders of India and Myanmar to commemorate 60 years since their countries agreed to principles of peaceful coexistence.

At the same time, China is quarreling with several neighboring countries, including India, over territory and is challenging US power in the region.

In November, China declared an air defense identification zone over much of the East China Sea, where it is disputing several islands with Japan.

Tensions also flared up with Vietnam after China deployed oil rigs in waters claimed by both countries, and with the Philippines, where Beijing has asserted its sovereignty in the South China Sea close to Philippine shore.

However, Xi, Myanmar President Thein Sein and Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari pledged to work to preserve regional peace.

Xi also called for "a new architecture of Asia-Pacific security." He has said previously that such a security arrangement would include Russia and Iran and exclude the United States.

While the US is not a claimant itself, it says it has a national interest in sustaining open navigation and trade through the strategic waters in the South and East China seas.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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