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BUSINESS HEADLINES THIS PAST WEEK...
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

BPO BEAST MODE ON! IN RESPONSE TO ROXAS & NOY'S REJECTION OF TAX REFORMS


OCTOBER 6 -The BPO Industry Employees’ Network or BIEN is an independent network of employees, by the employees, and for the employees of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines. It aims to promote BPO employees’ rights and welfare. FROM BIEN FB TIMELINE
The negative stand of Liberal Party’s (LP) presidential bet, Mar Roxas, on the public clamor to lower the income tax and make necessary tax reforms triggered the BPO employees in beast mode. BPO professionals under the industry-level association, BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN Philippines) drew flaks on Roxas and called to stop his shallow and witless justification to kill such a legitimate demand. “If Mr. Roxas explicitly labeled himself as the ‘Father of the BPO Industry’, his low understanding on the positive impact of tax reforms to employees was not very fatherly. When he grabbed the said moniker, he should walk the talk. Did he know that BPO employees and the Filipino workers in general had suffered enough economically because of high tax rates?” expressed by Ian Porquia, National President of BIEN Philippines. BIEN is appalled when they learned that the Philippines got the top notch for the highest tax rate pinned at 32%, way too much compared to its ASEAN neighbors. In addition, most BPO workers fell under the tax rate bracket of 20-25%. BIEN argued that the current tax table is totally outdated and needs adjustment based on the present cost of living allowance pegged to PHP 1050.00 per day for a family of six. “Fathers prioritized the welfare and wellbeing of his children. If Mr. Roxas cannot commit to the just call of BPO employees for a tax relief, then stop calling himself a father to us.” Porquia criticized. BIEN also learned that the LP-led government under Benigno Simeon Aquino III amassed huge “savings” through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The government accrued almost PHP 72 billion of unprogrammed funds on October 2011 alone due to under-spending of the budget. “The President and Mr. Roxas flagrantly displayed their intent to hollow out our intelligence and dumped on our capacity to think when they rejected the proposed tax reforms. The triad-like and uncompromised handling of Private-Public Partnership (PPP) contracts and the berserk offering of public funds in the altar of sovereign guarantees set by private concessionaires was a cheap shot in the highest degree.” Porquia commented. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace defends 2016 budget


OCTOBER 11 -- Malacañang yesterday defended the proposed national budget for next year amid allegations it was laden with lump sums and provisions that would allow juggling of funds the administration can use for the elections.
Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte denied allegations the bill’s approval was railroaded, saying there had been lengthy discussions on the measure. “To us in the executive that’s also considered another thesis defense, to face our fellows in Congress to be able to defend our agency or office budget,” Valte said. She said the Senate still has to scrutinize the House-approved bill. Valte said opposition to the measure was expected, but since a majority of House members voted to approve it, the system at Congress must be respected. Valte and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad thanked the House of Representatives led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. for passing House Bill 6132 on third and final reading Friday night. “Careful consideration and prompt action on the administration’s budget proposal set the momentum for the timely passage of the General Appropriations Act of 2016,” Abad said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Over one million jobs generated under Aquino poor in quality
[Think-tank belies NEDA claim of better jobs climate]


OCTOBER 5 -Despite a seemingly rosy picture of the economy as portrayed by the expanding GDP, strong performance of the local stock market, and influx of foreign direct investments, economic growth remains neither sustainable nor inclusive as more Filipinos suffer from the chronic problem of joblessness and poor quality of jobs under the Aquino administration.
Poor quality work has marked job generation under the Aquino government, while the country’s jobs crisis reached unprecedented levels. Research group IBON repeated this amid government claims that its mantra of good governance and good economics has led to better job opportunities.
At the recently-held Philippine Economic Briefing 2015, National Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan stated that strong economic growth supported by a pro-active government has led to favorable employment prospects. Balisacan also reported over four million jobs generated over the last five years, with an increase in the share of wage and salaried employment supposedly showing improved work quality. IBON reiterated however that there is pseudo-job generation in the economy, meaning the quality of work continues to worsen despite seemingly increasing employment. As of July this year, still more than one-third or 34.3% of all employed persons are own-account workers (26.2% or 10.2 million) and unpaid family workers (8.1% or 3.2 million). READ MORE...

ALSO: Pulse Asia survey reflects clamor for higher wages, lower prices
[We are calling on all presidentiables and all candidates running in the 2016 elections to make known their stands on these issues. We are calling on workers and all Filipinos to continue making our demands on these issues heard.]


TOCTOBER 6 -he Pulse Asia survey which was conducted from May 30 to June 5 reflects workers’ and Filipinos’ clamor for higher wages and lower prices, aside from our concern over widespread corruption, employment and poverty in the country.
We believe that the survey – which showed that 47 percent and 46 percent of the respondents were concerned about lower inflation and higher wages, respectively – reflects workers’ and Filipinos’ concerns about the 2016 elections. It is another proof that the “inclusive growth” being bragged about by the Aquino government is a lie. There can be no economic growth when workers and Filipinos suffer from low wages, high prices and widespread unemployment. It shows that the government should take the following workers’ demands seriously: higher wages, the implementation of a national minimum wage, and the banning of contractualization, which has pressed down workers’ wages. READ MORE...

ALSO: Exports fall for 5th straight month in August


OCTOBER 10 -Balisacan
The country’s exports fell for the fifth consecutive month in August as major global economies remain sluggish, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a report yesterday. Revenues from merchandise exports declined 6.3 percent to $5.1 billion in August from $5.5 billion in the same period last year. “The latest export performance mirrors the recent developments in the global economy: the slowing down of global trade, sluggish momentum in industrial production in major economies, and downward price pressure on commodities,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan said. The PSA said lower exports of mineral products weighed down total export receipts as it fell 48.4 percent from $413.9 million in August last year to $213.6 million this year. “The contraction was primarily due to lower earnings from copper metal and other mineral products,” Balisacan explained. Furthermore, exports of agro-based products marked its seventh straight month of decline registering its steepest drop at 37.4 percent. NEDA said the downturn was traced to lower receipts from coconut products, fruits and vegetables, sugar products, and other agro-based products. Total merchandise exports for the first eight months of 2015 registered a 4.4 decline to $39.3 billion from $41.1 billion in the January-August 2014 period. Balisacan, the economic planning secretary, added exports are expected to remain constrained in the succeeding months as there will be continued absence of fresh triggers that would spur demand from major advanced economies. “The exports sector remains constrained by sluggish global demand, low oil prices, and most importantly, the threat of El Niño to the agriculture sector,” he said.

ALSO Editorial: Imaginary achievements[The most outlandish thing about Mr. Aquino’s latest accusation about credit grabbing is that it assumes that he has achievements that are actually worth claiming. But as we sit in traffic for hours every day, and when we see government take one-third of our earnings every payday, we just don’t see that.]


OCTOBER 7 -IN President Aquino’s mind, the economy is humming along nicely, low- and middle-income wage earners are doing so well they can well afford to pay the highest taxes in Southeast Asia, and traffic congestion, dubbed the worst on the planet, will soon be a thing of the past. From this same delusional mind this week came the fantastic suggestion that the opposition would try to grab credit for the accomplishments of the Aquino administration once the campaign for the 2016 elections start. “We must not forget: It is in the game plan of the opposition to Daang Matuwid to minimize our accomplishments. Others will even [claim] they are the ones who did the accomplishments of the administration, which we worked hard for,” said Aquino at a Liberal Party Convention at the Club Filipino in San Juan City.
He added that even those criticizing the government over its failure to solve the traffic problem would claim credit for fixing it once projects that he began, like the Skyway Stage 3, are completed. “Just think about this, when they are the ones inaugurating [the projects of the Aquino administration], they might be readying a ‘marker’ as early as today, stating that they are the ones who established [the project],” Aquino said. He said these opponents had “the thickest face” and urged LP members not to be silent in the face of their attacks. “The sacrifices of those who were ahead of us are at stake,” Aquino said melodramatically. “The future of 100 million Filipinos is also at stake.” Ironically, Mr. Aquino has not been above grabbing credit himself. At the World Economic Forum in May, he claimed he established anti-corruption programs in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, when in fact, those programs began under his much-maligned predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

MANILA, OCTOBER 5, 2015 (PHILSTAR)

Response to Roxas and PNoy’s Stand to Reject Tax Reforms: Employees Beast Mode On! Press Statement October 6, 2015


The BPO Industry Employees’ Network or BIEN is an independent network of employees, by the employees, and for the employees of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines. It aims to promote BPO employees’ rights and welfare. FROM BIEN FB

The negative stand of Liberal Party’s (LP) presidential bet, Mar Roxas, on the public clamor to lower the income tax and make necessary tax reforms triggered the BPO employees in beast mode.

BPO professionals under the industry-level association, BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN Philippines) drew flaks on Roxas and called to stop his shallow and witless justification to kill such a legitimate demand.

“If Mr. Roxas explicitly labeled himself as the ‘Father of the BPO Industry’, his low understanding on the positive impact of tax reforms to employees was not very fatherly. When he grabbed the said moniker, he should walk the talk. Did he know that BPO employees and the Filipino workers in general had suffered enough economically because of high tax rates?” expressed by Ian Porquia, National President of BIEN Philippines.

BIEN is appalled when they learned that the Philippines got the top notch for the highest tax rate pinned at 32%, way too much compared to its ASEAN neighbors. In addition, most BPO workers fell under the tax rate bracket of 20-25%. BIEN argued that the current tax table is totally outdated and needs adjustment based on the present cost of living allowance pegged to PHP 1050.00 per day for a family of six.

“Fathers prioritized the welfare and wellbeing of his children. If Mr. Roxas cannot commit to the just call of BPO employees for a tax relief, then stop calling himself a father to us.” Porquia criticized.

BIEN also learned that the LP-led government under Benigno Simeon Aquino III amassed huge “savings” through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The government accrued almost PHP 72 billion of unprogrammed funds on October 2011 alone due to under-spending of the budget.

“The President and Mr. Roxas flagrantly displayed their intent to hollow out our intelligence and dumped on our capacity to think when they rejected the proposed tax reforms. The triad-like and uncompromised handling of Private-Public Partnership (PPP) contracts and the berserk offering of public funds in the altar of sovereign guarantees set by private concessionaires was a cheap shot in the highest degree.” Porquia commented.

READ MORE...

BIEN cited the contracts signed by the government and private entities for PPP projects such as the LRT Extension Project, MRT Rehabilitation Project, Kaliwa-Kanan Dam, and others as deemed anomalous. Truthfully, investments to these flagship PPP projects are being covered by taxpayers and not by the private companies.

“It was revolting! We are enraged on how these thick-skinned and uncompassionate so-called ‘public officials’ handled our taxes. The withholding taxes automatically slashed from our pay outs are legally plundered. Our contribution to the nation’s bloodline, supposed to be channeled to social services, is pocketed. Worst of all, public funds are used as investment funds by cronies to generate guaranteed profit. We would like to remind them that these portions of our salary came from our blood and sweat!” Porquia explained.

“If Mr. President, Mr. Roxas, and the whole yellow barkada continueto reject the appeal of workers for a lower income tax by giving run-of-the-mill excuses such as inflated deficit and reduction of revenues, then they must void slanderous PPP contracts, end deliberate under-spending of the national budge, and scrap all forms of pork barrel.” Porquia commented.

“As BPO workers, we are expected to listen to our customer’s concerns; we are tasked to resolve customer’s issues. As citizens, we are bind to pay our taxes. Therefore, we expect the same culture of giving stellar public and social services from our government officials because it was their mandate. If we are your real ‘bosses’, listen to our voices. If you are taking us to the genuine daang matuwid, give us the well-deserved tax relief.” Porquia ended.

BIEN Philippines supported HB 5401 as alternative to its tax holiday campaign.

#TaxReliefNow!

Reference:

Ian Porquia National President Mobile: +63 9182182678 Email: info@bienphilppines.org  Facebook: www.facebook.com/BIENPilipinas


PHILSTAR

Palace defends 2016 budget By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 11, 2015 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus0 0


SENATE TO SCRUTINIZE THE BILL


MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday defended the proposed national budget for next year amid allegations it was laden with lump sums and provisions that would allow juggling of funds the administration can use for the elections.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte denied allegations the bill’s approval was railroaded, saying there had been lengthy discussions on the measure.

“To us in the executive that’s also considered another thesis defense, to face our fellows in Congress to be able to defend our agency or office budget,” Valte said.

She said the Senate still has to scrutinize the House-approved bill.

Valte said opposition to the measure was expected, but since a majority of House members voted to approve it, the system at Congress must be respected.

Valte and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad thanked the House of Representatives led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. for passing House Bill 6132 on third and final reading Friday night.

“Careful consideration and prompt action on the administration’s budget proposal set the momentum for the timely passage of the General Appropriations Act of 2016,” Abad said.

READ MORE...

He said the DBM values its partnership with Congress and appreciates its support for the administration’s commitment to craft a budget that is “not business-as-usual.”

He said House and the DBM worked together to produce a budget that buttressed the foundation for good governance reforms since 2010.

“Through our combined efforts, we have ended a decade of frequent budget reenactments and started a new tradition of timely passage of the budget,” Abad said.

“We have produced a budget that moved away from the practice of incremental and leakage-prone allocation of scarce resources and lump-sum appropriations and moved toward performance-based outcome budgeting,” he added.

Abad said agencies also managed to swiftly implement priority programs and projects while communities now have a say on how funds may be used to address their needs.

“We have hammered the nuts and bolts of key public financial management reforms in place but now we must ensure that they cannot be moved or lost,” he said.


IBON INTERNATIONAL

Over one million jobs generated under Aquino poor in quality 5 October 2015 |

Think-tank belies NEDA claim of better jobs climate


Despite a seemingly rosy picture of the economy as portrayed by the expanding GDP, strong performance of the local stock market, and influx of foreign direct investments, economic growth remains neither sustainable nor inclusive as more Filipinos suffer from the chronic problem of joblessness and poor quality of jobs under the Aquino administration.

Poor quality work has marked job generation under the Aquino government, while the country’s jobs crisis reached unprecedented levels. Research group IBON repeated this amid government claims that its mantra of good governance and good economics has led to better job opportunities.

At the recently-held Philippine Economic Briefing 2015, National Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan stated that strong economic growth supported by a pro-active government has led to favorable employment prospects. Balisacan also reported over four million jobs generated over the last five years, with an increase in the share of wage and salaried employment supposedly showing improved work quality.

IBON reiterated however that there is pseudo-job generation in the economy, meaning the quality of work continues to worsen despite seemingly increasing employment. As of July this year, still more than one-third or 34.3% of all employed persons are own-account workers (26.2% or 10.2 million) and unpaid family workers (8.1% or 3.2 million).

READ MORE...

In the first quarter of 2015, employment created consisted of 544,000 informal jobs but 137,000 regular jobs were lost. More than 12 million Filipinos or 32.2% work less than 40 hours or are part-time workers. From July 2014 to July 2015, Labor Force Survey figures (excluding Leyte) showed that the underemployed or those seeking additional work rose from 18.3% to 20.8% of total labor force.

Also according to latest government data, the share of non-regular and agency-hired workers rose from 37 to 44 of 100 Filipino workers from 2008 to 2012. The share of regular employees to total employment meanwhile decreased from 72 to only 56 of 100 Filipino workers. Since the beginning of the Aquino administration, IBON estimates the number of underemployed by at least one million, and the number of merely part-time workers by at least 1.5 million. The number of jobless and underemployed Filipinos reaching 12.2 million in 2014 is unprecedented in the country’s history, the group said.

The government has been playing up increased employment to showcase the supposed effectiveness of its Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation-induced neoliberal programs such as labor flexibilization and contractualization. But the rise of low-paying, insecure jobs under its term has increasingly proven that ordinary Filipinos are not the beneficiaries of Aquino’s brand of governance and economics, said IBON.


KILUSANG MAYO

Press Statement 06 October 2015

Pulse Asia survey reflects clamor for higher wages, lower prices

The Pulse Asia survey which was conducted from May 30 to June 5 reflects workers’ and Filipinos’ clamor for higher wages and lower prices, aside from our concern over widespread corruption, employment and poverty in the country.

We believe that the survey – which showed that 47 percent and 46 percent of the respondents were concerned about lower inflation and higher wages, respectively – reflects workers’ and Filipinos’ concerns about the 2016 elections.

It is another proof that the “inclusive growth” being bragged about by the Aquino government is a lie. There can be no economic growth when workers and Filipinos suffer from low wages, high prices and widespread unemployment.

It shows that the government should take the following workers’ demands seriously: higher wages, the implementation of a national minimum wage, and the banning of contractualization, which has pressed down workers’ wages.

READ MORE...

The survey, which came out days before the World Day for Decent Work or WDDW, shows that Filipinos want decent jobs where they receive living wages and enjoy security of tenure, as well as other trade-union rights.

We are calling on all presidentiables and all candidates running in the 2016 elections to make known their stands on these issues. We are calling on workers and all Filipinos to continue making our demands on these issues heard.

We vow to make workers’ demands for higher wages and an end to contractualization louder as we approach the 2016 elections. The Pulse Asia survey shows that workers need immediate relief amidst widespread poverty and hunger.

Reference: Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general, 0999-4499794


PHILSTAR

Exports fall for 5th straight month in August By Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 10, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus1 2


Balisacan: Balisacan, the economic planning secretary, added exports are expected to remain constrained in the succeeding months as there will be continued absence of fresh triggers that would spur demand from major advanced economies. 

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s exports fell for the fifth consecutive month in August as major global economies remain sluggish, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a report yesterday.

Revenues from merchandise exports declined 6.3 percent to $5.1 billion in August from $5.5 billion in the same period last year.

“The latest export performance mirrors the recent developments in the global economy: the slowing down of global trade, sluggish momentum in industrial production in major economies, and downward price pressure on commodities,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general Arsenio Balisacan said.

The PSA said lower exports of mineral products weighed down total export receipts as it fell 48.4 percent from $413.9 million in August last year to $213.6 million this year.

“The contraction was primarily due to lower earnings from copper metal and other mineral products,” Balisacan explained.

Furthermore, exports of agro-based products marked its seventh straight month of decline registering its steepest drop at 37.4 percent.

NEDA said the downturn was traced to lower receipts from coconut products, fruits and vegetables, sugar products, and other agro-based products.

Total merchandise exports for the first eight months of 2015 registered a 4.4 decline to $39.3 billion from $41.1 billion in the January-August 2014 period.

Balisacan, the economic planning secretary, added exports are expected to remain constrained in the succeeding months as there will be continued absence of fresh triggers that would spur demand from major advanced economies.

“The exports sector remains constrained by sluggish global demand, low oil prices, and most importantly, the threat of El Niño to the agriculture sector,” he said.

READ MORE...

Moreover, Balisacan urged policy makers to focus on enhancing and designing domestic policies that could mitigate the negative impact of external as well as domestic shocks such as El Niño.

“Over the medium term, we encourage tapping new markets, diversifying export products, and pursuing innovation in order to secure growth, stability and competitiveness for the export sector,” he added.

Balisacan noted the government should further boost infrastructure development, business regulations improvements and decreased foreign investment restrictions in the Philippines.

All selected trade-oriented economies in East and Southeast Asian regions except Vietnam posted negative exports growth for August.


MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

Imaginary achievements Oct. 07, 2015 at 12:01am

IN President Aquino’s mind, the economy is humming along nicely, low- and middle-income wage earners are doing so well they can well afford to pay the highest taxes in Southeast Asia, and traffic congestion, dubbed the worst on the planet, will soon be a thing of the past.

From this same delusional mind this week came the fantastic suggestion that the opposition would try to grab credit for the accomplishments of the Aquino administration once the campaign for the 2016 elections start.


Others will even [claim] they are the ones who did the accomplishments of the administration, which we worked hard for,” said Aquino at a Liberal Party Convention at the Club Filipino in San Juan City.

“We must not forget: It is in the game plan of the opposition to Daang Matuwid to minimize our accomplishments.

Others will even [claim] they are the ones who did the accomplishments of the administration, which we worked hard for,” said Aquino at a Liberal Party Convention at the Club Filipino in San Juan City.

He added that even those criticizing the government over its failure to solve the traffic problem would claim credit for fixing it once projects that he began, like the Skyway Stage 3, are completed.

“Just think about this, when they are the ones inaugurating [the projects of the Aquino administration], they might be readying a ‘marker’ as early as today, stating that they are the ones who established [the project],” Aquino said.

He said these opponents had “the thickest face” and urged LP members not to be silent in the face of their attacks.

“The sacrifices of those who were ahead of us are at stake,” Aquino said melodramatically. “The future of 100 million Filipinos is also at stake.”

Ironically, Mr. Aquino has not been above grabbing credit himself.

At the World Economic Forum in May, he claimed he established anti-corruption programs in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, when in fact, those programs began under his much-maligned predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

READ MORE...

In May, the family of Filipino overseas worker Mary Jane Veloso, who is on death row in Indonesia, slammed Aquino for claiming credit for Veloso’s stay of execution when the government allegedly mishandled her case. In truth, they said, it was an Indonesian NGO that won her stay.

Even the conditional cash transfer program—a straight dole that saps away billions in taxpayers’ money—began as a program under Mrs. Arroyo. What Mr. Aquino has done, in fact, was to take the worst program in the Arroyo administration and pumped tens of billions of pesos more into it.

The most outlandish thing about Mr. Aquino’s latest accusation about credit grabbing is that it assumes that he has achievements that are actually worth claiming. But as we sit in traffic for hours every day, and when we see government take one-third of our earnings every payday, we just don’t see that.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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