© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO) http://newsflash.org

EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM PHILSTAR)

EDITORIAL NOY's DEPARTING MEN:
NO DISRUPTIONS


When President Aquino talks of continuity, he may want to focus on the short-term, which is ensuring that public services will not be disrupted by the departure en masse of executive officials who will seek elective posts next year. Even before the departures, the public has already had a taste of the consequences of having executive officials distracted by political plans for 2016. Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, who is known to be eyeing a Senate seat, has received heavy flak for his provincial sorties while the region under his jurisdiction is paralyzed by monstrous traffic jams. Manuel Roxas II and Francis Pangilinan have resigned to pursue their bids for positions in the general elections next year. More resignations are expected as the October deadline nears for filing certificates of candidacy. The secretary-general of the Liberal Party has been named to replace Roxas, the LP’s standard bearer, as secretary of the interior and local government – a position that will play a key role in the elections. Pangilinan, who was appointed to a position that was created amid reports that President Aquino was unhappy with the performance of his agriculture secretary, is expected to run again for the Senate. The President has yet to disclose whether Pangilinan will be the first and only adviser on agriculture and food security and whether his functions will be given back to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. Key agencies under Alcala’s department had been placed under the office created for Pangilinan. READ MORE...

ALSO by Jarius Bondoc: US involvement is what P-Noy must explain


By Jarius Bondoc
Businessmen invariably fuss over Elections 2016. Some worry about government trade-policy discontinuity, others about sure winners to whom to give campaign (protection) money. All wishing to predict outcomes, they pester for fearless forecasts journalists whom they presume to know the lurid decisive details. Problems is, journalists never predict anything till it happens. Left to themselves, businessmen might as well play political scenarists. One way is to plot – from clues in, say, news reports or candidates’ habits and reactions – the worst events that could happen to each, then evaluate the likely survivor due to a fortuitous factor. Like, with the “presidentiables,” assume that: • More and more stinks reek out of the bumbling Admin, to enrage voters against the standard bearer of “Daang Di Pala Matuwid”; • The main Opposition bet, despite his immunity from suit as VP, goes to jail on non-bailable criminal charges; • The most popular contender is disqualified from elective office; • The emotional back-out of the promising tough talker does not elicit a groundswell of sympathy to incite campaign donations. Now factor in the Filipino penchant to go for the underdog. Also, the likelihood that the PCOS inaccuracy will worsen, as is the trend from 2010 to 2013. There you have it. * * * Now Commander-in-Chief Noynoy Aquino affirms that the SAF did heroically take down international terrorist Marwan in Mamasapano last Jan. 25. What brought about his change of heart? Could it be the potential disastrous effects on the candidacy of his anointed successor Mar Roxas, whom the electorate is judging by every act of the Admin, since P-Noy and Mar advertise themselves to be one and the same? Only days ago P-Noy had created a storm in letting out to newsmen that he was looking into an “alternative truth” about the events surrounding the massacre of the SAF-44. READ MORE...

ALSO by Mrichu Villanueva: Taxed to death


By Marichu A. Villanueva
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara stood much taller for taking to the highest level his advocacy to cut the tax burden of all fixed income earners. Angara was unperturbed over the public rejection by President Benigno “Noy” Aquino III on the proposed income tax bill now being deliberated in the 16th Congress. In repeatedly rejecting the income tax cut bill, President Aquino echoed the objections raised by his fiscal advisers led by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Cesar Purisima and supported by deputies, namely, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner Kim Henares and Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner Alberto Lina. The Aquino fiscal advisers objected to this proposed income tax reduction bill, citing an estimated P30 billion in potential revenue loss for the government. But how come when they came last Tuesday to the Senate public hearing to ask approval for their proposed budget for 2016, the DOF-BIR-BOC sought an increase of more than P34 billion in appropriations for their agencies? What was more mind-boggling to Angara was the admission during the Senate hearing by National Treasurer Roberto Tan that the government earned as much as P64 billion premium out of the ten projects bidded out the past two years under the Aquino administration’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP). “Thus, more than double to offset income tax reform for millions of Filipinos…Thus, cash or extra funds the government can use, why not for the millions (of pesos) over collected taxes over the years?” Angara fumed. Angara found further to his dismay that the proposed budget next year of the DOF and its attached agencies would increase by more than 224.86%. The existing budget this year of the DOF-BIR-BOC amounts to P15.497 billion. They wanted to increase this to P50.344 billion for 2016. READ MORE... RELATED,

ALSO by Ernesto Maceda: Poe’s presidential platform


By Ernesto M. Maceda
After months of speculation, Senator Grace Poe formally announced her presidential candidacy in 2016 at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Bahay ng Alumni before 2,000 supporters. It is the same place where her father Fernando Poe Jr. declared his presidential intention. A mixture of politicians, movie personalities and former FPJ 2004 leaders attended the announcement program. In her 24-minute address, presidential aspirant Senator Poe announced her 20-point political platform, promising to pursue the mission of her late father. Among these are education, Freedom of Information (FOI), internet speed, infrastructure, and security, many of which Malacañang said have been done and being done by President Aquino. One outstanding example is the traffic problem now being attended to by Secretaries Jose Rene Almendras, Rogelio Singson and Francis Tolentino. Liberal leaders criticized Senator Poe’s offering of the “Daang Matuwid” but leaving its captain, President Aquino, behind. She texted President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. that she is not going to attack him in her campaign speeches. But Poe already did that when she said no person or group has exclusive right to the “Daang Matuwid” program. More than half of her 20-point platform is a direct attack that President Aquino has failed to accomplish the same such as his programs in education, health and agriculture. Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano was grateful to Senator Poe for considering some programs and proposals in her presidential campaign platform that he has long been advocating in Congress such as making all Filipinos feel the benefits of economic progress, expansion of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program to cover livelihood assistance for current beneficiaries, create an Emergency Management Department (EMD) to combat the effects of climate change, build more roads and infrastructure in other regions outside NCR to help ease the traffic jams within Metro Manila, protect welfare of overseas Filipino workers, and achieve genuine change in Mindanao. It was a good show but it should have been held in a bigger venue with at least 10,000 in attendance. The congressmen in attendance should have been introduced. Some netizens are attacking her by calling her words nothing but wishful thinking and empty promises. READ MORE...

ALSO by Satur Ocampo: Eerily evoking martial law
[Under P-Noy’s watch, more than 780 extrajudicial/political killings have already been recorded. Alas, he will indeed leave office with blood on his legacy.]


By Satur C. Ocampo
Will President Aquino issue a statement on Monday, Sept. 21, which marks the 43rd year after Ferdinand E. Marcos declared martial law and began a 14-year fascist dictatorship whose pernicious imprints remain to this day? What will he say? Two weeks ago I wrote about the September 1 brazen killing of three lumad leaders in Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur by a paramilitary group called Magahat-Bagani. Two of them were shot dead before the entire community, the third (a school administrator) was hogtied, stabbed and his throat slit. Such brazen killings, I pointed out, trace back to similar atrocities under martial law: They have continued with impunity as no post-dictatorship government has summoned the political will to stop them. Since then pressure has built up on P-Noy to speak out about these crimes and, more importantly, to do something about them and all the previous political/extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations attributed to state security forces. For instance, the two leading dailies, Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer, came out with editorials, each recalling the similarity with the Marcos dictatorship’s unrestrained violence against people suspected of being members or supporters of the New People’s Army. Citing the murder in Bukidnon of five members of a lumad family (including children aged 13 and 17) that preceded the Surigao killings, the Star editorial, titled “The new hamletting,” began by stating, “This is not supposed to be happening in a modern state.” It noted the suspicion that “the tribal communities are being targeted and systematically driven out of their lands to make way for private business operations.” And while the government denies there’s a systematic campaign, it pointed to the thousands of displaced lumads staying in temporary shelters, “in what has been likened to the revival of anti-communist ‘hamletting’ during the Marcos dictatorship.” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

No disruptions

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 (PHILSTAR) EDITORIAL -Updated September 18, 2015 - When President Aquino talks of continuity, he may want to focus on the short-term, which is ensuring that public services will not be disrupted by the departure en masse of executive officials who will seek elective posts next year.

Even before the departures, the public has already had a taste of the consequences of having executive officials distracted by political plans for 2016. Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, who is known to be eyeing a Senate seat, has received heavy flak for his provincial sorties while the region under his jurisdiction is paralyzed by monstrous traffic jams.

Manuel Roxas II and Francis Pangilinan have resigned to pursue their bids for positions in the general elections next year. More resignations are expected as the October deadline nears for filing certificates of candidacy. The secretary-general of the Liberal Party has been named to replace Roxas, the LP’s standard bearer, as secretary of the interior and local government – a position that will play a key role in the elections.

Pangilinan, who was appointed to a position that was created amid reports that President Aquino was unhappy with the performance of his agriculture secretary, is expected to run again for the Senate. The President has yet to disclose whether Pangilinan will be the first and only adviser on agriculture and food security and whether his functions will be given back to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. Key agencies under Alcala’s department had been placed under the office created for Pangilinan.

READ MORE...

Also likely to seek elective posts in 2016 are Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and director Joel Villanueva of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Gregory Domingo has resigned as secretary of trade and industry but has agreed to stay on until the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit in November. Domingo is reportedly burned out, but there is also speculation that he will again help Roxas in the campaign for 2016. Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya may want to return to the House of Representatives.

Investors are reportedly putting plans on hold because of the election season. Government services, however, cannot be disrupted by the departure of agency heads. The President must fill vacancies quickly and when needed, the Commission on Appointments must act just as speedily on the nominations. There are still nine months left in the Aquino administration, and public services cannot be put on hold for the elections.


US involvement is what P-Noy must explain GOTCHA By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 18, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


By Jarius Bondoc

Businessmen invariably fuss over Elections 2016. Some worry about government trade-policy discontinuity, others about sure winners to whom to give campaign (protection) money. All wishing to predict outcomes, they pester for fearless forecasts journalists whom they presume to know the lurid decisive details.

Problems is, journalists never predict anything till it happens. Left to themselves, businessmen might as well play political scenarists. One way is to plot – from clues in, say, news reports or candidates’ habits and reactions – the worst events that could happen to each, then evaluate the likely survivor due to a fortuitous factor. Like, with the “presidentiables,” assume that:

• More and more stinks reek out of the bumbling Admin, to enrage voters against the standard bearer of “Daang Di Pala Matuwid”;

• The main Opposition bet, despite his immunity from suit as VP, goes to jail on non-bailable criminal charges;

• The most popular contender is disqualified from elective office;

• The emotional back-out of the promising tough talker does not elicit a groundswell of sympathy to incite campaign donations.

Now factor in the Filipino penchant to go for the underdog. Also, the likelihood that the PCOS inaccuracy will worsen, as is the trend from 2010 to 2013.

There you have it.

* * *

Now Commander-in-Chief Noynoy Aquino affirms that the SAF did heroically take down international terrorist Marwan in Mamasapano last Jan. 25. What brought about his change of heart? Could it be the potential disastrous effects on the candidacy of his anointed successor Mar Roxas, whom the electorate is judging by every act of the Admin, since P-Noy and Mar advertise themselves to be one and the same?

Only days ago P-Noy had created a storm in letting out to newsmen that he was looking into an “alternative truth” about the events surrounding the massacre of the SAF-44.

READ MORE...

At once police generals decried his casting of doubts on their men’s giving up of lives, not to forget the career setbacks that the Board of Inquiry members risked to ensure a comprehensive, truthful report. Further infuriating the public was the hated alias Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator of the separatist MILF, grabbing the chance to propagandize “the only truth” about Mamasapano.

That is, that Marwan’s bodyguards by themselves had killed him well before the SAF raiders arrived at the hideout. That set off new recollections of P-Noy snubbing the arrival honors for the SAF-44’s remains at their headquarters, the non-mention of their deeds during his final State of the Nation last July, and the removal from the National Police Academy grounds of a mural in their honor, reportedly on his orders.

In these days of early politicking, those surely would reflect on Roxas, as then-Interior Secretary in charge of the SAF, the BOI, and all other police matters. Hence, for Roxas’ sake, P-Noy’s somersault back to the official report on the SAF’s successful neutralizing of their quarry, marred in exfiltration, however, by bungling superiors.

Still, what must P-Noy have been thinking, in resurrecting during an unguarded moment with prying newsmen, the painful memories of the nation and the bereaved families? Is he so conscience-stricken about the massacre of the commandos, that he will take it to his grave for they operated directly on his orders? Or is he morbidly afraid of criminal and civil raps to be filed against him, as the “most responsible official” for it? Whichever, it was bothersome enough to make him entertain a soothing “alternative truth,” as a way out of the mess.

But if there’s one item left unexplained by P-Noy about Mamasapano, it’s that Americans were involved.

The Senate and the PNP inquiries confirmed it. Army and police officers swore there were six Caucasian Americans in civvies at the SAF command post in the police station outside Mamasapano. SAF Gen. Getulio Napeñas also helicoptered to the Army brigade headquarters with them.

There Army 6th Infantry Division Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan had an argument with them about being in charge of the artillery and light armor. Napeñas identified one of the six as Al Latz, who supposedly had trained the SAF’s 84th Special Action Company, the Seaborne that assaulted Marwan’s hut. In the field that fateful day, the Americans provided surveillance equipment support.

Relatedly, however, there were reports of at least one American fatality in the fighting. The human rights group Suara Bangsamoro quoted a farmer in Barrio Tukanalipao to have touched the Caucasian’s aquiline nose while helping load corpses onto two Bell-214 ST (Super Transport) choppers. The helicopters were painted light green, said to be operating in Mindanao under Evergreen Co. That firm is known to be a contractor of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

Should not P-Noy talk about that “alternative truth” instead – especially in light of reports that US security operatives have since pulled out in disgust, with all the training and surveillance equipment previously being lent-for-giveaway to ill-equipped Filipino counterparts?


Taxed to death COMMONSENSE By Marichu A. Villanueva (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 18, 2015 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0


By Marichu A. Villanueva

Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara stood much taller for taking to the highest level his advocacy to cut the tax burden of all fixed income earners. Angara was unperturbed over the public rejection by President Benigno “Noy” Aquino III on the proposed income tax bill now being deliberated in the 16th Congress.

In repeatedly rejecting the income tax cut bill, President Aquino echoed the objections raised by his fiscal advisers led by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Cesar Purisima and supported by deputies, namely, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner Kim Henares and Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner Alberto Lina.

The Aquino fiscal advisers objected to this proposed income tax reduction bill, citing an estimated P30 billion in potential revenue loss for the government.

But how come when they came last Tuesday to the Senate public hearing to ask approval for their proposed budget for 2016, the DOF-BIR-BOC sought an increase of more than P34 billion in appropriations for their agencies?

What was more mind-boggling to Angara was the admission during the Senate hearing by National Treasurer Roberto Tan that the government earned as much as P64 billion premium out of the ten projects bidded out the past two years under the Aquino administration’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

“Thus, more than double to offset income tax reform for millions of Filipinos…Thus, cash or extra funds the government can use, why not for the millions (of pesos) over collected taxes over the years?” Angara fumed.

Angara found further to his dismay that the proposed budget next year of the DOF and its attached agencies would increase by more than 224.86%. The existing budget this year of the DOF-BIR-BOC amounts to P15.497 billion. They wanted to increase this to P50.344 billion for 2016.

READ MORE...

In our Kapihan sa Manila Bay at Luneta Hotel last Wednesday, Angara presented to us a breakdown of the proposed 2016 budget of the DOF which glaringly showed much of the increase of proposed expenditures of these tax collecting agencies are for the construction of new buildings.

For the BIR budget for next year alone, P3.126 billion is allocated for new buildings of “satellite offices for the commissioners” in the regions.

For the BOC, they sought P100 million for the construction of new building at the Port of Cebu.

At the Senate hearing, Purisima explained the jump in the DOF’s budget for next year is primarily for capital outlay, specifically for the construction of a new building that would house its offices and those of its attached agency, the Bureau of Treasury (BTr). A sum of P1.8 billion of the proposed budget of the DOF would go to the construction of the building, which Purisima cited is just an initial amount needed for the project.

This is because under the proposed Manila Heritage Urban Renewal Project, the current BTr building (called Ayuntamiento in Intramuros, Manila) will be converted into a hotel.

The bulk though of the proposed budget for them next year is for “budgetary support” (euphemism for subsidy) that the DOF wants to give to two attached state-owned corporations. As recommended, the Land Bank of the Philippines would get P20 billion while the Development Bank of the Philippines will receive P10 billion.

Purisima explained to the senators the P30 billion for the two state-run banks is meant to improve their capital adequacy ratio as required by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. This is in compliance with the Basel III or the Third Basel Accord for Banks, he pointed out, meant to make the country’s banking system safer.

It was with relief to hear at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay breakfast forum from Angara that he would not be daunted by the public rejection by the President of his proposed bill seeking to reduce the existing tax rates for individual and corporate income taxes. His advocacy got the full support of the Joint Foreign Chambers comprised of multinational companies operating here in our country and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

For ordinary salary and wage earners like us, any amount of reduced income tax take from our monthly or daily pay slips would help us stretch our purchasing power.

As chairman of the Senate ways and means committee and principal author of the proposed tax cut relief bill, Angara considers it a challenge to wage this battle at a time the country is reported to enjoy robust economic growth.

He renewed his call to President Aquino that it is the right time to give back to the people these purported economic gains. And the direct way to enjoy the fruits of this growth being bandied about by the Aquino administration is easing the tax burden of the people who are paying diligently their income taxes, especially us fixed income earners.

At the breakfast forum, Angara declared his determination to pursue tax reform through this proposed legislation to institute more equitable taxes in our country. A known ally of President Aquino, Angara ran and won as administration-backed senatorial bet from the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) in the last May 2013 elections.

He remains hopeful though that President Aquino may still relent to eventually support the proposed income tax cuts bill. Angara wished the Chief Executive is given a more accurate and clearer information on this tax reform measure.

Speaking like an old hand in politics, Angara conceded political alliances in our country shift at every change of administration. He has seen this for himself in the past 12 years he has been in politics following the footsteps of his namesake father, former Senator Edgardo Angara.

The young Angara previously served for three consecutive terms, or nine years as congressman from his home province of Aurora. Currently on his first term as senator, Angara is not a candidate in next year’s elections. So his popular bill has nothing to do with earning brownie points for himself.

In closing spiel at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay, I quoted the popular idiom: “In this world, nothing is certain but taxes and death.” But Angara had the last word with his witty remark: “Or you’re taxed to death.”

------------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

House not backing down on income tax reform By Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 7, 2015 - 12:00am 5 238 googleplus1


“We’re not really changing anything. We’re just giving the applicable value of things when the tax code was approved (in 1997). In other words, inflation is the problem – it’s eating up income and revenues,” Belmonte told dzBB. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives would continue to push the passage of the income tax reform bill, which is seen to boost the purchasing and saving power of ordinary workers, despite opposition from Malacañang, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday.

Belmonte pointed out that the authors of the bill, which seeks to revise the personal and corporate income tax brackets, are aware of its fiscal implications and have in mind “compensatory measures” that would recover revenue losses due to lower income tax rates.

“We’re not really changing anything. We’re just giving the applicable value of things when the tax code was approved (in 1997). In other words, inflation is the problem – it’s eating up income and revenues,” Belmonte told dzBB.


SONNY ANGARA

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, working on a similar proposal in the Senate, also urged President Aquino and his finance team to take a stand on the welfare of fixed-income workers whose sector helps prop up the economy.

“Huwag naman natin silang patayin sa pagbubuwis (Let us not kill them with taxes),” he said.

Angara, chairman of the Senate ways and means committee, added the Senate could work with the House to come up with a modified tax reduction scheme as he recommends adjusting tax brackets for salaries to address the impact of inflation on fixed-income workers.

Belmonte chided the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for rejecting outright the reform measure before actually listening to lawmakers.

“Maybe they should give their own version instead of just giving us the thumbs down,” he said in a text message.

Malacañang on Saturday said it is strongly opposing measures to lower income tax rates as this would lower government revenues. The DOF and the BIR earlier said it would agree to lower income tax rates as long as the value-added tax (VAT) is increased from 12 percent to 14 percent but the two agencies later backtracked and batted for a “status quo.”

Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo, chairman of the House ways and means committee, says lawmakers cannot be contented with a status quo “because that means no change for our overburdened workers.”

He lamented that Malacañang ignored calls from lawmakers for the convening of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) or, at least, calling a simple dialog to resolve differences, saying “we really need to sit down and see what the points of agreement and disagreements are.”

Quimbo said there was a clear disconnect in the country having one of the highest income tax rates in Southeast Asia but with the lowest collection efficiency.

The Palace, he added, should see that the projected losses from lowering personal income taxes would just be around P30 billion, a dismal amount when compared to the government’s estimated underspending of P500 billion for this year alone. Many lawmakers see this as among the real causes of the slowdown in the country’s economic growth.

Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian said the Aquino administration should not have a knee-jerk reaction to the tax cut and, instead, be creative in finding ways to generate revenues other than simply taxing salary-earners.

“He (Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima) should plead his case before Congress and not with the media and show us his data to support his claim,” Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano III said.

Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas believes that a compromise can be made between Malacañang and the House as he said, “we just have to talk, compare notes, and triple check our figures.”

Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, leader of the independent bloc, said the government should act on smuggling, which if curbed can generate at least P100 billion annually, or P70 billion higher than the projected P30-billion loss from lower income taxes.

“Smuggling kills our economy, and that’s where the administration should focus its attention. (The administration should) not neglect our workers who are virtually being killed by the high cost of living,” Romualdez said.

Rep. Winston Castelo of Quezon City agreed, saying revenue losses “will only be minimal and can easily be recovered by being aggressive against tax cheats and smugglers.”

“Our workers are one of the pillars of our economy, it’s time for the government to give back to them. After all, the purchasing and saving power will inevitably generate even higher revenues,” Castelo said.

Advocacy After the Department of Finance (DOF) rejected his proposal to lower income tax rates to 25 percent, Angara said he will continue pushing the measure.

“I am not giving up on this advocacy. We will suggest other measures to look into our tax reform agenda,” he said over dzBB radio.

Angara stressed that the rates have not been adjusted to cope with inflation since 1997, with the lowest tax rate at five percent while 32 percent is imposed on fixed-income earners whose salaries are more than P500,000 per year.

About three to four million middle-income workers will be affected by the proposal to reduce the income brackets for that category, he said.

Angara agreed with Quimbo, his counterpart at the House of Representatives, that those receiving fixed-income salaries are 100 percent tax-compliant compared to large taxpayers and professionals.

The Senate committee is ready to pass the tax reform measure, he said, but is still waiting for the approval of a counterpart measure at the House, where tax-related laws must originate.

Angara joined Sen. Ralph Recto in the successful move to exempt tax for the mandatory 13th month pay starting December this year.

Sin tax revenues can offset loses Angara noted that the Sin Tax Law already increased government revenue collection by 14 percent, thus the revenue loss from reducing tax rates can be offset by taxes collected from alcoholic drinks and cigarettes.

The best the administration can do is help the middle-class workers have some tax relief to boost household spending, he said.–With Christina Mendez


Poe’s presidential platform SEARCH FOR TRUTH By Ernesto M. Maceda (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 19, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


By Ernesto M. Maceda

After months of speculation, Senator Grace Poe formally announced her presidential candidacy in 2016 at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Bahay ng Alumni before 2,000 supporters. It is the same place where her father Fernando Poe Jr. declared his presidential intention. A mixture of politicians, movie personalities and former FPJ 2004 leaders attended the announcement program.

In her 24-minute address, presidential aspirant Senator Poe announced her 20-point political platform, promising to pursue the mission of her late father. Among these are education, Freedom of Information (FOI), internet speed, infrastructure, and security, many of which Malacañang said have been done and being done by President Aquino. One outstanding example is the traffic problem now being attended to by Secretaries Jose Rene Almendras, Rogelio Singson and Francis Tolentino. Liberal leaders criticized Senator Poe’s offering of the “Daang Matuwid” but leaving its captain, President Aquino, behind.

She texted President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. that she is not going to attack him in her campaign speeches. But Poe already did that when she said no person or group has exclusive right to the “Daang Matuwid” program. More than half of her 20-point platform is a direct attack that President Aquino has failed to accomplish the same such as his programs in education, health and agriculture.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano was grateful to Senator Poe for considering some programs and proposals in her presidential campaign platform that he has long been advocating in Congress such as making all Filipinos feel the benefits of economic progress, expansion of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program to cover livelihood assistance for current beneficiaries, create an Emergency Management Department (EMD) to combat the effects of climate change, build more roads and infrastructure in other regions outside NCR to help ease the traffic jams within Metro Manila, protect welfare of overseas Filipino workers, and achieve genuine change in Mindanao.

It was a good show but it should have been held in a bigger venue with at least 10,000 in attendance. The congressmen in attendance should have been introduced.

Some netizens are attacking her by calling her words nothing but wishful thinking and empty promises.

READ MORE...

A day after Senator Poe’s presidential bid, Senator Francis Escudero was declared as Poe’s running mate at Club Filipino in San Juan. He said their tandem will establish a “Gobyernong may Puso,” reiterating they would remain without a political party.

On Binay’s camp, they just wished the tandem of Poe and Escudero nothing but the best in the 2016 national elections.

To date, there are three declared candidates – Binay, Roxas, and Poe - for president in the coming 2016 polls.

On Sept. 26, despite his earlier announcement of not running, supporters of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will hold a gathering dubbed as “Million March: Run Duterte Run” to make him run as president.

Terrible crimes Seventeen-year-old University of San Carlos (USC) college student Karen Reyes Montebon was raped, robbed and killed inside her house in Lapu Lapu City, Cebu.

A male teacher was found dead in his classroom at a Catholic college in Masbate City, with deadly blows on his head.

Three lumad leaders in Mindanao were massacred in Lianga, Surigao del Sur that were said to be perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA). Farmer Sonny Regulacion, 38, and four family members – wife Adela, 42; children Cristina, Angel Mae, 2, and Princess Christine Joy, 5 – were shot dead in Calbayog City, Samar.

Barangay Chairman Manolo Macalindong, 43, was shot dead in Batangas.

Seaman Arnest John Agbayani, 27, was found hogtied, shot to death and dumped in a ravine in Tagaytay.

Former PO1 Carlito Reguiere was shot dead in Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong.

Three soldiers are accused of rape of a 14-year-old Manobo girl in Davao.

DSWD anomalies For the third time in two years, the Commission on Audit (COA) charged the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with mishandling of relief funds, relief goods and conditional cash transfer (CCT) payments.

In its latest report dated Sept. 10, the COA said P382 million in foreign and local cash donations for Yolanda victims was kept in DSWD bank accounts.

The COA also found P141 million of expired, undistributed family food packs consisting of rice, canned goods, noodles and coffee.

Earlier, the COA reported that unqualified or not poor persons were included in CCT beneficiaries.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) had reported that 30% of CCT funds were mishandled.

Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. accused DSWD of mishandling of the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) fund which also has been delayed and withheld. Only 45% of ESA funds have been distributed.

Yet, despite this long list of anomalies, President Aquino or the Ombudsman has not ordered an investigation of DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman.

Tidbits Vice President Binay filed another libel complaint against former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, for accusing him of extorting (60% to 70%) condominium units in Makati when he was still mayor.

Former Minister of Justice Estelito Mendoza revealed in an ANC interview that 97% of detainees or 88,000 are awaiting trial. CJ Sereno should look into this justice delayed situation.

Mendoza also said that 60% of the detainees at the Pampanga Provincial Jail (PPJ) are accused of drug offenses.


Eerily evoking martial law AT GROUND LEVEL By Satur C. Ocampo (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 19, 2015 - 12:00am 0 5 googleplus0 0


By Satur C. Ocampo

Will President Aquino issue a statement on Monday, Sept. 21, which marks the 43rd year after Ferdinand E. Marcos declared martial law and began a 14-year fascist dictatorship whose pernicious imprints remain to this day? What will he say?

Two weeks ago I wrote about the September 1 brazen killing of three lumad leaders in Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur by a paramilitary group called Magahat-Bagani. Two of them were shot dead before the entire community, the third (a school administrator) was hogtied, stabbed and his throat slit. Such brazen killings, I pointed out, trace back to similar atrocities under martial law: They have continued with impunity as no post-dictatorship government has summoned the political will to stop them.

Since then pressure has built up on P-Noy to speak out about these crimes and, more importantly, to do something about them and all the previous political/extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations attributed to state security forces.

For instance, the two leading dailies, Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer, came out with editorials, each recalling the similarity with the Marcos dictatorship’s unrestrained violence against people suspected of being members or supporters of the New People’s Army.

Citing the murder in Bukidnon of five members of a lumad family (including children aged 13 and 17) that preceded the Surigao killings, the Star editorial, titled “The new hamletting,” began by stating, “This is not supposed to be happening in a modern state.”

It noted the suspicion that “the tribal communities are being targeted and systematically driven out of their lands to make way for private business operations.” And while the government denies there’s a systematic campaign, it pointed to the thousands of displaced lumads staying in temporary shelters, “in what has been likened to the revival of anti-communist ‘hamletting’ during the Marcos dictatorship.”

READ MORE...

“As long as Lumads keep getting murdered… state forces will continue to be suspect. If the Aquino admistration wants to dispel suspicions of sanctioning the attacks, it must intensify efforts to bring the killers to justice,” the editorial concluded.

Titled “Militarized zone,” the Inquirer editorial raised the question: How can the Magahat-Bagani, with only 30 armed men, “operate with such impunity” in an area where the Philippine Army’s 401st and 402nd Brigades has deployed “an overwhelming force of 1,500-5,000 elite soldiers”?

Answering its question, the editorial said: “Apparently because, as Governor (Johnny) Pimentel has confirmed, the military is behind Magahat-Bagani. Like the Alamara, another paramilitary group accused of crimes against indigenous peoples and activist organizations in Davao, the killers of Samarca, Diones and Sinzo (the Surigao victims) have been armed, and are actively supported, by elements in the military as part of its counterinsurgency campaign in the area.” Like the Star, it ends up at the doorway of Malacañang:

“The widespread violence, harassment and militarization going on in Mindanao is nothing less than a throwback to the playbook of the Marcos dictatorship. President Aquino must put a stop to it, lest it become his bloody legacy.”

Sharp criticism of the P-Noy government ensued from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, along with a call for an “honest, thorough, impartial and speedy investigation so that the guilty may be held to account for their wrongdoing.”

Through its president, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the CBCP says it’s “profoundly disturbed” by reports that national leaders have been quick to exonerate the militia group (Magahat-Bagani), adding, “This alarming eagerness to deny culpability does not augur well for truth and for justice.”

Moreover, the CBCP correctly observed that the paramilitary groups which the AFP uses for counterinsurgency operations “do not fall under a clear, established and accessible chain of command.” While they act with the tacit consent, if not authority, of state agents, it stressed, “they cannot be held to account for their actions by the regular channels of accountability and attribution that exist in the regular armed forces and police.”

Malacañang’s response, by presidential communications secretary Herminio Coloma, was tepid. Taking note of the CBCP request, he quoted Justice Secretary Leila de Lima as saying her office backed the call for an “interagency” probe of the Surigao killings. Nothing definite.

There’s an explanation for what the CBCP described as “alarming eagerness” to let paramilitary forces off the hook – no matter that, under every post-martial law administration, these forces have been consistently tagged as major human rights violators by the Commission on Human Rights, local human rights defenders, and international human rights organizations.

For P-Noy, the CAFGU (Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units) and kindred paramilitary groups are a legacy of his mother, the late Cory Aquino, who was catapulted to the presidency by the February 1986 popular uprising that ousted Marcos. Upon assuming power, she vowed to make her administration the dictatorship’s “exact opposite.” Sadly, she failed to fulfil that promise.

Against strong public clamor to dismantle the Marcos-created paramilitary forces, Cory chose to legitimize them: she issued Executive Order 264 placing the CAFGU under AFP supervision. But rather than discipline their notorious activities, the AFP coddled them, It even created other paramilitary groups, such as the Alamara and Magahat-Bagani, while disavowing responsibility for, or even links with them.

And such AFP coddling isn’t surprising either. Why? Because Cory adopted en masse Marcos’ AFP without ordering a top-down review to identify and prosecute or weed out the corrupt officers and those involved in human rights violations. This explains why, under her watch, documented cases of enforced disappearances, among other HRVs, totalled 821 – exceeding the 759 tallied under Marcos.

Under P-Noy’s watch, more than 780 extrajudicial/political killings have already been recorded. Alas, he will indeed leave office with blood on his legacy.

* * *


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE