JULY 7, 2008 (STAR) By Paolo Romero - President Arroyo has issued an executive order creating an intellectual property rights (IPR) superbody to check IPR violations and run after pirates and counterfeiters.

In Executive Order No. 736 signed last June 21, Mrs. Arroyo formed the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) and ordered that permanent IPR units be set up in various law enforcement agencies and selected government offices.

She cited the need to create an inter-agency group “that will effectively formulate and implement plans and policies and strengthen the protection and enforcement of IPR in the country.”

She stressed that Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines has declared that an effective intellectual and industrial property system is vital to the development of domestic creative activity, facilitates transfer of technology, attracts foreign investments, and ensures market access for the country’s products.

The Philippines was delisted last year from the United States Trade Representative’s IPR priority watch list and placed on the “lower level watch list.”

The NCIPR will be chaired by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), while the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will be the vice chair. The DTI and the IPO will continue to coordinate inter-agency efforts against piracy and counterfeiting, the EO said.

Other members of the NCIPR are the Departments of Justice, Interior and Local Governments, Bureau of Customs, National Telecommunications Commission, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, Optical Media Board, National Book Development Board, Bureau of Food and Drugs, and other agencies to be determined by the committee chairman.

Palace to bishops: We'll refer proposals to economic managers 07/07/2008 | 07:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Monday said that it will refer the proposal of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to revisit the oil deregulation and expanded value added tax laws to its economic managers.

Palace officials, however, added that Congress would play the most vital role in if the laws are to be amended.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said Malacañang understands where the CBCP is coming from given the current state of affairs in the world and that Malacañang welcomes the inputs from the CBCP, as well as from other sectors.

He then said that the economic managers are taking these inputs into account as they go over the administration's economic policies.

"The situation we're facing here today which is not only locally, domestically but globally. We are all in this and therefore we would be welcoming all of these inputs coming from everyone. But we will refer to this to our economic managers for their policy recommendations to the President," he said.

"We are open to possible revisiting of these policies…But we would have to refer this to our economic managers because they will be the ones who will be making the final recommendation. And we welcome all these inputs," he added.

The CBCP on Monday called on the government to review its policies that are affecting the prices of basic commodities like the Oil Deregulation law in light of the rising prices of oil and the world market and EVAT law which they increases the people's tax burden.

"I'm sure Congress will give due attention to the CBCP call to review oil and EVAT legislation," secretary to the Cabinet Ricardo Saludo, in a text message, said.

Deputy spokesman Anthony Golez, for his part, said it is Congress that passed the law which is why any amendments would have to go through Congress.

"Laws are made by Congress and the only way to change the laws is if Congress will change it. But the Palace is constantly reviewing it especially the e-VAT (Expanded Value Added Tax) law," Golez said.

He, however, reiterated that the administration sees more disadvantages in the scrapping of the e-VAT than advantages.

He added that the oil price hike is a global problem but the government is doing what it can to cushion its impact on the people through different programs like the "Katas ng VAT" dole-outs.

Golez said the government is also drawing up other measures to address both the rising oil and food prices, by drawing up a "food security program, energy security program… and austerity program" where all citizens would be enjoined to implement "austerity measures or pagtitpid."

This was echoed by Dureza who defended the subsidies extended by the government under the "Katas ng VAT" program which he stressed is really for "pantawid gutom."

He said the subsidies aims to provide immediate relief to the disadvantaged sector that bear most of the burden of the increasing prices of commodities in the world.

"Subsidies are pantawid gutom so to speak. These are immediate relief mechanisms for those who are really disadvantaged. We should take that in that context. The other point we'd like to stress is because we were able to provide the mechanism, to have the fiscal capability to do it…(because) the EVAT law that was in place," he added.

As this developed, economic adviser Joey Salceda said the emerging global conditions makes it urgent to revisit the economic policies of the administration, and to eventually some up with "new solutions and new approaches".

"Emerging and evolving economic global economic conditions have elevated social rebalancing as the most urgent and critical national imperative. Offhand, at the minimum, the budget does not reflect that. Next level, it doesn't stream through the technocracy and the bureaucracy. Thus it is correct to say that we need to review the regnant regime of economic policies," he said.

Salceda, in an interview said, the country needs more "intervention on behalf of the marginalized" and to spend more "for direct subsidies to poor."

He, however, objected to the proposal to lift the e-VAT.

He added that the "funding new imperatives without compromising Medium Term Development Plan" would also require review of the "balanced budget doctrine" while an "interplay of climate change, food security and energy independence will require new formulations of strategic mix".

He also cited that current population policy of government is also "simply indefensible in the face of resource depletion".

Salceda also cited that Arroyo is open to his proposed P316 billion economic stimulus, which he calls the Noah's Ark", but Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. denied that such package had already been approved.

"No instructions about that," Andaya said when asked if the resident has approved the economic stimulus including the seeking of a P316 billion supplemental budget.

*Arroyo, during the joint 8th ASEAN (Association of Science and Technology) Science and Technology Week, National Science and Technology Week and 50th anniversary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, said the best response to the rising prices of commodities in the world is by strengthening the exports programs and the business process outsourcing industry

"The best response by the Philippines to the rising global commodity price today is, if on the liability side of the national balance sheet, we sustained a loss from rising prices of commodities that we import, that is oil and rice, then we should endeavor to generate compensating gains on the asset side to the commodities we can export," she said.

"This asset side consists of hard commodities such as primary products supplemented by soft commodities such as outsource business processing under the leadership of our chairman ICT [Information Communication Technology] Ray Chua," she added.

The President cited that the BPO industry is now booming in several provinces within the country's cyber corridor region including Tuguegarao, Baguio, Dagupan, Urdaneta, Cabanatuan, Clark, San Fernando in Pampanga, Subic, Cainta, Bacoor, Sta. Rosa, Lipa, Batangas City, Camarines Sur, Legaspi, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Cebu, Leyte, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos City.- GMANews.TV

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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