JULY 23, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Norman Bordadora - An increase in the government’s share in the billions of pesos in revenues from mining and the passage of the sin tax bill are among the laws President Aquino will ask Congress to pass despite fast-approaching midterm elections.

Taxes and other revenue proposals are unpopular as elections draw near, and Mr. Aquino’s majority allies in Congress are facing their first election since he came to office two years ago, but the government needs to raise more revenue to finance its development and social programs.

Two Palace officials spoke about President Aquino’s legislative wish list two days before he was to address a joint session of Congress to report on the state of the nation.

Mr. Aquino is expected to present his legislative priorities during his speech, but Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Presidential Legislative Liaison Manuel Mamba didn’t say if the bills they mentioned would be included in the State of the Nation Address, whose text is closely guarded until minutes before delivery.

“That will be subject to another round of [legislative-executive development advisory council] discussions,” Abad said when asked what measures the President would ask from the Senate and the House of Representatives before the 15th Congress ended and the lawmakers faced voters next May.

“But some immediately come to mind—sin tax indexation, rationalization of fiscal incentives, the third [Anti-Money Laundering Act or Amla] amendment, and recently, the increase in excise tax on mining,” Abad said in a text message to the Inquirer.

Asked if those proposals would be in the President’s speech, Abad said he was not sure, as the speech was still going through revisions, with an eighth draft in the works as of yesterday.

Priority measures

Mamba, speaking on state-run radio dzRB, said President Aquino’s priority measures were the sin tax reform bill, the ratification of the country’s visiting forces agreement with Australia, and the third amendment to give more teeth to the antimoney-laundering law.

First posted 12:17 am | Sunday, July 22nd, 2012


No real progress under Aquino – Ibon Foundation Published on 22 July 2012 Hits: 904 Written by SAMMY MARTIN

[PHOTO - IBON Foundation, FOUNDATION promoting economics for the people (Local and International) IBON LOGO Thu, 12/08/2011]

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd will likely highlight economic growth, stock exchange performance, strengthening peso, and credit upgrades in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) tomorrow but these indicators are meaningless to the public, according to Ibon Foundation.

“The Aquino administration has to be measured against the urgent tasks needed to reform the economy. Unfortunately as the SONA nears, it is clear that there has been scant real progress and so-called Aquinomics has meant exclusionary growth,” said Sonny Africa, executive director of the foundation.

“The domestic jobs crisis is unresolved. The administration may play up over one million jobs reportedly created in April 2012 from the year before but this aggregate figure masks a drastic deterioration in the quality of jobs.

The number of full-time workers actually fell by 1.6 million and was only compensated for by a much larger 2.5 million increase in the number of part-time workers which is conventionally low-paying, insecure and without benefits.

As a result, part-time work now accounts for over four out of ten (43 percent) jobs in the economy or 16.2 million out of 37.8 million employed,” he explained.

[photo -Sonny Africa ng Ibon Foundation (Ilang-Ilang Quijano)]

According to IBON estimates on National Statistics Office (NSO) data, the total number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos increased by 780,000 in the last two years from 10.9 million in April 2010 to 11.7 million in April 2012 – consisting of 4.4 million unemployed and 7.3 million underemployed.

The unemployment rate over the same period fell from 11.4 percent to 10.3 percent but this was more than offset by rising underemployment which rose from 17.8 percent to 19.3 percent.

The unemployed and underemployed comprised 27.7 percent (11.5 million) of the labor force in 2011, which is marginally higher than the 27.6 percent (11.2 million) in 2010 but significantly higher than the 26.4 percent (8.7 million) in 2001.

He said that wages remain too low for decent living.

“Even with the recent staggered P30 wage hike in the National Capital Region, for instance, the mandated minimum wage of P446 in May 2012 is just 44 percent of the P1,017 family living wage (FLW).

This wage gap is even greater than a decade ago, in May 2002, when the minimum wage was 53 percent of the FLW.

As it is the real wage of wages that workers actually received was virtually unchanged between July 2010 (P308) and July 2011 (P307), taking inflation into account,” Africa said.

He added that the economy failed to create good quality jobs and decent incomes because “government economic policies are not about building genuinely Filipino industry and developing domestic agriculture— and consequently generating jobs— but rather about providing foreigners cheap Filipino labor and natural resources.

This is the fatal error of an economic program fixated on overseas work, business process outsourcing (BPOs), mining, and low value-added electronics manufacturing,” Africa said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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