2018 national budget, tax reform bill target to be approved by end of the week

admin   •   December 11, 2017   •   7765

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

MANILA, Philippines – The Lower House and the Senate plan to approve the P3.8 trillion proposed fund of the country for the next year and the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) before the session ends this week.

The Congress will have a one month break starting Wednesday for the holiday. But according to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the bicameral conference committee already resolved some issues of the different budget allocations of some departments that is why it is possible that it will be finished on time.

Coinciding this they will also be able to approve the proposed tax reform bill which aims to increase taxes on some products for the funds can be used in the Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration. — UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte vows to help Cebu build new infrastructures amid traffic woes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to help Cebu City build new infrastructures amid the severe traffic problem experienced in the city.

During his speech on Sunday (January 19), Duterte said that Cebu should focus on building a mass transportation system such as railway system.

“If you could make it a mass transportation, that would be better. Only few will be able to do that. But it’s either train or skyways. Let’s opt for elevated highways,” he said.

“The only way to do it is by utilizing a small commuter train and more highways. I will help you secure a loan for that,” he added.

The chief executive also said said he wants similar projects be constructed in Cebu. He reiterated that he does not want any project left unfinished —AAC

DOE urged to create body to monitor new round of fuel tax hikes

Robie de Guzman   •   January 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a task force that will closely monitor the implementation of the new round of increases in excise tax on fuel.

Gatchalian made the call as the third and last tranche of tax hikes on petroleum products under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law took effect on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

He said that under the TRAIN Law, the estimated rate impact on pump price for unleaded premium gasoline would be around ₱1.01 per liter, while the estimated rate impact of the third tranche of the excise tax on diesel price is ₱1.65 per liter.

For 100 percent coal contracted power distribution utilities, the estimated rate impact is around ₱0.03 per kilowatt hour.

The senator said the creation of the task force is aimed to protect consumers from premature price increases and profiteering.

“Kailangan paigtinging mabuti ng Department of Energy (DOE) ang pagbabantay laban sa hoarding at profiteering sa bansa ngayong nakaamba ang dagdag na excise tax sa huling pagkakataon,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Huwag na nating hayaan ang ilang mapagsamantalang retailers na ibenta sa mataas na halaga ang kanilang mga lumang imbentaryong produkto, gayong nabili nila ito bago pa man maimplementa ang third tranche ng excise tax sa fuel,” he added.

Gatchalian noted that local oil companies maintain a minimum inventory equivalent to 15-day supply of petroleum products as provided under DOE’s Department Circular No. 2003-01-001 or the Implementing Guidelines for the Minimum Inventory Requirements of Petroleum of Oil Companies and Bulk Suppliers.

The DOE earlier said the new round of fuel tax hikes are only applicable to new stocks imported beginning January 1, 2020. It also advised oil firms to deplete old stocks before implementing new price schemes reflecting the new levies.

Gatchalian also called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to monitor the prices of goods in the market in order to ensure that unscrupulous businessmen will not take advantage and pass on the impact of higher oil prices to consumers as a result of the third tranche of the TRAIN law implementation.

“Mabigat na sa bulsa ng bawat isa ang pagpataw ng excise tax sa krudo. Sana naman ay huwag na natin dagdagan ang pasanin ng taong bayan sa pamamagitan ng hindi makatarungang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin,” he said.

Special powers for BBB program, no longer a priority of Duterte – Panelo

Maris Federez   •   November 17, 2019

(L-R) Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has turned down the bill that will give the president special powers to hasten the Build, Build, Build Program.

House Bill No. 5456, filed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, seeks to grant President Rodrigo Roa Duterte special powers to speed up the implementation of the Build-Build-Build program before he steps down in 2022.

“While we respect the wisdom of Congress and laud the gentleman from Albay in seeing the importance of this flagship infrastructure program of the current government, we consider this proposed measure belated and no longer a priority legislative agenda of the President, given that we only have less than three years left in office,” said Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement released on Saturday (November 16).

“The President will implement and maximize what is presently available under our laws for this purpose,” Panelo added.

He further noted that “one of the inherent powers of the State is the power of eminent domain where pertinent government offices, through the Office of the Solicitor General, may expropriate or initiate proceedings, therefore, to acquire private property for public use. This power is particularly essential in securing rights of way, an issue that hampered the construction of vital infrastructure. The current agencies involved in the infrastructure program are presently utilizing this process.”

The statement also reads that “the Build-Build-Build program is now rolling with 35 ongoing constructions; 32 projects about to commence construction within 6-8 months; 21 in the advanced stages of government approval and 12 in the advanced stages of feasibility studies.”

Panelo added that the administration expects 38 projects to be completed by 2022 and 22 will be partially operational or at substantial completion.

He further said that while 40 are to be completed beyond 2022, all projects will be started within the governance of this administration. /mbmf

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