Bill providing wages for housewives filed in Congress

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 8, 2019   •   7124

Photo credit: Mosquiton Isacar | PVI

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — A new bill has been filed in the House of Representatives which proposes to provide P2,000 monthly compensation to stay-at-home mothers.

Authored by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, House Bill 8875 or the Housewives Compensation Act seeks to recognize stay-at-home mothers or the work of housewives as valuable economic activity.

The bill said that the act shall apply to all housewives whose family’s economic status falls below the poverty threshold, who work as full-time housewives, and do not have part-time nor home-based work that is compensated.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with the concerned LGUs, shall be the implementer of the Act.

Salceda, in his explanatory note of his proposal, pointed out that throughout the last three decades, the State has protected women’s rights and worked to ensure gender equality with the adoption of several landmark laws that impact on the welfare of women, including RA 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women, RA 7192 or Responsible Parenthood Reproductive Health Act, and RA 10361 or the Domestic Worker’s Act, among others.

He also pointed out that international commitments on the Beijing Platform for Action, the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, the Sustainable Development Goals, coupled with the Philippine Development Plan’s focus on inclusive growth, have broadened discussions on the attainment of gender equality and social inclusion to include women’s economic empowerment, political participation and leadership, and violence against women.

Salceda further said that all these national and international development aspirations have also prompted the country to account for the contribution of the unremunerated work of women in the economy.

“Towards this end, stay-at-home mothers or housewives shall receive financial compensation for all the services rendered on a full-time basis to their children and their families,” Salceda declared in his proposed bill. —Aileen Cerrudo/ Maris Federez

Makabayan Bloc seeks probe into proliferation of smuggled vegetables in local markets

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – The House Makabayan bloc is pushing for an investigation into the alleged proliferation of smuggled vegetables in some markets across the country.

In filing House Resolution No. 2263, the bloc urged the House Committee on Agriculture and Food to launch an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on reports that smuggled carrots and other vegetables from overseas have flooded major markets in the country since August of this year.

The bloc noted that the League of Association at the La Trinidad Trading Areas has complained that four container vans full of alleged smuggled carrots are delivered to the Carbon Market in Cebu City every week and being sold at P50 per kilo in various markets.

“The said contraband carrots are believed to be coming from China and are allegedly injected with chemicals to prolong the shelf life,” the resolution read.

Some ‘hot cabbages’ were also reportedly being distributed in Divisoria Market in Manila at P70 per kilo which is much lower than the prices of Benguet cabbage pegged at P115 to P125 a kilo.

The bloc also noted reports about small warehouses near Divisoria where imported vegetables are allegedly stored and are released in the market when Benguet vegetable prices are high.

“Vegetable disposers at the La Trinidad Post in Benguet said that orders have drastically dropped due to the proliferation of smuggled carrots in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro, among other cities,” it said.

“From the previous 100 sacks of carrots a day, vegetable disposers said they are only able to dispose of at least 30 sacks of carrots a day,” it added.

The Department of Agriculture earlier said it is investigating reports on smuggled vegetables in local markets and warned the public against buying these items that may contain possible pesticide residue and may not be fit for consumption.

House approves bill imposing taxes on digital transactions

Marje Pelayo   •   September 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers in the House of Representatives (HOR) approved on third and final reading a proposed measure imposing a 12% value-added tax (VAT) on all digital transactions in the country.

With 167 ‘yes’, six ‘no’ and one abstention, the lawmakers approved House Bill 7425 which seeks to amend Section 105 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).

The proposed measure hopes to impose taxes on digital service providers that operate through online platforms to generate new sources of funds for the country’s COVID-19 response.

The proposed bill seeks to clarify the imposition of VAT on online advertisement services, digital services in exchange for a regular subscription fee, and supply of other electronic and online services that can be delivered through the Internet.

One of the principal authors of the bill, Albay Representative Joey Salceda, stressed that the bill seeks to require foreign corporations selling digital services to pay for and impose VAT on their services.

The proposed bill specifically refers to digital services as mobile applications, video games and online games, and webcasts and webinars as well as online licensing or software, updates and add-ons, website filters and firewalls.

It also addresses digital content such as music, videos, graphics and the likes; search engine services; social networks; online training as well as database and hosting.

“We have now clarified that digital services and the goods and services traded through digital service providers should generally be subject to VAT. This is just a matter of common tax sense,” Salceda said.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker guaranteed exemptions for small businesses or those having sales below P3 million and a sole proprietor with a net income of P250,000 and lower.

“So, the small Facebook online seller will not be taxed. I guarantee you,” he said.

Books and other printed materials being sold online will also be exempted from VAT in the proposed bill.

House to probe OCTA Research Group’s credentials, qualifications

Marje Pelayo   •   August 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is launching an investigation into OCTA Research Philippines “to ascertain the credentials and background” of its members.

As an independent research group, the OCTA Team has gained media mileage for its projections and warnings about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Five lawmakers filed a resolution for the inquiry specifically to seek a probe on the group’s “qualifications, research methodologies, partnerships and composition.”

The five lawmakers are namely Deputy Speakers Bernadette Herrera (Bagong Henerasyon Partylist), Kristine Singson-Meehan (Ilocos Sur, 2nd District), and Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA Partylist); Deputy Minority Leader Stella Luz Quimbo (Marikina, 2nd District), and Rep. Jesus “Bong” Suntay (Quezon City, 4th District).

Since March 2020, the group has been making projections about the surges of COVID-19 cases in the country. Some projections almost hit the mark, with the latest one pushing for a ‘circuit breaker’ or hard lockdown.

The lawmakers cited netizens flagging the group as an alarmist. Even the Department of Health (DOH) and a member of the government’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 has advised the group to “apply circumspection in making pandemic-related statements, in order to minimize public panic.”

The writers of the resolution pointed out that, “There is a public health and public policy need to ensure the safety and security of the population during this pandemic, and that information being distributed is correct and is not irresponsibly and erroneously published.”

They also underscored the need to “validate the connection between OCTA Research and the University of the Philippines System, as the former publicized a partnership which the latter seemingly denied.”

Based on their website, OCTA describes itself as a “polling, research and consulting firm” that provides “comprehensive, holistic, accurate, rigorous, and insightful data analysis to help our clients in government, the private sector and the NGO community.”

It further indicates that OCTA specializes in public opinion research, qualitative and quantitative research, policy research and advocacy, and training and capacity building.

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