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Consumer group questions legality of TRAIN law before Supreme Court

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, January 22nd, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The tax reform law is “unconstitutional”.

This is the reason given by a consumer group that filed a petition before the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the said law.

In a 43-page petition, the Laban Konsyumer Incorporated appealed to the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the TRAIN law.

Laban Konsyumer president, Vic Dimagiba said that some provisions in the Constitution were violated by the TRAIN law itself and this will result in more sufferings for many Filipinos.

Dimagiba added that the reform in the income tax does not make sense because with it is the increase in excise tax on petroleum products.

And with the increase in prices of oil products is the rise in prices of basic commodities, jeepney fare and more.

“Hindi po balance. Hindi po equity. Hindi equitable ang trato sa mga low income at poor families (It’s not balanced. The treatment of low income and poor families is not equitable),” said the advocate.

Dimagiba hopes that the Supreme Court justices will carefully study their petition.

Meanwhile, one economist agrees with the argument of the consumer group.

According to economist, Ranilo Balbieran, the government must not impose higher taxes on oil products.

“Hindi sana gaano’ng kataas yung tax sa petrolyo kasi lahat tayo apektado halos lahat ng ginagawa natin dito sa mundo parang may langis. Yung iba naman sana mas mataas yung tax gaya nung sa tobacco sa sigarilyo. Hindi naman talaga yan kailangan sa buhay,” said Balbieran.

On the other hand, Balbieran believes that the TRAIN law will have a good effect on the economy in the long run.

Balbieran sees that the country has shifted from a consumption-driven to an investment-driven economy.

This means that the administration is looking ahead to the future by investing in infrastructures for the benefit of all Filipinos and generations to come.

The consumer group, on the other hand, calls on the public to be watchful of the current administration to ensure that the funds raised by the tax reform will be spent on rightful projects. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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Chinese consumers say iPhone overpriced, faces competition from local brands

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2019


Apple logo sign in Shanghai, China | Reuters

Some Chinese consumers said on Wednesday (January 3) that overpriced iPhones and increased local competition were contributing to Apple Inc. taking the rare step of cutting its quarterly sales forecast.

Chief Executive Tim Cook on Wednesday blamed slowing iPhone sales in China, whose economy has been dragged down by uncertainty around U.S.-China trade relations.

The news, which comes as a spotlight grows on Beijing’s attempts to revive stalling growth, sent Apple shares tumbling in after-hours trade, hammered Asian suppliers and triggered a broader sell-off in global markets.

The revenue drop for the just-ended quarter underscores how an economic slowdown in China has been sharper than many expected, catching companies and leaders in Beijing off balance and forcing some to readjust their plans in the market. — Reuters

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Not a baby factory: S.Korea tries to fix demographic crisis with more gender equality

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2019


A baby sleeping in volunteer’s arm in Jusarang Community Church, Seoul, South Korea | REUTERS

An unidentified young woman with her newborn baby in her arms opened the metal hatch built into the wall of a church in Seoul. She put her baby inside and walked away after she decided to give up raising her son.

It was captured by a CCTV camera at Seoul’s Jusarang Community Church in late November.

Pastor Lee Jong-rak who runs a “baby box”, where mothers can leave unwanted infants, says one of reasons that the country has the lowest birth rates in the world is that the current social system cannot protect mothers. It is worse for mothers who give birth outside marriage, the pastor said.

“They are alienated and treated with contempt,” said Lee who has saved the lives of more than 1,500 babies since 2009. Last year, 261 children were abandoned across the country, according to Statistics Korea.

In just over a decade, South Korea has spent the equivalent of a small European economy trying to fix its demographic crisis, yet birth rates have dropped to the lowest in the world.

This year, President Moon Jae-In, who describes himself as a feminist president, is testing a new angle: showing women more respect.

At the end of last year, South Korea announced plans to remove some of the disincentives for employing women, allowing both parents to take parental leave at the same time and extending paid paternal leave. Employers also get incentives to allow either parent to work fewer hours.

South Korea is the worst place for women to work in the OECD, despite women being among the organization’s best educated, and more highly so than men.

About 56 percent of women aged 15-64 work in South Korea, below the OECD average of almost 60 percent, and 72-75 percent in Denmark and Sweden, where birth rates are among the highest of advanced economies.

Recruiters say married young women are less likely to get job opportunities due to discrimination.

But the measures go beyond the workplace: mothers can choose to give the baby their own last name and a tickbox on birth certificates showing whether a baby was born outside marriage will be removed.

Fertility treatments will be offered to single women and unmarried couples as well. Social campaigns will encourage men to participate more in child care and household chores.

Professor of Family and Resources Management at Sookmyung Women’s University, Yoo Ji-sun, said the new roadmap focusing on gender equality is ‘remarkable’ but cautioned the signal that the government was finally sending will take a long time to filter through the conservative and patriarchal society.

Births outside marriage, for instance, are so widely frowned upon that they amount to only 1.9 percent of the total, the lowest anywhere. Experts compare that to France, where the ratio is over 50 percent and the birth rate is 1.9 versus South Korea’s 1.05. Abortion is illegal and adoption rules very strict.

Still, critics say while Moon’s approach to birth rates is an improvement, his job and housing policies discourage parenthood. Minimum wage hikes have led to higher unemployment, while larger downpayment requirements have made homes unaffordable for many.

If birth rates don’t improve, South Korea’s economy could be 5 percent smaller by 2060, as productivity falls and higher spending for elderly care leaves less room for investment, the National Assembly Budget Office estimates. — Reuters

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Prevailing prices of basic commodities must be lower – Consumer group

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019


MANILA, Philippines — There are still no changes in the prices of prime commodities in wet markets.

According to sellers and consumers, the price of basic commodities is at a low level.

At Pritil Market in Tondo Manila, sales declined on the second day of 2019.

“May stock pa sila ng pagkain yung mga binili nila,” said vendor, Alvina Mercado.

Vendors said suppliers have yet to advise on the price increase.

“Ganun pa rin, hindi nagbago ang presyo,” said Aileen Santiago.

The price of chayote (sayote) is still affordable at P30.00 per kilo;eggplant, garlic, and carrots at P80.00 per kilo;cabbage, pechay, baguio beans, onions, tomatoes and potatoes at P60.00 per kilo; ginger at P70 per kilo and upo at P25 per kilo.

Tilapia is sold at P100 per kilo; galunggong at P150 per kilo;banggus at 100 per piece or P200 per kilo; chicken at P150 per kilo while pork is at P240 per kilo.

Consumers are pleased with the low prices of basic commodities on the first day of 2019.

However, a consumer group believes it can still go lower than its prevailing prices.

Laban Konsyumer Group said that farm gate prices have decreased due to drop in prices of petroleum products.

“Hindi lamang dapat stable ang presyo ng pangunahing bilihin. Dapat ito mababa pa dahil ang farm gate price ng gulay at manok at baboy ay mababa. Yung mababang presyo ng farm gate prices hindi agad mag-reflect sa retail kaya dapat tutukan talaga ng monitoring at enforcement,” said Laban Konsyumer President Vic Dimagiba.

Meanwhile, according to economist Wilson Lee Flores, the prices of commodities will be stable in the first month of 2019.

However, the economic effects must be guarded due to the trade war between the United States and China.

“May kaunting epekto sa paghina ng ekonomiya ng buong mundo pero ang magandang balita ang Pilipinas at Asya malakas pa rin ang ekonomiya natin,” said the economist.

Flores said that public would not be surprised with the implementation of the excise tax this year because it already started in 2018.  — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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