DOF seeks Congress support for other economic recovery bills after passage of Bayanihan 2

Robie de Guzman   •   August 27, 2020   •   300

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) has asked Congress to approve other legislative measures designed to help speed up the recovery of the country’s economy which has plunged into recession due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III made the call Wednesday after Congress ratified the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Dominguez said the bills that Congress still needs to deliberate on include the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives Act (CREATE), the Financial Institutions’ Strategic Transfer (FIST) bill, and the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) bill.

“The access-to-credit provisions of Bayanihan 2 will be amplified through the proposed GUIDE and FIST bills,” he said in a statement.

He also said that FIST will allow banks to dispose of non-performing loans and assets through asset management companies similar to special purpose vehicles created in the early 2000s in response to the Asian Financial Flu, so they can extend credit to more sectors in need of financial aid.

Meanwhile, GUIDE will enable government financial institutions (GFI) to form special holding companies that will infuse equity, but subject to strict conditions, into strategically important companies facing insolvency.

“President Duterte has made clear that he needs the timely passage of CREATE, FIST, and GUIDE as part of the government’s economic recovery plan. As Bayanihan 2 has already been resolved, we will continue to work with the Senate and the House to get these imperatives passed in a fiscally responsible manner.” Dominguez said.

“We seek to lower the corporate income tax rate through CREATE; mitigate the threat of non-performing assets to our banking system through FIST; and support, but subject to strict conditions, strategically important companies facing insolvency through GUIDE,” he added.

The Finance chief also thanked the Senate and the House of Representatives for passing a “fiscally responsible” Bayanihan 2 bill which special powers anew to President Rodrigo Duterte to deal with the pandemic.

The Senate ratified the consolidated version hammered out by a bicameral committee last August 20, while the House of Representatives approved it last August 24. This final congressional bill is now up for President Duterte’s approval into law.

“Bayanihan 2 will allow the Duterte administration to keep its health initiatives on front and center of the national COVID-19 response, with funding for contact tracing, streamlined systems for registering viral testing kits and testing centers, and various forms of support for our medical workers spelled out in this sequel to Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” Dominguez said.

“As Bayanihan 2 is very close to being sent to the President for signature, we will keep working with the Senate and the House to get these bills passed and complete our recovery package in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis that has battered the global economy,” he added.

Bureau of Customs steps up drive vs rice smuggling

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is ramping up its campaign against rice smuggling even amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by conducting raids on warehouses suspected of storing illegally imported grains following reports from concerned citizens, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DOF said that Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero has assured Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that rice stocks imported by private traders during the pandemic would still be subject to “post-modification and post audit.”

This system will ensure that undervalued shipments are properly assessed and subsequently paid with the correct amount of duties and taxes.

Guerrero also said he had informed the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) that because rice is considered a “critical” commodity, traders were allowed to avail of the Provisional Goods Declaration in processing their shipments at this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

The FFF earlier questioned the BOC’s assessment and valuation system on the entry of rice imports.

“The BOC has found the valuation of several rice shipments with provisional goods declaration to be quite low compared to the prevailing market prices,” Guerrero said in his report to Dominguez.

“But those are subject to post-modification and post-audit. And in the meantime, we are still conducting the post-modification, verifying the payments of rice because some of them are clearly undervalued. So we will catch up in the post modification and post-audit,” he added.

Under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 07-2020, if the Customs district/sub-port collector accepts a provisional goods declaration, the duty and tax treatment of the goods under provisional declaration will not be different from that of goods with complete declaration.

For the release of shipments under tentative assessment, the importer will be required to post the required security, whether in the form of surety bond or cash bond.

Guerrero said the customs bureau has also responded to reports by concerned citizens regarding warehouses suspected of storing smuggled rice stocks by immediately issuing letters of authority to enable BOC officers to inspect such warehouses and seize goods without the requisite importation permits.

“We actually raided them and we found out that many of these warehouses were operating legally and their stocks are covered by proper documents,” Guerrero said.

Philippines, Japan ink 50-B yen standby loan deal for post-disaster efforts

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan signed an agreement for a 50 billion yen (around P23.3 billion) standby loan which aims to quickly disburse funding support for the government’s response to national calamities or health emergency, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa signed the deal Tuesday on the second phase of the post-disaster standby loan (PDSL).

Under this agreement, the DOF said the disbursement of the standby loan to the Philippines will be triggered by either of the following circumstances: the declaration of a state of calamity; or the declaration of a state of public health emergency.

In the case of the current COVID-19 pandemic or any other public health emergencies, the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or its equivalent in the National Capital Region (NCR) or in any other highly urbanized area in the country will also trigger the disbursement of the loan, it added.

“The ongoing pandemic underscores the need to further improve our policy and institutional framework for disaster risk reduction and management. It likewise emphasizes the need to build our financial resilience against disasters and similar emergencies,” Dominguez said during the ceremonial signing of the loan deal at the DOF office in Manila.

The loan will be available for quick disbursement in tranches within three years once it is declared effective. It may be extended for an additional three-year period for up to four times.

The financing package under PDSL carries a fixed interest rate of 0.01 percent with a maturity of 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda welcomed the agreement, saying that “as a calamity prone country like the Philippines, Japan fully understands the value of safeguarding lives, infrastructure and livelihood.”

The signing of this loan accord comes after a separate 50-billion yen loan inked by both countries in July for the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan, which aims to assist the Philippine government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease and aid Filipinos most affected by the pandemic.

Mga pamilyang maapektuhan ng granular lockdown, tatanggap ng P5K-P8K ayuda sa ilalim ng Bayanihan 2

Marje Pelayo   •   September 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Pagkakalooban ng pamahalaan ng ayuda ang mga pamilyang maaapektuhan ng ipatutupad na granular lockdown sa ilalim ng kapapasa lamang na Bayanihan 2 Law.

Ang granular lockdown ay ang pagsasara ng isang compound, kalsada, sitio, purok o barangay na may naitatalang mataas na kaso ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission sa halip na isang buong lungsod o probinsya. 

Batay sa Bayanihan to Recover as One o mas kilala sa Bayanihan 2 Law, P5,000 hanggang P8,000 ang matatanggap ng mga apektadong residente bilang emergency subsidy ng pamahalaan. 

Ito ay bahagi ng P13B na pondong nakapaloob sa nasabing batas sa ilalim ng cash-for-work program para sa mga displaced worker.

Subalit ang pagpili sa mga tatanggap ay dadaan sa masusing validation at tutukuyin rin kung may iba pang ayuda na natatanggap ang isang pamilya gaya ng conditional cash transfer assistance at rice subsidy. 

“Magbibigay po tayo ng P5,000 to P8,000 na ayuda doon sa mga mamamayan na mapapasaloob po ng granular lockdown na idedeklara ng mga local na pamahalaan,” pahayag ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“Bukod po dito, iyong balance po ng P13-billion ay ibibigay po natin sa mga nawalan ng trabaho at ibibigay po ng DOLE at magbibigay po tayo ng tulong sa mga nais magkaroon ng training para magkaroon pong muli ng bagong trabaho,” dagdag nito.

Nilagdaan ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang batas at magiging epektibo ito 15 araw matapos mailathala sa pampublikong pahayagan o official gazette.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.