Duterte signs ‘Murang Kuryente Act’ for cheaper power rates

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 13, 2019   •   2083

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Murang Kuryente Act on August 8 which aims to reduce power rates in the country.

The copy of the bill was released to the media on Tuesday (Aug 13).

Republic Act 11371 or Murang Kuryente Act, will allocate government shares in the Malampaya fund to pay the debts of the National Power Corporation (Napocor).

According to Senator Win Gatchalilan, the law might reduce power rates to P172 for a household consuming 200 kilowatts per hour (kwh) per month.

Based on the signed law, the P208 billion government share from the Malampaya fund “shall be utilized for the payment of stranded contract cost and stranded debts transferred to and assumed by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) pursuant to Section 49 of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001.”—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte, Xi call for ‘win-win’ cooperation on 46th anniversary of PH-China ties

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping both call for a “win-win” cooperation in commemoration of the 46th anniversary of Philippine-China relations.

The Philippine President expressed his gratitude for  China’s assistance to the Philippines in the face of challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Philippine-China economic ties are of course the dynamic force that will continue to drive or bilateral relations forward,” Duterte told Xi in a statement.

“I am confident that my Administration’s Build Build Build program together with the Belt and Road Initiative, will reap long-term benefits for our peoples,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to Duterte, the Chinese president acknowledged that in recent years, with concerted efforts of both sides, Philippine- China relations have remained “healthy and stable.”

“I attach great significance to the development of China-Philippines relations, and stand ready to work with you in guiding our bilateral relations to move forward in a sustained and steady manner, so as to achieve greater win-win results and mutual benefits,” Xi said. AAC


Senate approves POGO tax bill on third, final reading

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 3, 2021

With votes of 17-3-0, the Senate has approved the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGO Tax Bill on the third and final reading.

Senate Bill No. 223 which President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent seeks to impose additional taxes on POGO.

The Gross Gaming Revenue or receipts from POGO’s gaming operation will have 5% tax. The gross income of all alien employees of offshore gaming licensees and service providers will also be imposed with 25% withholding tax.

According to Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and sponsor of the bill, an estimate of P28.7 billion worth of taxes will be collected in 2021 once it becomes a law. Meanwhile, an estimate of P32 billion will be collected in 2022.

However, several Senators do not agree in approving the said bill. Senator Risa Hontiveros said online gambling should not be the main source of income for foreigners in the country. She also reported crimes and syndicates where several POGO employees are involved.

“I think it is important for this chamber, Mr. President, to take a stronger position against online gambling and the illicit activity it has brought to our shores,” she said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan also agreed with Hontiveros.

“Indeed, whatever amount the BIR collects from POGOs may be used to fund projects to give relief to our people’s suffering during this pandemic. However, we cannot and should not turn a blind eye to the social costs that the POGO industry brings and has brought upon us,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

DepEd to procure laptops for 68,500 personnel; assures enough assistance for educators

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) assures it will provide enough assistance to teachers as well as students amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DepEd Usec. Annalyn Sevilla, during a public briefing on Thursday (May 20), said the department, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), will procure laptops for 68,500 personnel. The allocated budget for the laptop procurement is P2.4 billion, covered under the Bayanihan to Recover as One or Bayanihan 2 Law.

The department will also allot P1.2 billion for mobile or internet load. Sevilla hopes this assistance will be distributed by June.

Sevilla said the department is also waiting for the passage of the Bayanihan to Arise as One or Bayanihan 3 Law to provide more help to educators and students amid the pandemic.

“Tayo po ay naghihintay ng susunod pa sa Bayanihan 3 Law para sa iba pang financial assistance,” she said.

(We are waiting for the Bayanihan 3 Law for other financial assistance.)

The DepEd official reported that under the Bayanihan 2 Law,  the department has received P4.3 billion budget for financial assistance.

DepEd also allotted P200 million for DepEd TV, P50 million for DepEd radio, and P150 million for self-learning modules.

Around P300 million budget will be used for students’ subsidies and allowances. -AAC


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