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Economic performance of the Philippines, strong and robust – IMF Staff

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017


The Economic Performance of the Philippines continues to be strong with robust growth over the recent years.

This is based on the findings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led Luis E. Breuer, head of the 2017 Article Mission to the Philippines.

Mr. Breuer, who visited the country from July 26 until August 9, said the Philippine’s economic performance is characterized by 6.9% growth in 2016.

Unemployment rate has fallen while investments have grown.

Growth of the economy decreased a little in 6.4% in the first quarter due to slow public spending and strong base effects following the election last year.

Meanwhile, he clarified that conflict in Mindanao has not affected the flow of investments in the Philippines.

“We have no evidence that confidence or sentiment in the Philippines which is very strong, regional and global standards, both the private sector and the public sector have very ambitious plans to expand, we have no evidence that the confidence has been weakened because of any regional security events,” Breuer said.

He added that they support the plan of the Duterte administration to spend more on infrastructure.

He also recommended the passage of the tax reform package that will provide bigger revenue collection for the government.

“It will generate resources for the authorities to expand priority investments and social services and infrastructure, it will provide insurance against volatile international financial conditions,” Breuer said.

Passing the Rightsizing Bill can also help in improving the spending efficiency and quality.

Breuer however clarified that this is just part of the preliminary findings of his team after they met with the governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, some local government officials and the private sector. He said based on this he will draft a report to be submitted to the executive board of IMF for approval. – Joyce Balancio | UNTV News and Rescue

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HoR passes important bills despite deliberations on two impeachment complaints

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, October 13th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Before the break of the second regular session, the Lower House was able to pass 48 proposed bills.

Among them were the proposed mandatory installations of CCTV cameras in public vehicles; compressed work week scheme; the universal health care; Filipino identification system; gender equality and the general appropriations bills.

“We stayed until four in the morning to finish whatever work there was to be done,” said  House Speaker Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

Despite their efforts, the House speaker expressed disappointment in Senate’s action on the bills that the lower chamber has passed.

Majority of these bills are still stalled in Senate, one of them is the proposed revival of the death penalty which the Lower House had passed several months ago.

“Ask the ‘slow’ chamber [of Congress] because here, we exert our full effort to [finish everything],” said Alvarez.

For now, the Lower House is preparing for the bicameral conference in order to reconcile their version and the Senate’s version of the tax reform package.

“I would like to propose to the other chamber to bring their notes as well in terms of impact to the economy, consumers and revenue projection so that we can discuss based on those parameters,” said House Committee on Ways and Means chairman Rep. Karlo Dakila Cua.

Since Congress opened on July 29, 2017, it has enacted 12 laws.

Among these were the expansion of passport and drivers license validity; free internet in public places; free college education; the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act and the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Both houses of Congress target to pass the 2018 national budget at the soonest possible time. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue


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PUV operators request number coding exemptions, low interest loans from tax reform package

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, May 19th, 2017


MANILA — Several transport organizations call on the Duterte Administration and several lawmakers to save their sector from the possible negative impact of the passage of the Tax Reform Package Law.

The Jeepney and Bus operators are asking the government to give them subsidies and to ease the number coding scheme in their sector.

“If the law will be passed, we’re hoping to be part of the provision on excise tax so that our vehicles will also be protected,” said Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) president, Efren de Luna.

According to Alex Yague, president of Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, “We have to make comprehensive the route rationalization, number 2, and lift the number coding immediately.”

Under the proposed law, the excise tax on diesel will reach to P6.00 per litre by 2020.

The law will be implemented in several tranches and will begin with a P3.00 tax in the middle of 2017.

This means that jeepney and bus fares might increase by 40 centavos in every P3.00 additional tax.

The Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Transportation (DOTr) explains the PUV sector will benefit from the additional excise tax.

“The solution is the subsidy or the temporary cash transfer. The solution is to modernize the jeeps,” DOF Usec. Karl Chua said.

DOTr Asec. Mark De Leon said,  “We are talking to government financing institutions so that we could provide low interest rate loans to Jeepney operators.”

The DOF estimates that with the implementation of the law, the government’s budget will increase to more than P500-billion in 2022 for the programs aiming to address poverty in the country.

The Finance Department continues to conduct consultations with various sectors to get their position on the tax reform package of the Duterte administration. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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Solons won’t push for legislation of proposed “vanity tax” any longer

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

The authors of the proposed vanity tax withdraws from pushing the controversial bill amid the criticisms on social media.

“Hindi na po namin isusulong ang Vanity Tax Bill dahil sinasabi naman po ni Secretary Ben Diokno na may sapat na pondo ang pamahalaan at hindi na muna kailangan ang buwis,” said Ako-Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe, one of the authors of the House Bill No. 4723.

(We are not pushing through with the Vanity Tax Bill because Secretary Ben Diokno said that the government has enough funds and therefore does not need the taxes.)

Under the said proposal, 10 to 30 percent excise tax will be imposed on cosmetic products.

The suggestion received criticisms on social media and from co-lawmakers.

According to Rep. Batocabe, they listen to the sentiments of the people especially to sectors that will possibly be affected.

The proposed vanity tax is seen as an alternative to the administration’s plan of increasing the excise tax on petroleum products as part of the tax reform package.

Batocabe said they will now focus on improving the collection efficiency of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs, seeing that according to lawmakers, the collection efficiency of the government on value-added tax or vat is only 50 percent. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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