House panel approves bill raising excise taxes on alcohol

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 13, 2019   •   644

The House Committee on Ways and Means approved on Tuesday (Aug 13) the proposed House Bill No. 1026 which aims to raise excise taxes on alcohol.

The committee used House Rule 10 section 48 of the chamber which states, “in case of bills or resolutions that are identified as priority measures of the House, which were previously filed in the immediately preceding Congress and have already been approved on 3rd reading, the same may be disposed of as matters already reported upon the approval of majority of the Members of the committee present, there being a quorum.”

According to Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda, who filed the said bill, the collected taxes will be used to fund the Universal Health Care Program of the government.

He also raised concerns about the health risk of drinking alcohol.

“[This is] to prevent first time drinking [because] deaths caused by alcohol is four times higher than deaths caused by tobacco from aged 20-30,” he said.

There are 43 congressmen who voted in favor of House Bill No. 1026. The bill proposes an increase that ranges from 14-22 percent excise taxes on alcohol depending on the kind of liquor.

The committee assured to give congressmen the opportunity to review the said bill during the deliberation in the plenary.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

House panel approves resolution for TV networks to air 3-hour educational programs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 19, 2020

The House Committee on Sustainable Development Goals has approved House Resolution 856 that seeks to encourage private and public television stations to air three hours of educational programs.

Alliance of Organizations, Networks and Associations (ALONA) Partylist Rep. Anna Marie Villaraza-Suarez, committee chairman, said they want to support students who have limited access to the internet and other gadgets.

According to Department of Education (DepEd) Usec. for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio, this will greatly help the department’s implementation of distance learning.

“Dahil diyan sa resolusyon na iyan ay mag-ooffer sa atin ang mga TV stations ng kahit 30 minuto kada araw na hindi na kailangang…kumbaga, bayaran ng DepEd, ay malaking tulong iyan (Because of the resolution, TV stations will offer at least 30 minutes every day which DepEd need not pay. It would help a lot),” he said.

DepEd’s regional offices are currently coordinating with local TV stations in airing educational shows. Meanwhile the National Telecommunications Commissions (NTC) recently released Memorandum Order 10-06-2020 which requires TV stations to allot 30 hours per month for the government to provide the needed educational services. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento).

House panel to probe rising cases of online sexual exploitation of children

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 10, 2020

The House Committee on the Welfare of Children will begin investigation on the rising cases of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) during the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID) pandemic.

Panel Chairperson and Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez on Monday (August 10) said the investigation aims to identify and address the gaps in the speedy prosecution of OSEC cases.

This also includes ensuring full accountability and compliance of internet service providers, social media, and other online platforms.

“There is an urgent need for the House of Representatives to exercise its oversight mandate to investigate the rising incidence of OSEC in the country, look into the quality of policy implementation, and review existing and related laws to keep up with the complexity of OSEC and the increasing levels of digital technology,” she said.

The lawmaker also reported that as of May 25, the Office of Cybercrime under the Department of Justice received 279,166 cyber tips from March to May 2020. This is higher compared to 76,561 cyber tips over the same period in 2019 which translates to an increase of 264.63%.

Children may experience sexual exploitation from their own parents who would peddle them to online sexual predators. Other forms of abuse also include online sexual grooming and the creation, production, and distribution of child sexual abuse and exploitation materials by pedophiles and predators, Romualdez cited.

“The greater shame is on us! For our failure to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, for allowing poverty to be a convenient excuse for our inaction to counter the continuing spread of OSEC, and for not being able to raise awareness among parents and the need to educate children on the risks of online sexual exploitation,” she stressed. AAC (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

P5-M worth of overpriced PPE, alcohol seized in Binondo, Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   March 27, 2020

P5-M worth of overpriced PPE, alcohol seized in Binondo, Manila

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday (March 28) announced the confiscation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and alcohol worth P5-M in a store in San Nicolas, Binondo, Manila.

Information from a concerned citizen of Barangay 281-26 in the area prompted the raid launched by BOC in coordination with the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) assisted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Manila Police District (MPD) on March 26.

Initial investigation revealed that the store was selling overpriced essential medical items which include face masks, gloves, goggles, alcohols, thermal scanners, test tubes and syringes.

Specifically, the store’s online operation charge buyers almost four times the suggested retail price of the items.

The owners of the shop were not around during the raid. They have only 15 days to provide the authorities importation documents to prove that said items were legally procured.

Otherwise, the owners shall face charges for smuggling in violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The operation was in line with the BOC’s commitment to border security and its relentless campaign to curb smuggling despite the health risk due to COVID-19 pandemic.

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