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Malacañang to conduct information campaign on TRAIN Law

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, January 5th, 2018

President Duterte’s ratings, expected

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines —  President Rodrigo Duterte wants the public to understand everything about the provisions and the purpose of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law.

This, following a series of increases in prices of goods and services in the country.

In line with this, the government will conduct an intensified information dissemination about TRAIN.

“I also know that PCOO is working double time to embark on a dissemination campaign on the salient features of TRAIN. Likewise, the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) will not hesitate to prosecute individuals who will take advantage of price hikes invoking TRAIN as a legal basis,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque also assured that government agencies like the DTI will not allow businessmen to exploit the system for their own gains.

“Ang excise tax naman po pinapataw hindi dun sa old inventory kundi sa mga bagong inventory. So walang dahilan para tumaas ang presyo on day 1 of the effectivity of the law (The excise tax is imposed not on the old inventory but on the new inventory. Therefore, there is no reason to increase prices on day one of the effectivity of the law),” Roque said.

Meanwhile, the government will improve the cash transfer fund in order to ease the burden of poor families.

“We already have a list of beneficiaries on the conditional cash transfer. It would be the same population that will benefit from this cash mitigation which is a provision of the Tax Reform Act or TRAIN,” the spokesperson added. —  Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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Former BOC Chief Nicanor Faeldon transferred to Pasay City Jail

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – After almost 5 months of detention inside the Senate, former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon is now at the Pasay City Jail.

This, after the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee led by Senator Richard Gordon signed a commitment order against the former BOC Chief.

“Senate President has signed na siya’y dadalhin sa Pasay (that he will be brought to Pasay). Wala namang isyu ang (there is no issue on) sanitation or anything like that,” Gordon said.

The Office of the Senate Secretary assigned two personnel to guard Faeldon.

“Meron kaming (We have) assigned OSSA, 24/7,” Senate Secretary Atty. Lutgardo Barbo said.

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) said Faeldon will, in the meantime, be placed in a separate cell.

The BJMP spokesperson, however, stressed that despite this set-up, Faeldon will be treated as a regular detainee.

“Wala pong special treatment na pwedeng ibigay ang BJMP sa kanila. Kailangan niya pong mag-join ng mga regular activities,” BJMP Spokesperson S/Insp. Xavier Solda said.

(No special treatment will be given to him by BJMP. He is required to join regular activities.)

Faeldon’s camp sees this Senate decision as a welcome development.

“Very-very happy siya kasi po sa Senado, solitary siya.  Ang dalaw lang ay 8 a.m. hanggang 8 p.m. lang,” Faeldon’s Legal Counsel Atty. Jose Diño said.

(He is very happy because in the Senate he is in solitary. Visitors are only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

They have also reiterated their appeal to the Supreme Court for his provisional release.

“Yung (the) provisional release pending litigation, humihingi kami ng (we are asking a ) TRO,” Diño said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang maintains that it will not intervene with the issue.

The administration believes Faeldon is capable to perform his duties as Deputy Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense despite being in detention.

“Our position is he can perform his tasks wherever he maybe even in jail. We have never intervened in the legislative process,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has earlier placed Faeldon in detention after he refused to attend the committee’s probe on the corruption in the Bureau of Customs. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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Giving permission to other countries for marine research needs transparency — maritime law expert

by UNTV   |   Posted on Friday, January 26th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s approval of China’s request to conduct marine research in the Philippine Rise or Benham Rise has become controversial.

Benham Rise is rich in corals, marine life and gas reserves and was declared part of the Philippine extended continental shelf by the United Nations in 2012.

The issue became more controversial when Malacañang explained why China was chosen to do the research.

“Because only China has qualified so far. There are other applicants, unfortunately, they did not qualify according to fixed guidelines already set by the government,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

When asked why not allow the Filipinos to explore it themselves, Roque said, “Because no one has applied and no one can do it because, apparently, it’s capital intensive. You do not need a permit for any Filipino corporation to conduct scientific investigation in Benham Rise because it is ours. So that’s not something that a consent has to be given by the government,” said the official.

The statement of the presidential spokesperson garnered criticisms.

UP Maritime law expert Prof. Jay Batongbacal said Filipinos have been doing marine research in Benham Rise for years already so it is wrong to say that it is only China which is qualified to conduct scientific expeditions.

The Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM) also reacted saying that this is not an issue of affordability but an issue of lack of support and priority of the government to Filipino scientists to conduct research in our own waters.

With this sour development, Malacañang backtracked its statement and Roque denied having said that Filipinos have no capacity to conduct their own research because of the capital intensive.

The official also reiterated that Filipinos do not have to ask for a permit from the state to do a scientific investigation in Benham Rise because the Philippines have sovereign rights over it.

“I’m sorry for the miscommunication, but again I would like to highlight that, of course, Filipinos are conducting research and Filipinos don’t need to get the consent of the Philippine state because the right to conduct scientific research is ours. That’s what I meant,” said Roque.

The maritime law expert said that the government should be transparent when giving permits to other countries especially to China to conduct marine research.

“Kailangang ayusin ng gobyerno itong proseso. Dapat kasi transparent. Dapat madali makita kung anong gustong gawin ng kabila, makuha agad ang information para hindi suspicions agad ang lumalabas,”said Batongbacal.

(The government should fix this process. It has to be transparent. The intentions of the other party should be clear and information easily available. That way suspicions can be avoided.)

Aside from China, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also allowed other countries, such as the USA, Japan, and South Korea, to do marine research in Benham Rise. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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Philippine government considers potential deployment of Filipino workers to India

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, January 26th, 2018

INDIA — AJ Pantaleon has been working in India as a consultant at Hindware for 10 years now.

He is among the thousands of Filipino professionals in the second most populous country in the world.

AJ is also the president of Filipino in India Community, enabling him to see the huge opportunities available for overseas Filipino workers in the said country.

Most Filipino workers in India are in the information technology industry working as managers and other key and sensitive positions with an average monthly salary of P100,000 to P400,000.

“The economy of India is booming and they are in need of skilled workers,” Pantaleon said.

The group also seeks the signing of an agreement between the Philippines and India for the deployment of OFWs to the latter.

Although Filipinos earn huge salaries, they are having difficulties in renewing their visas.

“You cannot work here as an ordinary employee. You have to have a position at a company,” Pantaleon said.

According to the Philippine Embassy, there are 3,000 Filipinos living in India, and 400 of them are living in New Delhi.

Some of them were able to marry Indian nationals.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, although OFW concerns had not been part of the discussions between President Rodrigo Duterte and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Philippine authorities will study the possibility of improving the opportunities OFWs there.

“Of course, we noticed that India today has a very high standard of living and yes, given the economic boom in India, I understand that their economic growth was 7% and they are a population of more than a billion people,” Roque said. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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