Palace: the Filipino suicide bomber a cause for concern

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 11, 2019   •   715

Scene of the suicide attack at a military camp in Indanan, Sulu that killed three soldiers and two bombers. | Courtesy: AFP-WESMINCOM

One of the two suicide bombers who was confirmed to be Filipino is a cause for concern according to Malacañang.

The attacker was identified as Norman Lasuca, 23 years old. Authorities say he was the first confirmed Filipino suicide bomber.

READ: Authorities confirm one of the suicide bombers in Indanan, Sulu was Filipino

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the attacker’s action goes against the character of Filipinos.

“It’s a cause for concern, given that this is the first time that there is a Filipino suicide bomber. It goes against the grain of the character of Filipinos, iyong magsu-suicide ka para sa terrorism (committing suicide for terrorism),” he said.

The Palace calls on the public to remain vigilant and immediately report suspicious individuals to authorities.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

House OKs tax hike on alcohol, vape products on third reading

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 21, 2019

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the bill which seeks to increase taxes on alcohol and vape products.

Based on House Bill No. 1026 “distilled spirits shall have an excise tax of 22% of the retail price, as well as an additional specific tax of P35 per proof liter in 2020, P40 in 2021 and P45 in 2022. The specific tax shall be increased by seven percent every year afterwards.”

The Committee on Ways and Means chairman Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda assures the excise tax on tobacco products, as stated in the bill, is only for vape products.

“So if you are so afraid of the tobacco taxes, there are no new tobacco taxes (in the bill) except for vape which is not a tobacco product. It is essentially a vape, non-combustion,” he said.

Salcedo added that vape products will have an increase of P30 in excise tax from the current P10.

The bill states that selling heated tobacco products and vapor products at prices lower than the combined excise and value-added tax rates required by the law shall be prohibited.

There will also be a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee which will be referred to as the Oversight Committee on Illicit Trade on Excisable Products.

The said committee will (a) evaluate the programs and performance of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in addressing illicit trade on excisable products and recommend remedial legislation; (b) require concerned agencies to submit reports and data that can aid in resolving illicit trade of excisable products; (c) hold public hearings; and (d) deputize the BIR, the BOC, the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation and other enforcement government agencies as may be needed, among others.

Meanwhile, DOF Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua told reporters last Thursday (Aug 15) that they are not satisfied with the House version of the bill.

“We are not satisfied with the House version, but it’s a starting point. We hope to convince senators to go for higher rates for the universal health care program,” he said.—AAC

Palace opposes Urban Dictionary definition of ‘Duterte’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Malacañang refuted the Urban Dictionary for defining ‘Duterte’ as ‘to scam, trick, or con.

During a press briefing on Tuesday (Aug 20), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will seek to counter the definition on the website.

“‘Duterte’ to us means honest, incorruptible, politically-willed person, courageous, selfless, honest, transparent and all good things…and other synonymous terms,” Panelo said.

The definition was uploaded by an unknown internet user one month ago. Urban Dictionary is crowd-sourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

Panelo suspects, the uploader might be a member of anti-Duterte groups.—AAC

DBM submits P4.1 trillion proposed 2020 national budget to Congress

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has submitted the proposed 2020 national budget to the House of Representatives on Tuesday (Aug 20).

Majority of the proposed budget will go to the Department of Education (Deped), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Meanwhile, over P622 billion budget will be allotted to the anti-insurgency program.

The DBM said the proposed budget is 12% higher compared to the 2019 national budget. The 2020 national budget is also the highest budget in the country’s history.

According to DBM acting Secretary Wendel Avisado, the proposed budget will prioritize the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) program, the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program and the smooth transition of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“This budget will sustain and continue our journey to a more peaceful and progressive Philippines,” he said.

The House Committee on Appropriations will begin deliberating on the proposed national budget on Thursday (Aug 22). They also target to approve its passage before the first session break on October 4.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano assured there will be no ‘pork barrel’ inserted in the proposed budget.

“The budget of the president is equitable and remember hihimayin pa natin ito (We will still deliberate on this),” he said.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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