Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra gears up for first SONA performance

Robie de Guzman   •   July 17, 2019   •   487

Courtesy: Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s leading orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), is now preparing for their performance at the fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on July 22.

Cultural Center of the Philippines President Arsenio Lizaso said PPO’s upcoming performance at the Batasang Pambansa is a milestone for the orchestra as this will be their first to play at such prestigious event.

“Ito po ang kauna-unahan sa SONA, first time kami dito at ito ay magandang pagkakataon sa Philharmonic at Cultural Center of the Philippines,” Lizaso said.

“Chance na ito for us to be able to play for the senators, congressmen, guests and for the President,” he added.

On Wednesday, Lizaso conducted an ocular visit at the lobby of the House of Representatives in Quezon City to check the audio and placement for the performance of the 65-member PPO.

The symphony orchestra will reportedly play the Philippine National Anthem “Lupang Hinirang,” “Pagbabago” by Freddie Agular, presidential anthem “Mabuhay,” and other Filipino compositions, as well as Duterte’s favorite song “Ikaw.”

“Nagre-rehearse kami sa Cultural Center, pagkatapos dito on the day itself,” Lizaso said.

He added that PPO’s performance, which is expected to last for three to five hours, is free of charge.

The PPO, established in 1973, has performed with many renowned conductors and is one of the leading musical ensembles in the Asia-Pacific region. (with details from Grace Casin)

Duterte signs into law higher taxes on alcohol, e-cigarette

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 23, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law imposing higher taxes on alcohol, e-cigarettes, and other vapor products.

The Republic Act no. 11467 was signed to raise additional funds for the government’s Universal Healthcare Law.

Under the newly signed law, taxes on distilled spirits shall increase to P42 per proof liter this year and will increase by 6% every year starting 2025. There will also be an ad valorem tax imposed on the products which is 22% of the alcohol prices.

Meanwhile, taxes of wine and beer products will increase by P50 and P35 per liter respectively. These products will also be subjected to a 6% tax increase every year starting in 2025.

For vapor products, a pack of heated tobacco will have an excise tax of P25 this year. Salt nicotine products will have excise taxes set at P37 per milliliter while cigarette taxes are set at P45 per pack this year.

Taxes of all vapor products will increase by 5% every year in the succeeding years.

The law, meanwhile, exempts medicine for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol in value-added tax.

By 2023, the law will also exempt value-added tax on prescription drugs for cancer, mental illness, tuberculosis, and kidney disease.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has vetoed section 5 of the Republic Act.

“The sin tax law that has been approved, there’s one provision that was vetoed, section 5, regarding the authority of the court to first grant seizure of properties as well as searching,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

SWS: Duterte’s satisfaction rating hits new record-high

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte’s satisfaction rating has reached a new record high, according to the recent survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Based on the 4th Quarter 2019 SWS Survey, Duterte got a 72% excellent net satisfaction rating, which is seven points higher compared to his September rating of 65%.

Malacañang welcomed the survey result saying President Duterte still has the support of the people.

“This means that the President has the support of the people, for which he is very thankful. But more than that, the people support him because they feel his legacy of real change,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar .—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte creates inter-agency task force on zero-hunger

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 16, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order creating an inter-agency task force to end hunger in the country.

Based on Executive Order no. 101, an inter-agency task force on zero-hunger will be created which will be chaired by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

“Involuntary hunger, food security, undernutrition and child wasting, stunting, and mortality continue to be serious concerns in the country,” the executive order reads.

The task force aims to assure that all government policies, programs and projects are centered in maintaining zero-hunger in the country.

“There is a need to carefully coordinate, rationalize, monitor and assess the efforts of concerned government agencies and instrumentalities to ensure a whole-of-government approach to eradicating hunger and achieving food security,” it further reads.

The members of the task force include the secretaries of agrarian reform, budget, education, environment, health, labor, interior and local government, trade, science and technology, communications, National Economic and Development Authority director-general, and the head of the Commission on Higher Education.

The fund for the task force will be taken from the allotted budget of the members.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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