International Philippine School in Al-Khobar
The imposition of the government of Saudi Arabia of a five percent Value Added Tax (VAT) will affect the Arab nation’s food and beverage industry, petroleum products, rents of commercial establishments, remittance fee, and domestic transportation, among others.
The VAT already resulted in an increase of almost 55 percent in prices of gasoline.
With this, electricity rates will go up to 300 percent.
Overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Raymond Tolosa is already complaining because of a ten percent rise in school tuition this year. He worries it will further increase next year because of additional taxes.
“It’s better to send my children back to the Philippines because it’s more costly to study here,” he said.
However, Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Adnan Alonto noted that some Philippine schools in the Arab country might be exempted from the additional taxes if it can prove that they are community schools.
“For schools that have requested for certification, come here at the embassy… we can assure you that we will release a statement saying you are exempted, ” Alonto said.
Exempted from the additional taxes are residential rents, medicines, and medical equipment.
It was in 2016 when the unified agreement for VAT of the cooperation council for the Arab states of the gulf was released. The Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia are among the Arab countries that signed the agreement.
The VAT is a financial measure of Saudi Arabia, which will become one of its non-oil revenue sources.
According to Ambassador Alonto, with this development, Filipinos based in Saudi Arabia should learn how to properly save money.
“Filipinos here know how to endure. We know how to strive for our families,” said Alonto — Bong Duqueza | UNTV News & Rescue
Tunisian activists protest against Saudi Crown prince visit
An actor depicting the Saudi Crown Prince | REUTERS
Dozens of Tunisian rights activists and journalists rallied on Monday (November 26) against a planned visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Saudi crown prince is expected to arrive on Tuesday (November 27), part of a tour of several Arab countries on his first trip abroad since Khashoggi’s murder, which has strained Saudi Arabia’s ties with the West and battered his image abroad.
Some 13 Tunisian civic and rights groups, among them the journalists’ union, had called for a protest at the central Habib Bourguiba avenue in Tunis, scene of the mass protests that toppled Ben Ali in 2011.
Saudi Arabia has said the crown prince had no prior knowledge of the killing of the Washington Post columnist at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul last month.
After offering numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh said Khashoggi had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.
Since the 2011 uprising that ended the rule of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and triggered the Arab Spring protests that convulsed the region, Tunisia has become one of the few Arab countries where protests are permitted. — Reuters
Lacson pushes for VAT system reform after fuel tax hike suspension
Sen. Panfilo Lacson
MANILA, Philippines — A senator is batting to reform the country’s value-added tax system after the government suspended the collection of the next fuel excise tax scheduled in the first quarter of 2019.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson believes that the proposed reduction in the value-added tax rate from 12 percent to 10 percent will help the government attain its annual revenue targets.
This is amid the projected hefty losses in revenues due to the fuel tax hike suspension.
“Imagine ibinaba mo na ng 10 percent, naka-generate ka pa ng P117-billion incremental revenue,” said Lacson.
“Tayo ang pinakamaraming exemptions sa buong Southeast Asia for that matter, 143”
Lacson is eyeing to slash the number of sectors that are exempted from paying VAT, citing abuses such as in cooperatives, housing sectors and companies in economic zone.
The Department of Finance has expressed support for the said proposal during the passage of the first package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.
However, the agency is looking to prioritize the approval of its proposed tax reform packages.
“Pero sa tingin po namin ang mas balanse yung proposed po namin yung series of packages that really benefit the people immediately,” said Usec. Karl Chua.
Senator Lacson hopes that his proposal will gain enough support from his colleagues and hurdle congressional scrutiny. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue
Acquitted Pinay in UAE arrives home
Overseas Filipino worker Jennifer Dalquez with her parents
MANILA, Philippines – Jennifer Dalquez, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was sentenced to death in 2015 in the United Arab Emirates but later acquitted of the murder of her employer, finally arrived home in the Philippines on Friday (November 2).
Dalquez was acquitted after the Philippine Embassy appealed her case.
On Thursday (November 1), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in a statement commended the efforts of the Philippine Embassy for saving her from death row.
Dalquez is a native of General Santos City. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)