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Manila residents get new round of tax reliefs from Mayor Isko

in News/Tabloid PH News

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno has delivered on his campaign promise of giving tax relief to Manilenos by cutting the tax rates imposed on real property. Moreno announced that the Manila City Council has already approved the ordinance slashing real property tax (RPT) by 40 percent over a three-year period.

He told barangay leaders in a meeting on Wednesday that this year, Manila residents will already see a 20-percent cut in their RPT, locally known as “amelyar”. Further 10-percent reductions in RPT will be implemented in 2020 and 2021.

Moreno said concerned agencies of the city government are now crafting the implementing rules and regulations of the ordinance.

Lowering the RPT and business tax was among his promises to residents of the Philippine capital city in his campaign sorties for the mayoral post.

“We will push for the gradual lowering of the real property tax and business tax by 40 percent which we plan to implement for three years. We will lower the rates by 20 percent for the first year, and then 10% for the second year, and then another 10 percent for the third year,” reports quoted him as promising then.

Moreno’s predecessor, former President Joseph Estrada, raised the RPT during his term as Manila mayor to allow the city to collect enough funds to pay its debts. 

Last July 31, Moreno signed Ordinance No. 8566 granting “general amnesty on all delinquent business taxes, real property taxes, regulatory fees, and other service charges.”

The amnesty, he said then, would hopefully address the lower number of residents and businesses who are paying their tax obligations to the city government.

He said with the tax cuts and amnesty, residents, and businesses would be encouraged to promptly pay their dues to the city, resulting in higher revenues.

Moreno has become a national sensation due to his live social media appearances while personally overseeing operations to clear the city roads of obstructions.

Filipinos take a beating from Mother Nature

in News/Tabloid PH News

From monsoon rains to tornadoes and waves as big houses, Filipinos are taking a beating from nature’s wrath over the last 48 hours, with Tropical Depression Hanna seen to make weather conditions worse as it enhances southwest monsoon (Hanging Habagat).

On Saturday (August 3), around 150 houses were destroyed in coastal villages in Davao City after they were hit by waves as big as the structures themselves.

While no one was reported injured due to the preparedness measures instituted by the local government, the big waves displaced at least 357 families, according to reports. The big waves were triggered by the monsoon and are a yearly occurrence.

In Negros Occidental, some 50 houses were damaged by two tornadoes around 10:30 am on August 3. No one was reported injured by the tornadoes that hit the La Carlota City and the town of Pontevedra.

About an hour earlier, another tornado destroyed at least 11 houses and a public market in Lavezares town in Northern Samar. No one was also reported injured.

Rains, meanwhile, continue to batter most areas of the country on Sunday (August 4), with the trough of Tropical Depression Hanna and Hanging Habagat expected to bring more rain showers and thunderstorms.

Forecast track of Tropical Depression “Hanna” as of Issued at 11:00 am, 04 August 2019. Image from PAGASA

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) already warned the public of possible flashfloods and landslides.

The weather condition has forced authorities to cancel two flights from Busuanga, Palawan to Manila.

Meanwhile, the Office of Civil Defense reported that 17 fatalities have been confirmed and 14 passengers still missing in the twin sea tragedies in Guimaras Strait caused by the bad weather. At least 55 passengers were already rescued.

They were passengers of motorboats Chi-Chi and Keziah, which capsized around noon on Saturday due to strong gusts of wind.

Also on Saturday, MV Arikun, a cargo ship with Panamanian flag, ran aground in the waters off Lauis Ledge Light House. According to the Philippine Coast Gaurd, the vessel was carrying 4,210 tons of wheat with a total of 18 crew onboard.

PHL likely to scrap visa upon arrival scheme

in News/Tabloid PH News

Manila, Philippines — There is now a big possibility that the government will stop allowing foreigners to enter the Philippines without valid visas following the concern raised by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon that the influx of Chinese nationals is fast becoming a national threat. 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teaodoro Locsin Jr., in reaction to Esperon’s statement, said Philippine visas should only be issued to foreigners vetted by consular officers. 

The government, in a bid to boost tourism and investments, has accorded visa-upon-arrival privileges to citizens of almost all countries, giving them the clearance to stay in the Philippines for a period of 14 to 59 days, depending on the rules set by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) per county of origin.

Locsin, via his Twitter account, said: “We need to put an end to visas upon arrival; all visas should be issued by consular offices after vetting. We must take extra care in outsourcing any part of the visa application process, picking only the most reputable worldwide.”

According to a report of the Manila Bulletin, Locsin’s proposal was already seconded by Malacanang, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Senators Joel Villanueva and Panfilo Lacson.

“I agree with Secretary Locsin. We really need to vet first. Because if it’s us, we find it difficult to acquire visas from other countries because they vet first,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo was quoted in the report. “The President will consider the proposal of the Secretary and if we don’t hear anything from him, that means that will be the policy of the government,” he added.

A Philippine Daily Inquirer report said based on BI data, there were 20,956 Chinese nationals holding 9G visa, or the pre-arranged employment visa, in 2017. This figure increased to 22,599 in 2018.

Supreme Court Justice Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the Chinese nationals coming here to work must follow the country’s labor rules and pay taxes accordingly.

“We have our labor laws. They can come here provided they have a visa or if they want to work, they must pay their taxes. As long as our rules are followed, I don’t see anything wrong…We have to see to it that our rules are followed,” Carpio told reporters. 

Sources: www.inquirer.netmb.com.ph

PCSO officials placed under NBI, PACC probes

in News/Tabloid PH News

Manila, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been directed to identify erring officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) in conjunction with the lifestyle checks to be conducted by the Presidential Anti-Crime and Corruption Commission (PACC).

According to reports of the Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer, to be covered by the probe are current and former officials of PCSO, including former general manager Alexander Balutan, current chairman Anselmo Pinili, and directors Marlon Balite, Sandra Cam and Ramon Ike Señeres. 

The PACC lifestyle check and NBI probe will not cover newly appointed general manager Royina Garma, who earlier discussed the corruption issues at PCSO with President Duterte, prompting the Chief Executive to suspend all gaming operations of the agency last Friday. On Tuesday, however, Malacanang said lotto operations will continue, as a preliminary probe showed lotto is not prone to corruption.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Palace also welcomes the congressional inquiries that will be launched by the Senate and House of Representatives.

Garma said foregone revenues from the suspended lotto operations alone already amounted to P250 million. Malacañang, however, gave the go signal to operate once again Lotto 6/42; Mega Lotto 6/45; Super Lotto 6/49; Grand Lotto 6/55; Ultra Lotto 6/ 58; 6-Digit Game; 4-Digit Game; Suertres and EZ2. Still suspended are the small town lotteries, Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB).

Last year, the PCSO earned P63.56 billion from its gaming operations, with P18.69 billion, or 30 percent, used to fund charity programs, including medical assistance to indigents. Its other revenues go to the national and local governments, as well as certain state agencies.

Sources:  www.philstar.comwww.inquirer.net

Photo Credit: PSCO

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