Defense chief lauds Duterte order on foreign vessels entering PH waters

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019   •   371

One of the anti-submarine vessels which docked at Pier 15 South Harbor, Manila.

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to require foreign vessels to first secure a clearance from the government before entering the Philippine waters.

“That is a very good development. At least now we have some authority to enforce our laws within our territorial waters,” Lorenzana said Tuesday.

Earlier, Duterte, through spokesman Salvador Panelo, issued a directive for all foreign vessels to provide notification and get clearance from proper government authority in advance of the actual passage. He also warned foreign vessels that Manila will either get compliance in a friendly manner or enforce it in an unfriendly manner.

READ: Duterte warns foreign ships to get clearance before entering PH waters

When asked to elaborate, Panelo explained that by saying ‘unfriendly,’ it means blocking entry to any foreign vessels intruding in the Philippine territory.

He, however, clarified that the President’s order didn’t mean an automatic use of force against intruders.

“By that it means that we will ask them to move out of the place, that’s unfriendly, because before we never said anything, we just allow them, we just make protest, but this time, we will tell them, please get out of our territorial waters,” Panelo said.

Duterte’s order came after reports of Chinese warships that allegedly entered the Philippine territory, particularly in Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi, without permission from the government.

Lorenzana, for his part, could not say yet the “unfriendly option” the Philippine Military could use to ward of intruders into the country’s waters. The Defense chief said he will defer the matter to the Philippine Navy. (RRD with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Pro and anti-Beijing supporters face off at shopping mall

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 13, 2019

Pro-Beijing supporters flooded into a Hong Kong shopping mall waving China flags and singing the Chinese national anthem on Friday (September 13) where they were confronted by with anti-Beijing groups.

The confrontation came hours before a city-wide Mid-Autumn festival celebration where demonstrators are set to carry lanterns and form human chains on the scenic Victoria Peak, an area popular with mainland Chinese tour groups. The human chain is also due to be formed on Lion Rock which separates the New Territories from the Kowloon peninsula.

The anti-China demonstrations started in June in response to a bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts, but have broadened into calls for democracy.

China says Hong Kong is now its internal affair. It denies meddling in Hong Kong and has accused the United States, Britain and others of fomenting the unrest.

Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by its obligations under the Joint Declaration. (REUTERS)

Duterte pitches for gross taxation to address corruption in gov’t

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for the use of gross taxation system over net tax collection in a bid to eliminate corruption in the government.

Duterte floated the idea on Thursday, saying the adoption of gross taxation system would significantly reduce corruption, starting in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The president previously made mention of this proposal during a media interview in Malacañang on Tuesday.

“Pag gross, wala na. ‘Yang mga examiner, wala nang trabaho ‘yan. Dito ka sa neto eh kasi may mga ano, bayaran, exemption ganun,” he said.

“Kung sinsero talaga kayo and you are on my side to stop corruption, if media would really help government and the Filipino people, all you have to do — tayong lahat, we agitate Congress, gross na tayo,” he added.

The president, however, did not elaborate on how the suggestion will be implemented.

Gross income tax is a tax assessed against the money somebody earns and is applicable to income from a job, as well as to funds that are set aside in an estate or trust.

While net taxes, are levied on production less subsidies received. It also paid to the government less transfer payments.

Net taxes are a simple version of a checkbook balance for governments as they measure the inflows and outflows of the state’s tax activities.

Duterte said that the need for examiners will be eliminated if the computation system of corporate taxes will be changed.

“I guarantee you, ‘pag pumunta tayo ng gross, wala ng examiner, wala ng deduction then they do not haggle for anything. ‘Pag nandiyan na ‘yung resibo, ‘yan na ‘yun,” he said.

The chief executive said this form of tax is already being used in foreign countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.

In response to Duterte’s suggestion, the Department of Finance (DOF) said it will look into shifting to gross taxation.

Aside from adopting new system of taxation, the president earlier suggested the removal of brokers in the Bureau of Customs to curb corruption.

Duterte monitoring 100 more Customs execs linked to corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is monitoring 100 more Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials allegedly involved in corruption within the agency.

In a speech during the launching of Bataan government center and Business in Balanga town on Thursday, Duterte said he received a list of 164 BOC executives purportedly engaging in corrupt practices.

The president then quoted a former Customs’ employee who said that removing these officials would rid the agency of corruption.

“At itong Customs, I was given a list of 164. They have been there already for 38 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years,” he said.

“Sabi nung taong ma-acquit sana, an ex-employee of — sa Customs, ‘itong mga tao na ito, ‘Mayor, kung matanggal mo ito, mawawala ang corruption sa gobyerno,’” he added.

“In the meantime that I am investigating the 64, I think they were already suspended by the Ombudsman, I’m still trying to look for these 100 idiots, these sons of a b****,” the president further stated.

Sixty-four of these officials have already been placed on floating status in July and are facing administrative and criminal charges for unlawful activities.

READ: Duterte orders freezing of several Customs officials, employees

Duterte earlier suggested the removal of brokers and examiners at the Customs bureau to significantly reduce corruption in the agency.

He also suggested that instead of brokers, the BOC may be allowed to accredit or designate individuals or companies to arrange their shipment.

READ: Duterte wants brokers, examiners removed from PH Customs

Following Duterte’s proposal, BOC executives met on Wednesday (Sept.11) but have yet to release any information on their discussion on a new system seeking to eliminate the use of brokers in the processing of shipments in the port area. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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