Duterte signs ‘Murang Kuryente Act’ for cheaper power rates

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 13, 2019   •   2115

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Murang Kuryente Act on August 8 which aims to reduce power rates in the country.

The copy of the bill was released to the media on Tuesday (Aug 13).

Republic Act 11371 or Murang Kuryente Act, will allocate government shares in the Malampaya fund to pay the debts of the National Power Corporation (Napocor).

According to Senator Win Gatchalilan, the law might reduce power rates to P172 for a household consuming 200 kilowatts per hour (kwh) per month.

Based on the signed law, the P208 billion government share from the Malampaya fund “shall be utilized for the payment of stranded contract cost and stranded debts transferred to and assumed by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) pursuant to Section 49 of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001.”—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Pacquiao accepts Duterte’s challenge to name corrupt gov’t agencies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday (June 29) accepted the challenge of President Rodrigo Duterte to name government agencies and offices involved in corruption.

In a statement, Pacquiao said the President himself stated back in October 27, 2020 that corruption in the country has worsened and that he will concentrate the last remaining years of his term to fight corruption. The Senator said he feels the same way.

“Tinatanggap ko ang hamon ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Salamat po at binigyan niyo kami ng pagkakataon na tumulong sa inyo at bigyan kayo ng mga impormasyon para kampanya kontra korapsyon,” he said.

(I accept the challenge of President Rodrigo Duterte. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help and to provide you with information for the campaign against corruption.)

During his public address on Monday evening (June 28), Duterte called out Pacquiao over his claims that the current administration is “two times” more corrupt than the previous administration. He then challenged Pacquiao to name the government offices involved in corruption.

“Ituro mo ang opisina na corrupt at ako na ang bahala. Within one week, may gawin ako. Maglista ka, Pacquiao, at sinasabi mong two times kaming mas corrupt. Ilista mo iyong mga tao at opisina. Dapat inilista mo na iyan noon, at ibigay mo sa akin,” he said.

(Within one week, I will do something. Make a list, Pacquiao. You said [the government] is twice as corrupt. List the individuals and offices. You should have listed it before, and sent it to me.)

“If you fail to do that, I will campaign against you because you are not doing your duty. I will just tell the people, ‘Do not vote for Pacquiao because he is a liar’.” Duterte added.

Pacquiao, in his statement, reiterated that he is not a liar and suggested looking into the Department of Health (DOH) regarding its procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other medical equipment.

“Magsimula tayo sa DOH. Silipin at busisiin natin lahat ng mga binili mula sa rapid test kits, PPE , masks at iba pa. Handa ka ba Sec. Francisco Duque na ipakita ang kabuuan ng iyong ginagastos? Saan napunta ang pera na inutang natin para sa pandemya?”  Pacquiao asked.

(Let us start with the DOH. We should review all the procured items from rapid test kits, PPEs, masks and others. Is Secretary Francisco Duque prepared to show everything? What happened to the money we borrowed for the pandemic?)

The senator also lamented that there is a disagreement between him and the President when the country needs leaders who would band together to solve corruption. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Duterte, Xi call for ‘win-win’ cooperation on 46th anniversary of PH-China ties

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping both call for a “win-win” cooperation in commemoration of the 46th anniversary of Philippine-China relations.

The Philippine President expressed his gratitude for  China’s assistance to the Philippines in the face of challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Philippine-China economic ties are of course the dynamic force that will continue to drive or bilateral relations forward,” Duterte told Xi in a statement.

“I am confident that my Administration’s Build Build Build program together with the Belt and Road Initiative, will reap long-term benefits for our peoples,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a letter addressed to Duterte, the Chinese president acknowledged that in recent years, with concerted efforts of both sides, Philippine- China relations have remained “healthy and stable.”

“I attach great significance to the development of China-Philippines relations, and stand ready to work with you in guiding our bilateral relations to move forward in a sustained and steady manner, so as to achieve greater win-win results and mutual benefits,” Xi said. AAC

 

Senate approves POGO tax bill on third, final reading

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 3, 2021

With votes of 17-3-0, the Senate has approved the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators or POGO Tax Bill on the third and final reading.

Senate Bill No. 223 which President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent seeks to impose additional taxes on POGO.

The Gross Gaming Revenue or receipts from POGO’s gaming operation will have 5% tax. The gross income of all alien employees of offshore gaming licensees and service providers will also be imposed with 25% withholding tax.

According to Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and sponsor of the bill, an estimate of P28.7 billion worth of taxes will be collected in 2021 once it becomes a law. Meanwhile, an estimate of P32 billion will be collected in 2022.

However, several Senators do not agree in approving the said bill. Senator Risa Hontiveros said online gambling should not be the main source of income for foreigners in the country. She also reported crimes and syndicates where several POGO employees are involved.

“I think it is important for this chamber, Mr. President, to take a stronger position against online gambling and the illicit activity it has brought to our shores,” she said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan also agreed with Hontiveros.

“Indeed, whatever amount the BIR collects from POGOs may be used to fund projects to give relief to our people’s suffering during this pandemic. However, we cannot and should not turn a blind eye to the social costs that the POGO industry brings and has brought upon us,” he said. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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