Roque to ask Duterte if he wants to release his SALN

Marje Pelayo   •   October 30, 2020   •   462

 MANILA, Philippines — Members of the opposition have questioned Malacañang anew why it cannot release to the public the details of President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement of assets, liabilities and network (SALN) following the release of the senators’ SALN.

To end further speculations on the issue, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he will discuss the matter with the President and ask him if he wants his SALN to be made public.

“Mag-uusap po kami ng ating presidente. Para matapos na po itong issue na ito ay tatanungin ko po baka naman po magbigay ng permiso ang presidente para isapubliko ang kaniyang SALN, [I will talk to the President. To end this issue, I will ask him if he would permit making his SALN public],” Roque said.

“Pero wala pong itinatago ang ating presidente. Bago po maglabas ng ganitong guidelines ang Ombdusman, taon-taon naman po inilalabas ng presidente ang kaniyang SALN, [But the president is not hiding anything. Before the Ombudsman released its guidelines, the President had been releasing his SALN to the public],” he added.

In a report released by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the last time President Duterte’s SALN was made public was in 2016 and 2017 but it was no longer available in 2018 and 2019.

Malacañang insists that the Chief Executive is only following the guidelines issued by the Office of the Ombudsman over his SALN.

“Tatanungin po natin iyan sa Presidente. Kasi ang kaniyang posisyon bilang isang abogado, sundin namin ang guidelines ng Ombudsman [We will ask the President because his position as a lawyer is to follow the guidelines of the Ombudsman],” Roque said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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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)

DepEd to procure laptops for 68,500 personnel; assures enough assistance for educators

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) assures it will provide enough assistance to teachers as well as students amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

DepEd Usec. Annalyn Sevilla, during a public briefing on Thursday (May 20), said the department, through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), will procure laptops for 68,500 personnel. The allocated budget for the laptop procurement is P2.4 billion, covered under the Bayanihan to Recover as One or Bayanihan 2 Law.

The department will also allot P1.2 billion for mobile or internet load. Sevilla hopes this assistance will be distributed by June.

Sevilla said the department is also waiting for the passage of the Bayanihan to Arise as One or Bayanihan 3 Law to provide more help to educators and students amid the pandemic.

“Tayo po ay naghihintay ng susunod pa sa Bayanihan 3 Law para sa iba pang financial assistance,” she said.

(We are waiting for the Bayanihan 3 Law for other financial assistance.)

The DepEd official reported that under the Bayanihan 2 Law,  the department has received P4.3 billion budget for financial assistance.

DepEd also allotted P200 million for DepEd TV, P50 million for DepEd radio, and P150 million for self-learning modules.

Around P300 million budget will be used for students’ subsidies and allowances. -AAC

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