[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 20 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Thu Oct 20 10:07:02 PHT 2005

Newsbriefs 20 October Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan


Govt vows to ease VAT payment pain (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

"THE government yesterday announced it would lower excise taxes and tariffs on petroleum products to reduce the impact of the 10 percent value added tax that will be imposed on fuel and power starting Nov. 1. 

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said the move would in effect keep the increases in the pump prices for gasoline and other petroleum products below 10 percent. 

With the reduction in tariffs, they said, unleaded gasoline would cost 8.2 percent more after VAT while diesel prices would go up by only 2.5 percent. Other petroleum products and their net price increases are: regular gas, 6.9 percent; kerosene, 6.1 percent; liquefied petroleum gas, 7.9 percent; and bunker fuel, 6.6 percent. 

Electricity bills, on the other hand, should increase by no more than 60 centavos per kilowatthour because of the removal of a franchise tax for power distribution companies, Lotilla said. 

Oil and power companies cannot impose the tax until the Bureau of Internal Revenue releases its guidelines, he added. 

Based on Oct. 17 prices, unleaded gasoline would rise from P35.55 a liter to P38.48 per liter after tax. A cylinder of LPG or cooking gas would go from P453 to P488.86. 

The excise tax on LPG was reduced to zero, while the tariff on imported petroleum products was cut from 5 percent to 3 percent. 

While the Supreme Court lifted its freeze on the Expanded Value Added Tax this week, the government said the new tax would take effect Nov. 1 to give it time to release the implementing rules and regulations." 

Senators to Arroyo: Collect, spend VAT revenues wisely (inq7.net)

"LAWMAKERS yesterday urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration to ease the burden of the expanded value-added tax on the people quickly by providing emergency aid, collecting taxes efficiently and spending the revenues wisely.

Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II pressed the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs to lay the ground for the implementation of an "efficient and strict collection of taxes" as the government prepares to impose the VAT next month.

"If Juan de la Cruz is asked to carry an additional burden brought about by the new tax measure, the government should ensure that his living condition will be better tomorrow," he said.

Senator Joker Arroyo, who had vigorously opposed the VAT, voiced hopes that the government would prudently spend the estimated P120 billion to P130 billion revenue to be generated from the tax next year.

"Let's hope it would be spent wisely. The burden on the people will be assuaged if they see the benefits therefrom," he said."

Lawmakers file bill repealing EVAT law (www.philstar.com)


"Opposition congressmen have filed a bill seeking to repeal the expanded value-added tax (EVAT) law. 

Iloilo Rep. Rolex Suplico and Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras filed House Bill 4716 last Sept. 19, or almost a month before the Supreme Court lifted its freeze order on its implementation. 

In a forum held yesterday in a restaurant in San Juan, the lawmakers urged their House colleagues to support the bill, claiming that the new tax law is destructive to the country. 

Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales immediately pledged her support for the bill. 

Suplico said the administration, through Rep. Joey Salceda, is pushing for a resolution that would give powers to the President to temporarily suspend the implementation of EVAT for six months since the new tax law will not be good for the administration's image. 

However, he explained that a resolution cannot amend the law. "A resolution has no authority to give the President law-making powers. The law can only be modified or suspended or revised by another law. And a law can only be made here in Congress and not by the President," he said."

Palace adopts 'Big Brother' strategy at Mendiola (inq7.net)

"MALACAÑANG is adopting a "Big Brother" strategy in fighting back protesters by putting up video surveillance cameras covering almost all angles on Mendiola Bridge.

This was revealed yesterday by Malacañang officials who were bent on throwing the book at the police bodyguard of Senator Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal. The man was caught on film carrying a gun during the dispersal by water cannon of Friday's prayer rally.

National Capital Region Police Office Chief Vidal Querol said that aside from shields, helmets, rattan sticks and water cannons, the antiriot police would be equipped with video cameras to deter trouble makers during demonstrations.

"I have directed that there should be more video footage in rallies," Querol said.

The strategy is a takeoff from the Big Brother's totalitarian society which George Orwell outlined in his popular book, "1984." Here, the state censors everyone's behavior and thoughts.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said video cameras would now be part of the police arsenal after the antiriot force got a file footage of the armed protester on Friday.

"We hope that with this footage, the public will understand that what happened last Friday was not just an action of the police but rather a provocative act of some fellow," Ermita said.

Aside from sending a strong message to demonstrators that all their actions would be closely watched, Querol said that the video films would be used as basis to defend Malacañang's calibrated preemptive response (CPR) strategy."

Marchers vow to break police lines (The Manila Times)

"Militant groups and farmer and labor organizations, most of them based in Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon, on Wednesday vowed to enter Mendiola this Friday and break through the PNP blockade.

"The way things are going, protesters will have to fight for every meter and every inch of road on the way to Mendiola Bridge," Renato Reyes, secretary-general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said.

Besides directly attacking the government and PNP's calibrated preemptive response and the no permit, no rally policies, Reyes said the October 21 Mendiola rally will also lambaste the coming implementation of the expanded value-added tax and the failure of the government to distribute farmland to peasants. 

October 21 is the 33rd anniversary of former President Ferdinand Marcos's Presidential Decree 27, a martial-law edict on land reform. It was eventually superseded by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, passed by Congress in 1988."

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