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[ 2 Oct 2014 | One Comment ]

On 26 September 2014, the House of Representatives in plenary approved on third and final reading our House Bill 2970, An Act Increasing the Ceiling for the Total Exclusion from Gross Income of 13th Month Pay and Other Benefits to Seventy Thousand Pesos (P70,000), Amending for the Purpose Section 32(B)(7)(E) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as Amended.

HB 4970 seeks to exempt from income tax up to P70,000, from the current P30,000, 13th month pay and other benefits such as productivity incentives and Christmas bonus.  It also mandates the Secretary of the Department of Finance to increase the P70,000 ceiling after a reviewing the effect of inflation rate on the amount at the end of the taxable year.

The bill awaits deliberation and approval by the Senate, then enactment into law upon signing by the President.

Click here for a copy of the engrossed bill.

Activities, Headline »

[ 26 Sep 2014 | No Comment ]

TURNO EN CONTRA

Ipinahayag ni Bayan Muna Rep. Neri J. Colmenares

Setyembre 26, 2014

 

PPP sa 2015 Badyet:

Maling Patakaran, Maling Prayoridad, Malaking Pork Barrel!

 

Ginoong Speaker, mga kapwa mambabatas, salamat sa pagkakataong ibinigay sa representasyong ito para maipahayag ang posisyon ng mahihirap at aping mamamayan sa panahong ito ng Turno En Contra.

Sinasabing nasasalamin sa pambansang badyet ang patakarang pang-ekonomya at prayoridad ng pamahalaan. Tama ito. Narito po ako para ipakita sa inyo na maling-mali ang PPP ng P2.6 trilyong 2015 budget.

Ang tinutukoy ko po ay  hindi ang Pantawid Pamilya Program o ang Public – Private Partnership, bagamat mali rin ang mga programang ito.

Ang tinutukoy kong maling PPP ay ang maling patakaran, maling prayoridad at malaking pork barrel sa pambansang badyet.

Ginoong Speaker, ano nga ba ang pangunahing mga problema ng mamamayan? Ano ang solusyon at tamang patakaran para malutas ang mga problemang ito?

Laganap na kawalang hanapbuhay at kahirapan – ito ang pangunahing problema ng bayan. Hindi ito kayang burahin ng pinagyayabang na paglago ng gross domestic product. Hindi ito simpleng usapin ng “trickle down” na masosolusyonan ng pagpapalaki sa P64.7B PPP o conditional cash transfer, ng pansamantalang trabaho sa pamamagitan ng programang Tupad at ng public-private partnership.

Hindi dole-out at band-aid solution ang tamang solusyon at patakaran.

Hindi maunlad ang ating ekonomiya, hindi makalikha ng trabaho at nakabubuhay na kita. Hindi ito produkto ng force majure o climate change, ng katamaran, o kamangmangan. Masisipag at matatalino ang mga Pilipino. Mayaman tayo sa natural resources. 

Nasa atin ang lahat para mapaunlad at maindustriyalisa ang ating bansa tulad ng mga mauunlad na bansa ngayon.

Pero mali ang sistema at mali ang patakarang pang-ekonomiya. Ang ating ekonomya ay kinokontrol at pinagsasamantalahan ng dayuhan at ilang malaking kapitalista at asendero habang naghihirap ang mamamayan.

Ang patakarang pang-ekonomiya ng gubyernong Aquino ay dikta ng dayuhan. Sunud nang sunod ang gubyerno sa dikta ng US, IMF-WB at WTO – liberalisasyon, pribatisasyon at deregulasyon ng ekonomya. Ang mga patakarang ito ang dahilan kaya hindi maindustriyalisa ang ating bansa, kaya hindi mamodernisa ang agrikultura.

Bagsak ang agrikultura, bagsak ang industriya! Sumirit pataaas ang presyo ng bawang, bigas, langis, tubig, kuryente, gamot, paospital at pagpapaaral ng mga kabataan.  Ramdam ang kahirapan, hindi kaunlaran.

Dapat baguhin ang maling patakarang pang-ekonomiya ng globalisasyon, dapat ang programa at patakaran ay para maindustriyalisa ang bansa. Para mangyari ito dapat magkaroon ng programa para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa at pagtatayo ng mga industriya para lumikha ng maraming trabaho.

Dapat ituon ang badyet sa pagtatayo at pagsuporta sa mga industriya at pagmomodernisa ng agrikutura. Dapat ding ituon ang badyet sa pagbibigay ng libre o murang serbisyo sa kalusugan, edukasyon, abot-kayang kuryente, tubig at mga pangunahing bilihin.  Ngunit hindi ito nangyayari.

Dahil mali ang patakarang pang-ekonomya, mali rin ang prayoridad sa badyet.

Maling iprayoridad sa badyet ang pagbabayad ng utang panlabas, ang pagpapalaki ng badyet militar,  ang conditional cash transfer at pagpapalaki ng pork barrel ng Presidente. The big allocations for these are unproductive, wasteful and prone to corruption.

Inilaan ang P789.8B para sa bayad utang – doble ito ng badyet para sa edukasyon, tatlong ulit ng badyet para sa social security, welfare at employment, walong ulit na malaki sa health budget at 22 beses na mas mataas sa pabahay at community development.

Ikatlong ahensyang may pinakamataas na badyet, P144B, ang AFP / DND na kilabot at talamak sa paglabag sa karapatang pantao.

Itinaas sa P64.7B ang Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) sa 2015. Mula 2011 hanggang 2014, pinalaki ang alokasyon sa CCT ng 70% o P13B kada taon. Pero nananatiling mataas ang insidente ng kahirapan, mula sa 23.3 milyong Pilipino noong 2009 tungo sa 24 milyon nitong 2013. Aabot sa 67% ng populasyon ang mahihirap ayon sa IBON Philippines.

Tinalikuran ng gubyerno ang responsibilidad nito na pondohan nang sapat ang serbisyo publiko. Ipinasa sa mga kapitalista para gawing negosyo ang serbisyo publiko. Hindi kukulangin sa P57.2B ang inilaan sa PPP para sa 2015, P30 B dito ang ilalaan para sa Risk Management Program, o pondong publiko na paniyak sa tubo ng mga dayuhan at lokal na mamumuhunan.

Tinitipid at isinasapribado ng gubyerno ang State Colleges and Universities. Sangkatlo o 1/3 lamang ng hinihinging P122.7B ng 110 SUCs ang inilaan sa 2015 budget. Tumataaas ang tuition at iba ang bayarin sa mga SUCs. Malaki pa rin ang kakulangan sa teachers, silid aralan, gamit sa mga pampublikong unibersidad at paaralan.

Samantala, napakaliit na 5% ang dagdag sa badyet sa kalusugan. Malaking bahagi pa nito ay mapupunta bilang lumpsum sa PhilHealth at Health Facilities Enhancement Program na puno ng anomalya. Pinababa sa 24% ng DOH budget ang pondo para sa mga pampublikong ospital, malayo sa 39% noong 2009 bago maupo si Presidente Aquino. Palaging kulang ang pondo, kulang ang gamit, gamot, at health workers, naniningil pa sa mga pampublikong ospital sa buong bansa.

Ang pinakamasahol na nangyari sa badyet ay ito: ginawang isang malaking pork barrel ni Aquino ang Panukalang 2015 Badyet.  Aabot sa humigit-kumulang P958B lump sum discretionary fund o pork barrel ng presidente o ehekutibo ayon sa Ibon Philippines.

Sa kabila ng pagsasabi ng Department of Budget and Management na tanging 1.8% lamang ng kabuuang badyet or 48.1B lamang ang lumpsum, nagkalat sa buong panukalang badyet ang daan-daang bilyong lumpsums o pork barrel ng pangulo kabilang na ang:

  • Budgetary Support to GOCCs, P61.3 B
  • Assistance to LGU, P33.1 B
  • Risk management program, P30 B
  • Support for infra projects and social programs, P20 B
  • Unprogrammed funds, P123 B
  • kalakhan ng Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund P118 B
  • Grassroots Participatory Budgetting, P20.9 B
  • Pamana program, P7.3 B

Nasa ilalim ng diskresyon ng presidente ang P148 B Malampaya funds, P21.2B na Special Accounts at P29.5B na Off Budget Accounts kabilang ang Motor Vehicles Users’ Charge  at President’s Social Fund mula sa PAGCOR at PCSO.

Bukod pa ito sa napakalaking “savings” para sa 2015 na nagkakahalaga ng P123.1B

Ito pa ang nakakagalit – pinababago ni Aquino ang kahulugan ng ‘savings’ para paikutan at labagin ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema kontra sa DAP.

Nagpapakahirap tayo ritong aralin, dinggin, punahin, busisiin ang panukalang pambansang badyet, pero kalagitnaan ng taon at mas malala pwedeng Enero pa lang, maaari nang bagu-baguhin ni Aquino ang pinagtibay nating batas sa badyet. Magpasya lang si Aquino na hindi na ipagpatuloy ang mga proyekto at programa sa simula o kalagitnaan ng taon at ideklarang savings ang pondo para sa mga naturan, pwede nang gastusin ang pondo sa ibang gamit. Magiging pork barrel ni Aquino ang anumang appropriations na ideklara niyang savings.

Mga kasama ko sa Kongreso, huwag nating payagan ang bago at maling depinisyon ng savings. Kung papayag tayo sa gusto ng pangulo, mawawalang saysay ang power of the purse ng Kongreso, lumuhod na lang tayo sa bagong diktador sa badyet, si President Benigno S. Aquino.

Ginoong Speaker, hindi para sa mamamayan ang panukalang 2015 Badyet. Hindi nito tinutugunan ang problema ng mamamayan, tanging dayuhan at iilang malalaking negosyante, asyendero at burukrata ang makikinabang dito. Pinagpapatuloy nito ang PPP sa badyet – maling patakaran at maling prayoridad sa badyet at malala ang tiwaling sistema ng pork barrel.

Ginoong Speaker, hindi dapat ipasa ng Kongreso ang badyet na ito.#

Activities, Features, Headline »

[ 25 Aug 2014 | No Comment ]

AN ACT ABOLISHING THE PORK BARREL SYSTEM

Summary

The pork barrel of the President and the Congress have been exposed and condemned by the Filipino people as major sources of graft and corruption and of patronage politics and detrimental to the poor and the Filipino people.

This Act abolishes the presidential and congressional pork barrel, mandates line item budgeting, prohibits and criminalizes appropriation and use of lump sum discretionary funds, and penalizes violators with six years and one day to ten years imprisonment and disqualification from holding public office.

Definition of pork barrel

Pork Barrel is a lump sum public fund with sole discretion given to the President, legislator or group of legislators, or any public officer. The exercise of discretion by public officers relates to the allocation, release or use of these public funds, the identification or selection of projects, implementors or beneficiaries, or any or a combination of or all of these.

Mandatory acts

  • All proposed budgets shall contain only itemized or line-item appropriations, except in the case of disaster reponse, the contingency fund of up to 5% and intelligence/confidential funds of the National Security Council, the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Governments.
  • Special Funds like Malampaya Funds and other off-budget accounts shall be included in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) to be approved by Congress. The President Social Fund is abolished.
  • All unspent, unobligated and unreleased funds by the end of the fiscal year shall revert to or remain in the General Fund and shall be subject to Congress appropriation.

Prohibited acts

The penalty of imprisonment of six years and one day to ten years and perpetual disqualification from public office shall be imposed those who commit any of the following acts:

  • Any national official (the President, his subordinate or member of Congress) who authorizes the spending of public money that is not covered by or is in violation of any appropriation law.
  • Any national official who includes a lump sum amount in any budget proposal submitted to Congress, or any member of Congress who approves the inclusion of lump sum discretionary fund in the general or supplemental appropriations acts.
  • Any member of Congress or his agent who directly or indirectly intervenes or participates in the implementation of any appropriation law through any post-enactment act or practice.
  • Any national official who declares and utilize savings in circumvention or violation of Article VI Section 25 (5) of the Constitution and this Act.
  • Any national official who withdraws unobligated funds and declares and utilize as savings said unobligated funds before the end of the fiscal year.
  • Any national official who impounds any appropriation or portion thereof unless there is an official declaration by the President of an unmanageable National Government budget deficit.
  • Any person, including a private individual, who persuades or cooperates with any national official in violating this Act.

Amendment and repealing clause

This Act may only be repealed, modified or amended by a law that has been approved by the people under the system of initiative and referendum enshrined in the Constitution.

 

Summary of the People’s Initiative Bill

 

Let’s go for 6 million signatures!  Let your signature be part of history as we enact the first national law enacted directly by the Filipino people themselves.  If enacted, our bill will dismantle one of the pillars of corruption and traditional politics and will ensure that all our taxes will go to education and other basic social services.

Stand by for the Visayas and Mindanao legs of Stand Up, Sign Up Against Pork Barrel and Corruption in the coming weeks.  Watch out also for signature booths at schools, markets, plazas, and other sites that will be set up near you.

Activities, News »

[ 25 Aug 2014 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

25 August 2014

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817)

 

Tinio reveals list of government personnel assigned for solons’ illegal pork

 

LUNETA, MANILA—ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio has released a list of government employees in three national agencies assigned to facilitate the funding requests of members of the House of Representatives for scholarships, medical assistance, and emergency employment.

According to Tinio, the list of so-called “focal persons,” consisting of names and contact numbers of government employees of the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Health, and Department of Labor and Employment, was distributed to House members on April 22, 2014.  ”It’s another proof that President Aquino is secretly and illegally distributing pork to legislators despite the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional.”

Some P20.7 billion of the funds formerly known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the 2014 General Appropriations Act were realigned to six national government agencies. Of these, CHED got P4.1 billion for its scholarship program, DOH got P3 billion for medical assistance to indigent patients, and DOLE got P1 billion for its emergency employment programs (known as TUPAD and GIP).  The Department of Social Welfare got P4 billion for its Crisis Intervention Program while TESDA got P1 billion for its skills training program. The Department of Public Works and Highways got P7.3 billion for various local infrastructure projects. Officially, these agencies maintain that legislators have no say in the use of these funds.

However, Tinio alleges that the Aquino administration secretly allows these funds to be used as personal discretionary funds of members of the House of Representatives, a practice declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  ”Specifically, the funds in CHED, DOH, DOLE, TESDA, and DSWD are further subdivided into individual lump sums for House members, with P14 million each from CHED, P10.5 million from DOH, P3.5 million from DOLE and from TESDA, and P14 million from DSWD.  These personal lump sums are to be disbursed at the discretion of each House member, who alone decides to whom and how much of the funds will go.”

“Having been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, allowing members of Congress to access pork is not officially acknowledged.  There are no written policies, guidelines, memoranda, or orders admitting that it goes on.  Hence, Cabinet officials have had to hold face-to-face meetings with House members to explain that they can access their personal discretionary lump sums through so-called focal persons.  These are government employees in their respective agencies who are tasked with facilitating the funding requests of congressmen and congresswomen,” explained Tinio.  “Fortunately, we have been able to document some of these meetings and the unofficial documents that these agencies have given out to House members.”

According to the list released by Tinio, CHED’s focal persons include Director for Student Development and Services Isabel Inlayo, three of her staff, and its 16 regional directors.  Also assigned as contact persons are DOLE’s regional directors (for district representatives) and Nenita Garcia, the Director of Financial Management Service (for party-list representatives).  As for DOH, hospital staff are assigned to accommodate solons’ referred beneficiaries for each of the 136 DOH-retained and specialty hospitals covered by the MAP.  Added Tinio: “These hospital personnel report to DOH Undersecretary Janette Garin, who is in charge of the medical assistance pork, officially known as the Medical Health Care Assistance Program (MCAP), and later renamed as the Medical Assistance Program (MAP).” (Please see attached list.)

Tinio denounced President Aquino for forcing these civil servants to take part in unconstitutional and illegal acts.  ”For the sake of maintaining the system of political patronage, Aquino is suborning these employees to commit acts already declared illegal by the Supreme Court.”

The list is one of the pieces of evidence attached to the fourth impeachment complaint which Tinio filed against Aquino on August 11 along with 15 other complainants including National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera and leaders of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.  The House leadership refused to refer it to the Justice Committee along with three other valid complaints on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

Also included as evidence is the audio recording of a closed-door meeting held by the House Committee on Appropriations where CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said “I know it [referral of scholars by solons] was supposed to be illegal, dapat wala na but actually meron pa” and “I am also dealing and accepting the political reality that this is PDAF.”  Another recording is of a meeting between Undersecretary Garin and several House members and their staff where the former assured the latter that “the decision of the Department is to do away with all walk-in patients because in the first place it was made clear to us that these funds are not DOH funds but are actually funds of Congressmen who are there to assist their constituents.”

“It is obvious that both the President and Congress cannot be trusted to respect and obey the law against pork barrel,” said Tinio.  “The Supreme Court already declared as illegal pork the PDAF and any scheme like it where the President dangles funds as a carrot and stick to control Congress. President Aquino is lying to the people and committing illegal acts.”

“It is now up to the people to themselves enact a law that will criminalize the inclusion and approval of discretionary lump sum funds like PDAF and DAP in the national budget.  This is the very reason why thousands of Filipinos today converge here at Luneta—to sign up for the genuine abolition of the pork barrel system.  We want to put an end to a system that allows public funds to be used as though they were the personal funds of public officials.”

One year after it hosted the historic Million People’s March, Luneta will again serve as an anti-pork site, this time for Stand Up, Sign Up!, an activity held by the People’s Initiative Against Pork (PIAP) to gather signatures for the proposed law entitled “An Act Abolishing the Pork Barrel System.”  If enacted, the people’s initiative bill will criminalize the proposal and approval in any budget law of any form of pork barrel funds.  ###