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[ 13 Feb 2015 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

13 February 2015

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

House author urges immediate issuance of rules for law exempting bonuses from tax

The principal author of the bill exempting bonuses from tax has lauded its signing into law by President Aquino and called for its immediate implementation.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, principal author of Republic Act 10653 in the House of Representatives, urged the Aquino administration, through its finance and tax chiefs, to immediately issue implementing rules for the new law, which increases the ceiling on tax-exempt bonuses from P30,000 to P82,000.

Tinio said that its benefits need to be felt by the people, especially low- and middle-income earners, as soon as possible.  He explained that the law will  “enable lower- and middle-income earners to take home to their families more of their hard-earned money.”

“We hope that the Department of Finance will not drag its feet in issuing the implementing rules,” said Tinio, noting that the DOF and Bureau of Internal Revenue had vehemently opposed the measure.

“The DOF and BIR should no longer complain about revenue loss.  There will be no revenue loss in the long run because we’ll only be giving the people more of the income that they rightfully earn, and in turn, they will have more to spend for their families.  Greater spending power for the majority of the people will be good for the economy as a whole.” #

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[ 4 Feb 2015 | No Comment ]

PRIVILEGE SPEECH

REP. ANTONIO L. TINIO

ON THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN WAR AND US AGGRESSION AND INTERVENTION

4 FEBRUARY 2015

 

One hundred and sixteen years ago today, the Filipino people began their revolutionary struggle against US imperialism with the outbreak of the Filipino-American War.  On February 4, 1899, patrolling American troops in Sociego Street, Sta. Mesa, Manila provoked the formal start of hostilities by firing at Filipino soldiers, thus stealing the independence hard-won, after three centuries under Spanish colonial rule, by Filipinos led by the revolutionary Katipunan.

The years spanning the Filipino-American War are one of the most terrible stretches of time in our history, but also one that bore witness to the burning and defiant patriotism that drove the masses to continue fighting for their independence despite overwhelming odds—a patriotism still burning to this day.

Some historical treatises estimate that over 5,000 battles raged across the country in the duration of the Filipino-American War.  American official estimates after only two years of fighting stood at 600,000 Filipino casualties in Luzon alone.  Two years later, this count reached nearly a million Filipinos dead due to combat and the after-effects of the Americans’ deliberate strategy of dislocation and destruction.  Only 15,000 to 20,000 of these casualties were combatants.

In other words, American aggression over a century ago killed more Filipinos in just the first three years of their war of conquest and occupation than in the preceding three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.  It murdered over 15% of the population of eight million in just the first five years.

Hundreds of thousands more would be killed in subsequent battles and as a result of the waves of “pacification campaigns” in Luzon and the Visayas from 1904 onwards.  A further 100,000 of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao would be killed in their resistance from 1903 to 1913.

I could go on and list the atrocities committed against the Filipino people during the 17 years of the Filipino-American War just to elaborate the depth of the barbarity of American occupation and to illustrate how far US imperialism went to crush the nationalist resolve of Filipinos.  But the massacres ordered by military and civilian officials on Filipino guerillas and non-combatants alike, the water cure, reconcentration, and scorched earth tactics, and such other war crimes are all well-documented, even by US congressional records.

Consequently, its accountability for reparation to the Filipino people, which covers apology, acknowledgment of the facts, and acceptance of responsibility, is well-grounded under international law.

I have filed House Resolution 130 in this Congress demanding from the US government an apology for the atrocities committed by its military forces against the Filipino people during the Filipino-American War and the imposition of US colonial rule.  It cites the urgency and necessity for such acknowledgment in light of the Aquino administration’s initiatives to expand the presence of US military forces and facilities on Philippine soil.

I also filed House Bill 448 which seeks to declare today, February 4, as a special working holiday commemorating the “Philippine-American War Day” or “Araw ng Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano.”  I noted there that “remembrance of the patriotism and self-sacrifice of our heroes and martyrs will reconcile us with our past, clarify our present, and point our way to the future.”

We honor today the Filipino patriotism, struggle, and resilience against American aggression, not just during the long years of the Filipino-American War but also thereafter.  Our history teaches us that American imperialism, which was bent during the 19th century on expanding its economic and military might by dominating the territorial spoils of Spain, has never left our land even after it “ended” its occupation.  It has persisted until now, and even seeks to further entrench itself in the name of political, military, and economic positioning and domination.  We see this in the Aquino administration’s agreement known as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.  We see this even now in the hand of the US military in the Mamasapano operation.

But history also teaches us—as in any war, those who deem themselves oppressed and dominated, especially a people with a revolutionary legacy such as ours, will not lay idly down, but will definitely fight back.

I give this speech to commemorate our ancestors who fought gallantly, heroically over a century ago for Philippine independence, for a truly independent Filipino nation against US imperialism.  We owe to their memory to keep the struggle for genuine independence alive.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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[ 29 Jan 2015 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

29 January 2015

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

Solon warns Aquino not to veto bill on tax-free bonuses

The principal author in the Lower House of a bill Congress approved last year seeking to raise the tax exemption cap for 13th month pay and other bonuses warns President Aquino not to veto it, or he will face the anger of around 43 million workers in the private and public sector.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio revealed that upon his inquiries, the bill that would increase tax-exempt bonuses to P82,000, or nearly three times from the current P30,000, has been pending as early as January 14 with the Office of the President, who referred it to its legal department “for further study.”

The Department of Finance (DOF) is reportedly urging the President to veto the measure, and proposes instead a lower tax exemption ceiling of P55,000 through an administrative order.

“All working people want some relief from unconscionably high personal income taxes. They are eagerly awaiting enactment of this bill into law as soon as possible.  A Presidential veto will deny the majority of Filipinos, who are mostly low- and middle-income earners, the higher take-home pay that they so justly deserve and need,” maintained Tinio.

Tinio noted that the fact that Pres. Aquino is entertaining the thought of vetoing this drastically needed measure, approved unanimously both by the House of Representatives and the Senate, shows that he is really against any measure of economic relief for the people.  “Maa-isolate talaga siya mula sa taumbayan bilang isang pangulong anti-mamamayan kung babaliwalain niya ang bill na ito.”

“A veto would send a strong signal to ordinary working people and their files that the Aquino administration has little regard for their welfare. On the other hand, it has no qualms about using taxpayers’ funds to subsidize the private profits of the big foreign and local corporations through public-private partnerships, tax holidays, and other incentives,” added Tinio.

He noted the widespread resentment among teachers and other government employees at the taxes imposed on their year-end bonus and productivity incentive last December. “Mabubugbog siya sa batikos kung hindi niya isasabatas ito,” warned Tinio.

Tinio noted that a veto on the tax-exemption bill will result in a Teacher I or Administrative Aide (a mid-level earnings of P18,549 monthly and the minimum salary level of P9,000, respectively) not being able to take home the full amount of his or her bonuses because at least one-fourth of these will exceed the P30,000 cap and be added to their taxable pay.  A higher taxable pay will mean higher income taxes and less take-home pay for the employee or worker.

Tinio also questioned the DOF proposal to raise the tax ceiling to P55,000 through an administrative order in lieu of the enactment of the measure.

The new ceiling set by the bill was based on computations on the value of P30,000 today.

“Based on the movement of the CPI [Consumer Price Index] with 2006 as the base year, the P30,000 ceiling first set in 1994 should now be P82,000,” said Tinio. “The DOF proposal falls far short and will continue to unjustly burden workers.”

The legislator also cited a study by the UP School of Economics, which said that “Revenue foregone as a result of improved equity comes at a small price between ₱4.3 billion and ₱5.6 billion.”

In the event that the President decides to veto the measure, Tinio vowed that he would urge colleagues  to overturn it. “Congress must take a stand and side with working people.” ###

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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.