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[ 4 Dec 2012 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

4 December 2012

ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio filed a bill proposing to increase the non-taxable incomes of employees in the public and private sectors.

If passed into law, HB 6723 will increase the basic personal exemption (BPE) from P50,000 to P75,000 and the additional exemption (AE) from P25,000 to P40,000 per dependent, usually the taxpayers’ children below 21 years old. The BPE and AE are portions of the income that may not be taxed by the government.

Tinio noted that the income tax exemptions have not kept up with increases in the cost of living as well as rising wage and salary levels in the private and public sector since they were last set in 2008 through Republic Act 9504. He explained that in 2008, the basic personal exemption of P50,000 was 68% of the annual salary of the lowest-paid government employee (Salary Grade 1 at P6,149 per month), 33% of that of a middle-level government employee (Salary Grade 11, P12,748 per month), and 6% of that of the Philippine President (Salary Grade 33, P69,878 per month).  It was 42% of the annual basic pay of the minimum wage earner in the private sector in the National Capital Region (P382 per day).

The basic personal exemption now stands at 46% of the annual salary of the lowest-paid government employee (Salary Grade 1 at P9,000 per month), 22% of that of a middle-level government employee (Salary Grade 11 at P18,549 per month), 3% of that of the President (Salary Grade 33 at P120,000 per month), and 35% of that of the minimum wage earner (P11,780 per month). “In short, fixed-income earners are now enjoying proportionally less exemptions and are burdened with a heavier income tax,” said Tinio.

“This is a step towards making our tax laws more progressive and equitable to the economic conditions of majority of the income taxpayers,” said Tinio. “Congress should mould a tax law under which income earners from the lowest strata, especially purely compensation income earners, are taxed less and given more opportunities to lower their taxable incomes. This is the clamor of teachers, employees, and low-income workers.”

“As our tax law stands,” Tinio added, “they have minimal chances of reducing their taxable incomes. Most of the allowable exemptions are fully enjoyed exclusively by corporate taxpayers.”

HB 6723 also proposes to oblige the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to annually review the BPE and AE in relation to current living costs and recommend to Congress necessary adjustments.

Tinio urges the House leadership and President Aquino to seriously consider enacting HB 6723, especially in light of the coming holidays. #

 

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[ 1 Dec 2012 | No Comment ]

By Fat Reyes
INQUIRER.net
2:23 pm | Thursday, November 29th, 2012
4 903 486

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday announced it had so far allowed 79 partylist groups to participate in next year’s mid-term polls.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr, in a press conference, released the list of approved groups.
Of the 79 groups approved, 58 were retained, existing party-lists, while 21 were new groups granted accreditation.
Brillantes said that even though almost half of the 115 existing party-lists were retained and only 21 of the 165 new applicants were granted, he was still not satisfied with the purging of the poll body.
“I am not satisfied. If you’re going to ask me, ako mismo, gusto ko na sanang in-abolish na lahat ‘yan para wala nang eleksyon sa party list. Para magbago na tayo, at mag-umpisa na naman tayo ng panibagong batas na maganda,” Brillantes said.
(I want all of them abolished so that there will be no more elections for partylists. It’s time for us to seek change and start with a better system.)
The Comelec has been undergoing a re-evaluation of old and new partylist groups as part of its efforts to cleanse the partylist system, which has been criticized as being exploited by bogus organizations or by groups whose nominees were either multimillionaires, former government officials or members of powerful political clans.
Brillantes admitted that the members of the en banc “tried their best” but that one could not come up with any perfect listing. He further noted that commissioners voted individually in the cases and that there were inconsistencies among them.
Brillantes added that members of the en-banc were still discussing the accreditation of five other partylist groups and the announcement of decisions would be made on Monday.
The following is the full list of the groups approved by the poll body
I. In unanimous votes, the Comelec retained the accreditation of the following groups:
ATM – Abante Tribung Makabansa
Act Teachers – Act Teachers Party-List
A Teacher – Advocacy for Teacher Empowerment Through Action, Cooperation, and Harmony Towards Educational Reforms
Agila – Agila ng Katutubong Pilipino Inc
Alagad
AFPSEGCO – Alliance for Philippine Security Guards Cooperative
Ave – Alliance of Volunteer Educators Party-List
Allumad – Alyansa Lumad Mindanao Inc
Agham – Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan Inc
Amin – Anak Mindanao Party-List
Anakpawis
Ang Ladlad
Angkla – Ang Partido ng mga Pilipinong Marino Inc
Gabriela – Gabriela Women’s Party
KLBP – Kababaihang Lingkod Bayan sa Pilipinas
Kabataan Party-List
Kaakbay – Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan All Filipino Democratic Movement
Katribu – Katribu Indigenous Peoples Sectoral Party
1-Sagip – Social Amelioration and Genuine Intervention on Poverty
TUCP – Trade Union Congress Party
II. Existing party-lists that were retained with dissent were:
1BAP – 1 Banat and Ahapo Party-List Coalition
Abakada – Abakada-Guro
Abante Ka – Abante Katutubo Inc
Abamin – Abante Mindanao
Abono Party-List
Adam – Adhikain ng mga Dakilang Anak Maharlika
Ating Koop – Adhikaing Tinataguyod ng Kooperatiba
Agbiag – Agbiag Timpuyog Ilocano Inc
Ada – Agrarian Development Association
Agap – Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines
Akapbata Inc – Akapbata Sectoral Organization for Children Inc
Akbayan – Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party
Ako – Ako Ayoko sa Bawal na Droga
Alay Buhay – Alay Buhay Community Development Foundation Inc
AMS – Alyansa ng Media at Showbiz
Alyansa ng OFW Party
Aba – Alyansang Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang Bukid, at Mangingisda
An Waray
Aambis-Owa – Ang Asosasyon Sang Mangunguma Nga Bisaya-Owa Mangunguma Inc
Alif – Ang Laban ng Indiginong Filipino
Ama – Ang Mata’y Alagaan
Ang NCIP – Ang National Coalition of Indigenous Peoples Action Na
ABS – Arts Business and Science Professionals
Ale – Association of Laborers and Employees
BH – Bagong Henerasyon
Bayan Muna
Buhay – Buhay Hayaan Yumabong
Cibac – Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption
Coop Natcco – Cooperative Natcco Network Party
Diwa – Democratic Independent Workers’ Association Inc
Kalinga
Ang Kasangga – Kasangga sa Kaunlaran Inc
AA Kasosyo – Kasosyo Producer
LPGMA – LPG Marketers Association Inc
PBA – Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta
1 Ang Pamilya – Una ang Pamilya Party-List
VFP – Veterans Freedom Party
Yacap – You Against Corruption and Poverty
III. New applicants that were accredited with unanimous votes were:
AMA – Aagapay sa Matatanda
Ang Nars
Aasenso – Ating Agapay Sentrong Samahan ng mga Obrero Inc
PWD – Pilipinos with Disabilities
Piston – Piston Land Transport Coalition Inc
IV. New applicants that were accredited but with dissenting votes were:
1JAMG – 1 Joint Alliance of Marginalized Group Inc
1-AAMOVER – A Action Moral & Values Recovery Reform Philippines Inc
Abante Retirees – Abante Retirees Party-List Organization
Ading – Advance Community Development in New Generation
Ang Prolife
ACT-CIS – Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support Inc
Append Inc
Amor Seaman – Association of Marine Officer and Ratings Inc
1-Aalalay – Isang Alyansang Aalalay sa Pinoy
1-Lambat – Isang Lapian ng Mangingisda at Bayan Tungo sa Kaunlaran
1-Pabahay – Isang Pangarap ng Bahay sa Bagong Buhay ng Maralitang Kababayan Inc
Magdalo – Magdalo para sa Pilipino
MTM Phils – Mamamayan Tungo sa Maunlad na Pilipinas
Migrante – Migrante Sectoral Party of Overseas Filipinos and their Families
OFW Family Club Inc
Umalab Ka – Ugnayan ng Maralita Laban sa Kahirapan
Brillantes said the poll body had also cancelled the accreditation of two incumbent partylists 1-UTAK (United Transport Koalisyon), a group which claimed to represent the transport sector; and Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc, a group which claimed to represent the elderly.
The accreditation of 1st Kabalikat ng Bayan Ginhawang Sangkatauhan (1st Kabagis),an existing partylist, had also been cancelled by the poll body.
Brillantes said the Senior Citizens partylist group was disqualified because its nominees went into an illegal term sharing arrangement.
“Ang final debate namin kanina (Earlier in our final debate), because they entered into an illegal term sharing arrangement. Hinati hati nila ‘yung term (They split the term). It’s an illegal act,” Brillantes said.
He added that the poll body also denied the application of the group ALONA party-list, whose nominees include family members of House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, for next year’s party-list race.

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[ 29 Nov 2012 | No Comment ]

By

12:46 am | Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

A municipal official and a lawmaker disclosed Monday that they were battling red tape in their effort to build a schoolhouse in Kalayaan Islands in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as China insisted the Philippines’ territorial claims in those waters were based on an erroneous interpretation of the international law of the sea.

A Chinese national newspaper has called President Aquino “rude” for pressing for the “internationalization” of the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea at the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, last week.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. urged Malacañang to expedite the release of funds for the construction of a two-classroom school building on Pag-asa Island, the largest in the Kalayaan Group, to solidify the Philippine claim to that part of the Spratlys archipelago.

Rep. Antonio Tinio of Act Teachers  was also at the news conference and he said he set aside P4.3 million from his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) to help finance the construction of the proposed Pag-asa Island Elementary School.

The PDAF is a pork barrel that channels funds to congressional districts for project development.

Real schoolhouse

Bito-onon opened a single-classroom elementary school on Pag-asa in June. He built it from materials he had scrounged from the area to give the island its first learning center for children.

But his dream, he said, is a real schoolhouse for the small community on the island. The schoolhouse must be built to specifications laid down by the Department of Education, including at least two classrooms and toilets.

Tinio came to the island’s aid, proposing to finance the construction of a real schoolhouse from his pork barrel allocation.

But the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is taking too long in approving Tinio’s proposal and releasing the funds.

Bito-onon called on Malacañang to speed up the release of the funds.

“If the project of Congressman Tinio pushes through, it will be a big help for us,”

Bito-onon said. “That will set a landmark for the history of Kalayaan. I’d like to make it a centerpiece program,” he said.

Tinio said the construction of the schoolhouse would be significant amid tensions between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.

He called on the Palace and the DBM to release the funds immediately so that the construction of the schoolhouse could begin.

Sovereignty

“It’s not just a symbolic action, certainly it’s not a military action,” Tinio said. “But by building a [schoolhouse] in Kalayaan, we are showing the world that the government of the Philippines exercises actual, real sovereignty over citizens in the Spratlys,” he added.

Pag-asa is the only inhabited island in the Kalayaan Group, located 684 kilometers west of the southern end of Palawan province.

The island has a population of about 300, 100 of them soldiers.

Bito-onon said there were only seven schoolchildren on the island—six in kindergarten and one in Grade 1.

But more children could be taken to the island to study there once a schoolhouse is built, he said.

At present, he explained, people on the island entrust the education of their children to relatives in other provinces where there are schools.

But once a real schoolhouse opens on Pag-asa, those children can be taken back to study right on the island, he said.

Pag-asa has a 1.3-km airstrip used by both the military and civilians. Bito-onon said the island could be developed into a tourism and fishery hub.

China angry

That will surely raise the hackles of China, which warned the Philippines in June not to proceed with the opening of the makeshift schoolhouse on Pag-asa, but was ignored.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao got into an exchange with Southeast Asian leaders during last week’s Asean-China Summit in Phnom Penh over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea and the East Sea.

China got a boost from ally Cambodia, which tried to picture the Asean summit as agreeing not to “internationalize” the disputes, but President Aquino intervened, publicly rebuking Cambodian Premier Hun Sen for the attempt.

Mr. Aquino stated that Asean leaders had no agreement not to “internationalize” the territorial disputes and that the Philippines would press ahead with its search for a resolution of its dispute with China in accordance with international law.

Countering Mr. Aquino’s pronouncements in Phnom Penh, China on Monday said the Philippines’ claim to Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) was based on a “misinterpretation” of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

In a statement issued Monday, the Chinese Embassy in Manila cited the China National Institute for South China Sea Studies’ analysis debunking the Philippines’ claim to Panatag Shoal based on the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) provision of Unclos.

The institute reiterated China’s historical ownership of the shoal, known to the Chinese as Huangyan Island.

“Clearly, the Philippines here has misinterpreted and misapplied Unclos on the basis of its own interests, which is contrary to international law and to Unclos,” the statement said.

“It has been an established basic principle of international law that ‘the land dominates the sea.’ Coastal states derive their sovereign rights and jurisdiction over EEZs from their territorial sovereignty. Hence, Unclos cannot serve as a basis for a country to claim sovereignty over China’s Huangyan Island,” the statement said.

Aquino ‘rude’

China Daily criticized President Aquino for insisting on drawing other countries into discussions of the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea and East Sea, a reference to the United States.

“[I]t was very rude of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to interrupt and rebuke Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, alleging that no such consensus had been reached and he would continue to speak out on the global stage,” the paper said in an editorial, titled “A rude Manila helps no one,” published on Friday.

“Aquino’s undiplomatic move was ill-advised, and will not help solve the issue in peace,” the paper said.

The paper also criticized the Philippines’ for inviting claimants Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam to four-way talks on the disputes in Manila next month.

DFA replies

Responding to the Chinese Embassy statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) insisted the Philippines’ sovereignty over Panatag Shoal was based on the EEZ provision of Unclos.

“The Philippines has sovereignty over [Panatag Shoal] on the basis of effective occupation and effective jurisdiction,” DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said.

“Philippine sovereign rights over the EEZ and continental shelf of [the shoal] are government by Unclos,” he said.

Hernandez reiterated the Philippines’ call to China to “respect the territory of maritime domain” of the Philippines.

Echoing a statement by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Hernandez described China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, an “excessive declaration of maritime space in violation of international law.”

 

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[ 15 Nov 2012 | No Comment ]


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


ACT Teachers Party-List Antonio Tinio demanded the immediate release of Mrs. Lanie Latuga, a teacher of Dumagat children, and five others arrested in Rodriguez, Rizal, currently detained in an undisclosed military location.  Saying that human rights abuses continue despite AFP claims to the contrary, he strongly condemned the illegal arrest and detention of the six.

The civilians are still missing six days after their arrest by elements of the 16th and 59th Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army (PA) in Sitio Uron, Puray.  They were near the site of an encounter between the PA and New People’s Army (NPA) on November 7 when the soldiers arrested them upon the suspicion that they are NPA members or supporters.  Army officials have yet to issue an official statement on the abduction, nor have they revealed where the six, who are mostly women, are being kept.

“Teacher Lanie and her companions are the newest victims of a military establishment which—per the skewed, inhumane logic of Oplan Bayanihan—does not distinguish between combatants and civilians,” said Tinio.  “That they were arrested for being near the site of an encounter proves that there are more Palparans still running loose, victimizing militarized communities, unchecked by the AFP.”

Tinio called on officials of the 16th and 59th IB to surface the six and urgently demanded accountability from those responsible, noting that said units are notorious among the residents of their places of assignment for being human rights violators.

On October 16, 2011, three members of the 16th IB invited three girls into their camp in Rizal.  The minors testified that the soldiers drugged and abused them, and raped “Mutya,” 17.  On June 22 this year, elements of the 59th and 74th IB approached farmer Eduardo Dela Peña while he was tending his farm, punched and pointed a gun at him after accusing him of being a member of the NPA.  He and his family were forced to flee from their home due to continued harassment from the military.