President Duterte Signs ₱4.1 trillion 2020 National Budget

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ACTThe national budget for 2020 has been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday. The General Appropriations Act of 2020 is ₱4.1 trillion, 9 percent higher than the previous year’s 3.76 trillion budget. The budget wasn’t signed at the end of 2019 because the President requested “thorough” scrutiny of the bill. President Duterte said in his speech that this year’s spending plan would support the government’s goal of making the Philippines an upper bracket-income country, and lowering poverty to 14 percent by the end of his term. He remarked that just like in previous years, the government will continue to allocate a great portion of the national budget for infrastructure development and social services – programs that will directly touch the lives of our people. The top 10 appropriations of the budget are as follows:

  1. Education (DepEd, SUCs, CHED, TESDA) – ₱654.6 billion
  2. Department of Public Works and Highways – ₱580.8 billion
  3. Department of Interior and Local Government – ₱239.8 billion
  4. Department of National Defense – ₱191.7 billion
  5. Department of Social Welfare and Development – ₱163.8 billion
  6. Department of Health – ₱101 billion
  7. Department of Transportation – ₱99.3 billion
  8. Department of Agriculture – ₱62.2 billion
  9. Judiciary – ₱40.1 billion
  10. Department of Environment and Natural Resources – ₱25.5 billion

Education and social services are two key sectors that are most important to the presidents, thus given priority in the 2020 GAA. Social pension for senior citizens of ₱6,000 annually is also retained in the 2020 budget. Meanwhile, the GAA also ensures that healthcare professionals will continue to be deployed in different communities around the country who are in need of their services, under its Deployment of Human Resources for Health Program, according to Senator Juan Edgardo Angara.

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The world's largest trade deal ?

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ASEAN 2019BANGKOK, Thailand – Southeast Asian leaders met Saturday, November 2, in Thailand eyeing a breakthrough in talks over the world's largest trade deal to help throw off the torpor which has gripped the global economy since the start of the US-China tariff war. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) opened their annual summit in Bangkok hoping to secure a China-backed free trade pact knitting together half of the world's population and around 40 percent of its commerce. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a deal spanning India to New Zealand and wrangled over for several years

House Bill No 4157 - 2nd tax reform package

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2nd tax reform'We really must consider the alternative transport channel, as it…will give citizens from all walks of life an avenue for safe and easy mobility,' says Senator Zubiri. The bill that seeks to lower the income tax of companies and rationalize tax perks has successfully hurdled the House of Representatives. On Friday, September 13, lawmakers voted 170-8-6 in favor of House Bill (HB) No. 4157 or the proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentive Rationalization Act (Citira) on 3rd and final reading. Citira is the renamed version of the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities bill that the House had passed in the previous 17th Congress. The Trabaho bill, however, ran out of time in the Senate and had to be refiled in the 18th Congress. Among those who voted no to the Citira bill was Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman who said the measure is a “classic example of how skewed the Philippine tax system is against the poor.” “To deodorize Citira’s inequitable partiality to the rich, it is propagandized that Citira would purportedly generate employment and attract investments. These are overstated, and even contrived,” said the opposition lawmaker in explaining his no vote. The measure is the second tranche of the Duterte administration's Comprehensive Tax Reform Program.