20 December 2016
Balikbayan box tax free up to P150,000

A welcome news and fitting gift to the country’s Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) this holiday season: Starting December 25, balikbayan boxes with values not exceeding P150,000 will be exempted from paying duties and taxes.

The good news was announced by Bureau of Customs spokesperson Col. Neil Anthony Estrella at a press briefing in Malacañan Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Bureau of Customs Administrative Order 05-2016 lifts taxes on balikbayan boxes for qualified Filipinos while abroad, including Filipino citizens who are residing abroad and Filipinos who are holders of student, investors, and tourist visas.

To be covered by this ruling, balikbayan boxes shall contain personal and household effects only, and content should not be in commercial quantities or intended for sale.

Also, the availment of this privilege is limited to a maximum of three times per calendar year.

At the same press briefing, Estrella also announced the Bureau’s heightened alert against the smuggling of goods in the country.

“Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon has issued a memorandum to remind all officials and personnel to keep a tight watch on the entry of illegal finished firecrackers, fireworks, and other pyrotechnic devices in the country,” said Estrella.

The only exemption which is allowed by law is the importation of ingredients used in manufacturing fireworks.

Menwhile, Estrella announced that the Bureau of Customs has already collected P19.947 billion which is 57% of the P35.116 billion assessed target for the last month of the year.

The Bureau expects to achieve a good revenue collection performance this month similar to November, when BOC exceeded its target revenue collection by more than P3 billion.

“Given this improvement, BOC is already at 93.3% of the P409 billion assessed target for the whole year,” said Estrella.

At the same press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President is very transparent when it comes to the state of his health.

“The President’s health is very transparent. You know, like people ask should we have a medical bulletin? But I think he’s so transparent about himself,” Abella said.

The  President’s Spokesperson also said that despite his hectic schedule and long working hours, the President is in good health.###PND

Duterte makes pitch for Minda development
President Rodrigo Duterte attended Go Negosyo’s Christmas Townhall with the President on Monday aimed at rallying support for development efforts in Sulu.In his message, the President reiterated his campaign pledge to fight corruption, drugs and criminality.

On the economic side, the President said he wants to leave it to the economic managers to create the environment where businesses can thrive peacefully 
with the least intervention of government.

Duterte said that during the election campaign, he was dismayed that no candidate talked about Mindanao.

If Mindanao is not handled very carefully, the Philippines will end up being dismembered.

The President told businessmen that he is negotiating with Nur Misuari and with the MILF.

“I hope, I said that before the year ends, something concrete and positive will come out,” the President said.

“And ito ang gusto kong sabihin sa bayan: You have to heed us people, guys from Mindanao because we are telling you the truth, you have to really transform this country.”

The President renewed his initiative with business leaders to push for federalism in the country.

The fact that the Muslims are willing to go federal means that they will accept control of the national government, he noted.

In the spirit of Christmas, Go Negosyo through the KAPATID initiative started the Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu: Christmas Town hall with the President.

Sulu is part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

It’s population of 824,731 is predominantly Muslim Tausug with 125,564 concentrated in the capital Jolo City.

It is the base for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by Misuari.

However the military is largely pursuing the Abu Sayyaf Group in second district areas.

Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan in the province of Sulu is an initiative for the private sector to get involved in supplementing government efforts to establish peace and development in the area.

Among the members of the private sector that committed for Sulu’s development were the Manuel V. Pangilinan group, which pledged development in telecom, hospitals, and coconut mill industry.

San Miguel Corp. made a commitment to build a power plant and to reorganize Sulu’s school of arts and trade. It also promised to create a feed mill supply chain.

The National Book Store also committed to provide school supplies for at least 100,000 school kids in Sulu, while the Department of Agriculture will provide tractors, farm implements and agricultural training.

Other donors are Bounty Fresh Good, Inc., W Group, Kawad Kalinga, Lucio Tan Group, Kapatid Agri Group, and the federation of Filipino-Chinese businessmen.  ##PND

Duterte honors outstanding public servants
President Rodrigo Duterte led the conferment of awards to 15 individuals and four groups of exemplary public servants for the 2016 Search for Outstanding Government Workers on Monday, Dec. 19.

In his speech, the President said it is a virtue to sacrifice extra time for the service of their fellow men aside from their regular work hours.

“Those are the virtue that is not present in everybody’s soul, spirit,” he said.

The President talked about the problems being confronted by the country today such as terrorism, peace talks with rebel groups and war on drugs and criminality.

He also pushed for federalism in the country noting it is the only solution to Mindanao’s secessionist agenda.

The Civil Service Commission’s search for outstanding government workers is aimed at motivating and inspiring government employees to improve the quality of their performance and instill deeper involvement in public service.

The awards given were Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award conferred to an individual or group, the Outstanding Public Officials and Employees (Dangal ng Bayan) Award, and the CSC Pagasa Award.

The Lingkod ng Bayan awardees were Dr. Jose Bacusmo, Professor, Visayas State University, Baybay, Leyte; Dr. Mario Capanzana, Director IV, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, DOST; Aida Maniego, Teacher I, Malita South District, DepEd-Division, Davao del Sur; M/Sgt. Perfecto Perez, 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing, PAF, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; The Verdant Movers, Bala Elementary School, DepEd-Division, Davao Del Sur; Bayawan City Local Flood Early Warning and Rescue Team, City Government of Bayawan, Negros Oriental.

Listed as Dangal ng Bayan finalists were Nixon Aquino, light equipment operator, Don Mariano Marcos State University, Agoo, La Union; Wenceslao Caranguian, mechanical plant operator III, NFA, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; Lanie Castanares, municipal civil registrar, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao; Darwin Domingo, punong barangay, San Lorenzo, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte; Joselito Florendo, assistant professor, UP-Diliman, Quezon City; Rio Ador Gabaisen, Teacher I, Dapa Central School & SPED center, DepEd, Surigao del Norte; Sonia Ipang, Social Welfare Officer III, DSWD, Cagayan de Oro City; Abner Lawangen, Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer II, Tublay, Benguet; and Noel Polaron, Secondary School Principal III, Belison National School, DepEd-Division, Antique.

The CSC Pagasa finalists were Artemio Baylosis, General Manager B, Baliwag Water District, Baliwag, Bulacan; Ma. Corazon Rubio, Head Teacher I, Lucena City National High School, DepEd-Division, Lucena City, Quezon; Provincial Rice Program Implementing Team, Provincial Agricultural Office, Lingayen, Pangasinan; and The Synergist, Provincial Government of Bulacan.

Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardees receive P200,000, gold gilded medallion, presidential plaque citation, scholarship grant and other incentives.

Dangal ng Bayan awardees also get P200,000, a trophy designed by National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva, a scholarship grant, and other incentives. CSC Pagasa awardees, on the other hand, receive P100,000, gold gilded medallion, a plaque of citation, scholarship grant and other incentives.##PND

PH now safe, crime rate is significantly down

“The Philippines is now safer from theft, carnapping, robbery, physical injury, and rape.”

This is the statement of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar as the Philippine National Police (PNP) released figures showing index crime volume declined 25,673 to 55,391 in July-November 2016 period, from 81,064 a year ago.

Citing the said PNP report, Andanar said index crime rate went down to 31.67 percent in July to November this year as compared to the same period last year.

Index crimes are defined by the PNP as crimes against persons (such as murder, homicide, physical injury, and rape) and crimes against property (like robbery, theft, carnapping, and cattle rustling).

Data showed crimes against property posted a significant slide to 42.48 percent, while crimes against person dropped 12.25 percent.

Overall, crime incidents continued to decline across the country since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

PNP report showed crime volume had gone down 34,741 (12.44%) to 244,637 in July-November 2016 period as against 279,378 in the same period last year.

Secretary Andanar lauded the efforts of the PNP in fulfilling the election promise of President Duterte to solve rampant criminality.

“I am calling on the people to continue cooperating with the police to further bring down crime incidents in the country,” the Presidential Communications chief added.###MARO-CONTENT