Wednesday, March 23, 2011
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 24, 2011-In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, Senator Edgardo J. Angara has filed Senate bill number 2755 otherwise known as “The Investments and Incentives Code of the Philippines” that aims to rationalize fiscal incentives awarded to enterprises, stressing the need to put our fiscal house in order.
Angara said that the bill will harmonize the country's existing incentive system which is presently provided under different laws with differing provisions, saying that the disparate incentive offerings has regrettably created competition among various economic zones vying for limited investments that flow into the country. The Philippines' foreign direct investment in 2009 totaled $1.948 billion, which is far lower than what our neighbors in the region receive.
“Unequal incentive regimes have fostered unnecessary rivalry among our own ecozones, when they should be working together to build up our total investment portfolio,” Angara said, adding that the incentives we give investors must be clearly defined and comparable across the board, otherwise we risk putting off potential investors instead of attracting them.
“There is a need to ensure that our incentives remain competitive with those of our Asian neighbors,” Angara said, explaining that the bill will help spur development in the countryside and other underdeveloped areas by granting tax incentives to investors who would locate in our poorest provinces.
The said bill will promote export-oriented enterprises, whether these are located inside or outside economic zones and will ensure that progress will be as equitable as possible.
Angara added that the bill will reform institutions primarily the Board of Investments that grant incentives by clarifying their mandates and enhancing their capacity to monitor and to implement the incentive system, saying that this is the right time to pass this urgent fiscal reform measure.
“The Congress has been considering this bill for so long and I am hoping that my colleague in the Senate would support this bill for its immediate passage,” Angara said. (Jason de Asis)
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 24, 2011-Senator Manny Villar offers “Libreng Tawag" project of the OFW Helpline for those who are in need around the world where the toll free overseas calls project will last for one month and would be coursed through the Bantay OFW radio program of Toots Ople aired live over DZXL-RMN Manila every Monday to Friday and will run until April 23.
Villar said that the public who are worried about their loved ones abroad especially those in troubled areas around the world, can be reunited on air through the "Libreng Tawag” project centered on the welfare of OFWs all over the globe, adding that the free telephone calls would give families the chance to be briefly reunited with their loved ones who are working in different parts of the world.
“Relatives or families wishing to contact by overseas telephone call their loved ones abroad will just have to visit the RMN-DZXL station at the fourth floor of Guadalupe Commercial Complex in Guadalupe, Edsa, Makati City from 9am to 12 noon,” Villar said.
“The project is for the benefit of relatives especially those who are in countries gripped by unrest like Middle East and North Africa and of natural tragedies like Japan and New Zealand, Villar said, adding that the project is part of the Senator’s crusade to help our countrymen abroad who are experiencing crisis and tragedy so that they can share their situation in their love ones who are in the Philippines.
“Until now since pro-democracy movements erupted in the Arab world, some families of OFWs who are based in the Middle East and in North Africa's Libya have remained clueless on the true whereabouts of their loved ones,” Villar stressed, saying that there are still families who have not contacted their relatives in the aftermath of the killer quakes that rocked New Zealand and Japan, which are being compounded by threats of possible nuclear radiation for Japan-based Filipinos.
He said that with the absence of communication lines that could be used to reach out to their relatives and vice-versa, the pain of not personally hearing the assuring voice of a loved one in a strife-torn nation becomes increasingly unbearable, pointing out that even if there are available communication lines, access is still a problem since applicable rates charged by international and local service providers are relatively high.
“This is where our Libreng Tawag project with the help of the radio program of Toots will seek to connect the two parties and possibly reunite them even for a moment via the airwaves,” Villar added.
“The precious phone minutes that a worried-sick family member would spend soliciting words of assurance from his beloved OFW relative would be enough to lessen the entire family's anxiety,” he furthered.
Villar also lauded RMN Manila and Ople, who also heads the Ople Policy Center, for co-spearheading the "Libreng Tawag" project. (Jason de Asis)
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 23, 2011-As the world is hit by one catastrophe after another, Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the citizenry that there is a need to always take care of Philippines natural rich resources along the thousands of miles of coastlines framing the abundant ecosystems in the sea.
Angara said that the Philippine waters are globally recognized as centers of marine biodiversity where its location as its geographic characteristics that is, being an archipelago, ensures an abundance of aquatic life.
He explained that to maximize the potential of such a rich marine ecosystem, there is a need to study and to try to understand how it works and a great opportunity to learn about the country’s untapped wealth.
Angara urged the senate to support his recent bill that seeks to establish the Aurora Marine Research and Development Institute (AMRDI) where Senate bill 2728 amends Republic Act 9441 to more clearly define the scope and mandate of the AMRDI.
The bill stated that the AMRDI is tasked to create a database containing valuable data on the biodiversity, habitat, abundance, and overall status of the province’s marine resources where Aurora province will be instrumental in studying, documenting and ultimately, protecting the country’s aquatic wealth through AMRDI.
The University of the Philippines Marine Science institute will supervise the AMRDI, while the Aurora State College of Technology will be in charge of locally implementing the academic and technical aspects of the bill under its provisions.
Angara said that the corner stone of the country’s progress is our natural resources and there is a need to protect and conserve them. (Jason de Asis)
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, March 23, 2011-During the second hearing of the Senate Committee on Climate Change on the government’s disaster preparedness, Senator Loren Legarda urged the national government, the Local Government Units (LGU), the private sector and the citizenry to ensure that the country is ready to prevent hazards from turning into devastating disasters, saying that disaster risk reduction is everybody’s business and concern thus we all have to work together facing it.
Legarda reiterated the importance of a strong partnership between the government and the private sector in strengthening the country’s disaster preparedness and resilience, stressing that while the government is putting in places various disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures, the private sector should take the initiative of doing its share in such effort.
She explained that the government is mandated to ensure the security and welfare of the state’s citizens; it cannot do such a gargantuan task alone, saying that both the public and private sectors must ensure the public’s safety in case of earthquakes and other disaster.
The senator said that good urban governance is the key to earthquake safety that’s why the governments must relentlessly assess and rectify the vulnerability of public structures in their respective areas. “There is a need that the administrators of office buildings and malls to ensure safety in their premises and have contingency plans well in place and tested for preventing panic and stampede and handling the injured in the event of an earthquake.
“Both sectors must be united in coming up with an effective and widespread information campaign on disaster preparedness and must develop strategies that would help people understand natural hazards, identify the signs of an impending danger, and know what to do when disasters occur,” she said, pointing out that it is not enough that the government as an institution is prepared because no matter how up-to-date or high-tech the disaster prevention mechanisms are, they would not be effective if the public remains uninformed or misinformed of what they have to do during disasters.
“The national agencies like the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Philippine Institute of Vulcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) need the help of local government units and the private sector in providing timely and accurate information to the people,” she said, adding that there is a need for the regular conduct of fire and earthquake drills in schools, hospitals, malls, office buildings, condominium units and other establishments to make sure that the public are provided with the necessary information in dealing with disasters. (Jason de Asis)
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