Thursday, May 19, 2011

Angara calls for peaceful discussion on RH bill

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, May 20, 2011-In the ongoing debate on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill, Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged solons for a peaceful, calm and reasonable debate for the enlightenment of the citizenry in the measure that was filed in the Lower House and in the Senate.

Angara advised that they should continue with the dialogue instead of threatening each other, citing the same issue has gone through many Catholic countries, even more Catholic and devout countries as Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Italy but without this traumatic debate and name calling.
“Let's not mislead our people, if they are for it. They live in poverty and misery everyday so they need both their government and church. But let's not divide and fragment the nation just because of one single issue,” he said, saying that he is inclined to support the bill because of its provisions for maternal and child health however he is not in favor of abortion which he think is part of the bill.

“There is a need to inform the people respectively saying what this bill is all about, what measures the RH Bill is seeking so that each person has enough knowledge to make their own decisions on the matter,” Angara pointed out.

It could be remembered that the RH bill is pending in the 15th Philippine Congress. The measure was filed during the 8th congress during the time of Corazon Aquino Administration and has been refilled in the succeeding sessions that seeks to promote on a national level access to information and availability of natural and artificial contraception and to empower couples in responsible family planning through education and access to legal and medically safe birth control.

The bill is still in the midst of continues battle of the brain debate in the lower house and in the senate where it was strongly opposed mainly by the Roman Catholic Church, Pro-Life Philippines, National Coalition for Family and Life, Abay Pamilya and the Philippine Nurses Association. (Jason de Asis)

Trillanes calls for investigation on the BIRs delay of tax refund claims

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, May 20, 2011-To address the gaps in the rules and regulations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV has filed a resolution seeking for the investigation by the Senate Committee on Finance to look into complaints against the BIR for the alleged failure to act expeditiously on pending tax refund claims.

“Tax refund procedures are very tedious and cumbersome,” Trillanes lamented, saying that the process of claiming tax refund could take several months just for a revenue officer to be assigned to process the claim.

“The taxpayer will be subjected to a tax audit, a process which often leads to the filing of tax deficiency against the claimant after several reviews and documentation,” he said, explaining that instead of refunding the claims, the taxpayer is required to pay the tax deficiency before receiving the tax refund or tax credit.

“Numerous complaints from men in uniform as well as civilians where expressing dismay over BIR’s lengthy process of filing a claim. Worse, the bureau issues Tax Credit Certificates (TCCs) instead of paying cash to claimants entitled for refunds,” Trillanes cited.

He pointed out that this affects the morale of the Filipino soldiers and the citizenry where they feel that they are being cheated and short-changed by the government when it comes to money the government actually owes them.

Trillanes reminded the BIR about the Supreme Court opinion that if the State expects its taxpayers to observe fairness and honesty in paying their taxes, it must hold itself against the same standard in refunding excess or erroneous payments of such taxes, adding that they should not enrich itself at the expense of the taxpayers.

Trillanes advised that there is a need to balance states interest of maintaining its lifeblood through taxes against the contravening interest of the taxpayers claiming refund and should consider the values of fairness and justice. (Jason de Asis)


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