Monday, September 17, 2012

Legarda’s Lead in Pulse Asia Survey Inspires Her to Work Even Harder

MANILA, September 17, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today said that the result of the recent Pulse Asia Survey on senatorial preferences for the 2013 elections inspires her more to work even harder for the people.

The Pulse Asia Survey conducted from August 31 to September 7, 2012 showed Legarda gaining 67.3% senatorial preference, topping the list of senatorial candidates that people would vote for in the 2013 elections.

“I thank God and I thank the Filipino people. The result of the recent Pulse Asia Survey inspires me to work harder and do more especially for the poor and needy because people appreciate the work that I am doing,” Legarda said.

The Senator stressed that with several more months before the 2013 elections, she will continue championing her advocacies—promoting environment protection, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction; protecting the rights of women and children; providing better opportunities for the poor through viable rural livelihoods; and protecting the welfare of Filipino workers.

“Elections is still eight months away. My focus remains on the many legislative work and advocacy programs that would benefit our people. We should never be complacent, we must always work hard for the very people who have given us the chance to serve them,” Legarda concluded.


MANILA, September 17, 2012-Senator Edgardo J. Angara highlighted the need for comprehensive legislation covering the information and communication technology (ICT) sector during the IBM Think Forum last week.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, underscored the importance of having a standalone agency focused on the development of this sector.

"ICT is perhaps the most powerful technology in the world right now, making it vital in a developing nation like the Philippines," said the veteran lawmaker. 

"We must establish an independent department solely dedicated to the growth and progress of the ICT sector, if we want to transition effectively into the information era."

Angara is the main proponent of a measure that seeks to reorganize the communications-related agencies under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) into a separate Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The measure is pending approval before a bicameral conference committee, comprised of members from both the Senate and the House of Representatives. 

“The passage of the DICT Bill is the missing piece in our current ICT development agenda,” explained Angara, noting that two other ICT bills which he sponsored and filed have recently been signed into law.  

The Data Privacy Act (RA 10173) mandates public and private enterprises to protect all personal and confidential information exchanged during internet-based transactions.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act (RA 10175), on the other hand, penalizes internet-based offenses such as fraud, identity theft, hacking and phishing.  

Angara emphasized, “These two measures lay out the policy for how our netizens will be protected while they’re online. On the other hand, a separate agency focused on ICT will look into how we can leverage ICT for our national development.”  

He concluded, “The world recognizes the value and potential of the ICT industry. If we all work towards the common goal of advancing this sector, we can seize all the opportunities that will undoubtedly be open to us." 

Legarda: DA’s Trading Center Project, Perfect Partner of Agri-Agra Law

MANILA, September 17, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today commended the Department of Agriculture (DA) for its Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (APTC) project, as she stressed that the program complements the purpose of Republic Act 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009.

Legarda, author of RA 10000, said that while the APTC project intends to increase the income of farmers, the Agri-Agra Law aims to boost the agriculture sector and promote livelihood among agrarian reform beneficiaries.

According to the DA, this new project will enable farmers to earn more since they can directly sell their products in the trading centers and avoid dealing with middlemen. The four primary APTCs will be constructed in Benguet, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, and North Cotabato.

“The establishment of these trading centers is a laudable move that will greatly benefit our farmers as they get the income commensurate to their hard work,” Legarda said.

“While we await the completion of these trading centers, it would be best to ensure that our farmers are also aware of the other opportunities for growth and improvement available to them,” she pointed out.

The Senator explained that the Agri-Agra Law opens a new window of opportunity for farmers as the law requires banks to allocate 25 percent of their loanable funds to the agriculture sector to finance the acquisition of work animals, farm equipment or machinery, seeds, fertilizers, livestock, feeds and other similar items for farm production.  Of the 25 percent, 10 percent should be given to agrarian reform beneficiaries and 15 percent to the agriculture sector.

“We have to strengthen programs that would increase productivity in the countryside and ensure better harvest. Supporting the improvement of the livelihood of our farmers is a great leap towards our goal of achieving food sufficiency,” Legarda concluded.

Trillanes backs ‘reasonable’ sin tax

MANILA, September 17, 2012-Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV on Friday said he is supporting the proposed legislation that will increase the excise tax imposed on liquor and tobacco products as long as the rates are reasonable.

“I am supporting the sin tax bill as a revenue measure since the rates will be indexed on the country’s inflation rate, provided, however, that the rates of increase should be reasonable,” Trillanes said.

According to Trillanes, the proposal to increase the sin taxes should be within the parameters of realistic revenue targets and based on the current classification system of liquor and tobacco products.

Trillanes, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, explained that the proposed increase should “not kill the source of livelihood of our tobacco farmers.”

 “We have to ensure that the system to be implemented should be equitable and the rate should not be too high that it could cause the market to collapse and encourage smuggling of tobacco products,” Trillanes added.

Under the House version of the sin tax bill, imposition of tax will be based on a single classification system which is unitary and the tax rate will be uniform, regardless of the quality of the products.

“This system is discriminatory against the lower-tier products and would favor the imported brands,” Trillanes said.


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