Sunday, September 1, 2013

Legarda: Let’s Save More Filipino Infants Thru Educated Parenting

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today said that the country can continue to improve infant survival rate if parents, especially first-time mothers, are provided with right information and education on proper care for newborns and infants.

Legarda noted that statistics from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) showed the downward trend in the Philippines’ newborn and infant mortality rate.

In 1990, neonatal mortality rate is at 23 deaths per 1,000 live births. It decreased to 14 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010. For the same period, infant mortality rate decreased from 42 deaths per 1,000 live births to 23 deaths per 1,000 live births.

A study from the National Statistics Office revealed that “neonatal deaths stem from poor maternal health, inadequate care during pregnancy, inappropriate management of complications during pregnancy and delivery, poor hygiene during delivery and the first critical hours after birth, and lack of newborn care.”

Legarda said that presented with these facts, there is a need to equip expectant parents with basic knowledge and skills that will foster effective parenting.

“An expectant mother’s knowledge about childbirth and skills on parenting has historically been obtained from other women, mainly from family members and through practical experience gained from caring for children from extended families. However, women’s increased participation in the workforce and attainment of higher education have made more expectant mothers likely to rely on formally-organized antenatal education as a means by which they develop their knowledge and skills on parenting,” said Legarda.

In line with this, the Senator filed Senate Bill 356, Literacy for Parenting Act, which requires all public and private hospitals, clinic, health centers and other similar establishment rendering maternity services to provide literacy programs to all expectant mothers.

The literacy programs shall focus on providing expectant parents with skills they can use to foster responsible parenting and empower them to make informed and educated choices with regard to the health and well-being of their child.

Legarda Hails Removal of PH from French Blacklist

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today hailed the removal of the Philippines from the French Blacklist of tax haven territories and said that this development is reflective of the government’s efforts to improve fiscal integrity through sound policies, including the Tax Treaty with the French Government.

Legarda said that the Senate adopted the Protocol Amending the Agreement between the Philippine Government and the French Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income during the 15th Congress when she was Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“The revised agreement broadens the scope of the exchange of information requests that may be made. It now allows the exchange of information related to tax administration, including bank information,” said Legarda.

The Senator explained that in the previous PH-France Treaty, which took effect on January 1, 1978, Article 26 was not yet aligned with the text of the Exchange of Information provisions of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Model Tax Convention, which is why the Philippines had been listed as one of the non-cooperative countries and territories (NCCTs).  French nationals are dissuaded from transacting with NCCTs because of the higher tax rates being imposed on them. 

“While globalization brought about an increase in international trade, it also posed greater challenges to the effective enforcement of tax laws. This is what we want to address when we adopted the new PH-France Tax Treaty,” she stressed.

“The benefits of tax treaties, especially to developing countries, cannot be gainsaid.  They are intended to permit the Contracting States to better enforce their domestic laws so as to reduce tax evasion and they likewise promote technology transfer, and international academic, cultural and sports exchanges between the Contracting States,” Legarda concluded.


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