Wednesday, September 21, 2011

'Planking' ban


MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is not keen on supporting a controversial bill seeking to ban "planking" as a form of protest.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda frowned on the anti-planking proposal made by Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, saying the country has existing laws to stop any protest action that endangers public welfare.

The anti-planking bill was filed by Castelo after a group of militant protesters recently disrupted traffic in Manila in protest against high oil prices. Planking involves lying straight and face-down like a plank of wood in unexpected places. “Without that law, we can necessarily correct a situation. It is another form of expressing one’s grievance. We can always use existing laws to protect the public and protect that person doing the planking,” Lacierda said. (Genalyn Kabiling)

Franchise tax

A veteran administration lawmaker has called for the immediate passage of a bill that would drastically reduce electric rates through the restoration of the franchise tax regime for power distribution.

Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao (NPC, Isabela) urged leaders of Congress to place of priority House Bill 5155 and its Senate counterpart in a bid to stop power distribution firms from passing taxes to consumers.

Aggabao, author of HB 5155, said power cost would be lessened through this system because a franchise tax is a direct tax which cannot be transferred to consumers. (Ben Rosario)

Status quo

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) pledged Wednesday not to resume dismantling and rolling down billboards in the city, even if the temporary restraining order (TRO) has lapsed. R

ochelle Macapili-Ona, MMDA legal division chief, made the vow, in respect of the status quo on the enforcement of anti-billboard campaign before the hearing of the motion for permanent injunction starts, set on September 29.

“The TRO will expire today but in respect of the status quo, we will not roll down any billboard before the hearing of the motion for permanent injunction starts,” said Ona before Judge Elpidio Calis, Makati City regional trial court (RTC) Branch 133. (Anna Liza Villas)


Malacañang Wednesday defended upcoming discussions on the Spratlys dispute during President Aquino’s visit to Japan next week. Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the “exchange of notes” on the Spratlys dispute does not intend to ask Japan to side with the Philippines on the Spratlys issue but to maintain a multilateral solution on the dispute.

“We have always maintained that the West Philippine Sea issue is a regional concern and since it’s a regional concern, it requires a regional solution,” Lacierda said in a press briefing Wednesday. “I don’t think we are pulling in anyone else.” (Madel Sabater)

Rice subsidy

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released P2.86 billion for some 1.1 million farmers and fishermen under the government’s Rice Subsidy Program for Small-Scale Farmers and Fisherfolks nationwide. DSWD Undersecretary Alicia Bala said the beneficiaries received cash assistance in exchange for undergoing a four-day training and rendering community service.

The program, which started last May and expected to be completed by end of September, is a short-term intervention for farmers and fishermen and their families to help them cope with the effects of increasing prices of commodities and fuel. “Fifty percent of the cash assistance shall be used to buy food or rice in the market to boost the economy in the area,” Bala said. (Ellalyn de Vera)


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