Thursday, June 19, 2008

How To Have Food Sufficiency - President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo recently assured the public that the government has a "solid plan for self-sufficiency" in food, particularly rice.

She made this assurance during her Independence Day speech.

According to the president, part of the plan is  to make sure the country's rice situation remains stable by securing its supply, ensuring its proper distribution, and guaranteeing the enforcement of laws to protect the people against gouging and corruption of rice.

She stressed that the government is sparing no effort to ensure that the country's supplies of rice get from the source to the tables of Filipinos throughout the nation.

She also expressed appreciation that even with the very high price of rice in the whole world market in the last two quarters, "hunger has gone down significantly."

"If we cannot avoid these problems brought about by external forces, it is our duty to help those who are affected by it," President Arroyo stressed. -

ASEAN Charter Will Open More Opportunities in Asia - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stressed that economic integration within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is imperative to face the challenges of globalization. 

According to the President, strong global engagement and the establishment of an ASEAN Charter would certainly open more opportunities for its member countries.

During its chairmanship, the Philippines pushed for the establishment of an ASEAN Charter to create a single regional community by 2015 that was eventually signed by the ASEAN leaders in Singapore and is now up for ratification by member countries. 

"As for the passage of the ASEAN Charter, we would love nothing more than to see ASEAN consolidate its gains and move closer together. However, we'll leave this up to the Philippine Senate which has been asked to review the charter for ratification," the President said. 

As a responsible member of the international community, the President added, ASEAN members including the Philippines are presently united in helping its needy neighbors in the region. -

Conversion of Vehicle from Fossil Fuel to Gas-Run Engines - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered four government departments to oversee the shift or conversion of motor vehicle engines from fossil fuel-run-to alternative gas-run engines in accordance with the implementation of the Bio-Fuels Act.

The President issued the directive to the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

She made this announcement at the launching of the terminal for hybrid buses, LPG and CNG driven vehicles or Clean Air Buses (CAB) that include taxis and jeepneys at SM Central Business Park Bay in Pasay City.

The launching is in line with the President's initiative to help all public utility vehicle drivers to lessen the impact of high price crude oil such as diesel and with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) program on : "Makabagong Sasakyan Para sa Ligtas na Kalusugan at Kapaligiran Tungo sa Mabilis, Maingat at Maginhawang Paglalakbay."

The President also ordered Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to convert all government vehicles from oil to LPG-run engines (which is 21 percent in the total volume of vehicles in the country). -

High Cost of Manufacturing and Production

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered Department of Trade (DTI) Secretary Peter Favila to open a dialogue with different businessmen and manufacturers. This is in order to discuss their concerns relative to rising cost of their manufacturing or production of goods.

According to Press Undersecretary and deputy spokesperson Anthony Golez, "the government is willing to support the urgent needs of the business sector in order to cushion the passing of their production cost immediately to our consumers."

"We assure the public that government is doing everything it can to mitigate the effects of rising prices of basic commodities," Golez said. - Meet us at

Ordinary Workers Exempted from Income Tax? - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law exempting minimum wage earners from paying income tax and also increasing the personal exemptions for other employees.

The President signed Republic Act 9504 or "An Act Amending Sections 22,24,34,35 and 79 of Republic Act 8424,as Amended, otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1987,".

The President, who for several times urged Congress to pass this urgent bill that would help ease the impact of continuing rise in oil and food prices on the people, was visibly pleased.

The new law stands to provide relief and additional money to spend for basic necessities especially for the minimum wage earners.

The new law also exempts from tax all holiday, night differential, hazard and overtime pay received by minimum wage earners.

The new law also increases personal exemptions for individual tax payers and additional deduction for qualified dependents.

The personal exemptions are as follows: for single: from P20,000 to P50,000; for head of family: from P25,000 to P50,000; for married: from P32,000 to P50,000; for each qualified dependent not exceeding 4: from P8,000 to P25,000.

A family of six, with two working spouses and four dependent children used to enjoy total exemptions of P96,000. With the new law, the total amount of exemptions would be P200,000. - Join us at