Friday, March 1, 2013

Model Shop Casting Studio Faces Court Case

The Bureau of Internal Revenue Thursday filed before the Department of Justice today tax evasion charges worth P11.1 million against a Makati City-based casting agency and a trader in Laguna.

In a press conference, BIR Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares said they charged Angelica Bonnevie Mara, sole proprietress of Model Shop Casting Studio, for violation of Sections 254 and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code or willful attempt to evade taxes and failure to supply the bureau with correct and accurate information on her tax returns.

MSCS casts actors and models to be featured in television advertisements and its clients include Jollibee, BayanTel, ChowKing, Ajinomoto, Avon, Colgate-Palmolive Philippines, GMA Network, Tupperware, United Laboratories and Universal Robina Corp.

It also lists advertising agencies Publicis Jimenez Basic Inc., BBDO Guerrero, Inc. and Campaigns & Grey, Inc. among its clients.

The BIR's system that compares the withholding tax payments of corporations with the tax returns of its suppliers detected the discrepancy in the tax returns of MSCS.

Henares said MSCS declared revenues of only P3.51 million but its clients showed payments of at least P6.371 million.

She added the underdeclaration amounts to over 81% and constitutes prima facie evidence of fraud.

The BIR computed MSCS' deficiency tax liability at P6.61 million, including surcharges and interests.

Henares said they also filed tax evasion charges against Jera Marketing, Inc. and its president, Ester R. Almendrala.

She added Jera Marketing, a trading company in San Pedro, Laguna, was charged for willful failure to pay tax in 2006 or violating Section 255 of the NIRC.

The BIR had issued Jera Marketing a letter of authority to present its records for the verification of its returns in October 2007.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Sworn In

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was sworn in on Wednesday as the new Pentagon chief.

In remarks to Defense Department employees, he deplored the uncertainty brought about by impending automatic cuts to the defense budget, and promised to do everything in his power to meet those challenges.

Hagel started his day attending a private swearing-in ceremony at the Pentagon as the 24th secretary of defense, and was sworn in by Director of Administration and Management Michael Rhodes. Family members and his immediate office staff attended the ceremony.

According to the Pentagon, Hagel then hosted the daily senior staff update meeting attended by civilian and military leaders of the department.

After the staff meeting, Hagel made a speech to service members and civilian Defense Department employees, touching upon the possible automatic budget cuts mandated by the impending sequestration, which would go into effect next month should Congress fail to stop it in two days.

Citing budget and sequestration woes as "the reality" the department needs to "deal with", Hagel promised to do "everything in my power to be the kind of leader you expect and deserve," and meet those challenges.

March 2 a special non-working day in La Union

President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared March 2 a special non-working day in the province of La Union, in commemoration of its 163rd Foundation Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration to give the people of La Union the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

The province was created in 1850 when the Spanish colonial government of Governor-General Antonio Maria Blanco merged the southern towns of Ilocos Sur province, the northern towns of Pangasinan, and the western towns of Benguet to the east.

Visit Tubbataha Reef of the Sulu Sea

The Philippine Coast Guard Thursday said divers planning to visit Tubbataha Reef of the Sulu Sea may be diverted while salvage works for the grounded USS Guardian (MCM-5) are ongoing.

Coast Guard Palawan commander and Task Force Tubbataha head Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista made this announcement as divers are expected to go to the area once summer season starts this March.

Salvage operations for the USS Guardian are expected to be completed this March 23 barring inclement weather and equipment failure.

Evangelista said scuba divers from various countries who will visit dive sites at the reef will be informed the salvage operation area is off-limits "for security reasons."

Salvage work is ongoing for the USS Guardian, which ran aground on Tubbataha Reef Jan. 17 and has been crippled.

Individuals posing as Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla

The Department of Energy (DOE) warns the public and energy stakeholders of unscrupulous individuals posing as Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla and certain DOE employees soliciting money from energy firms for team building, etc.. Some of the numbers used by these individuals are: 09077255934 and 09277722247.

With these occurrences, DoE encourages the public to report text messages or calls from these individuals and to verify authenticity of texts and calls received from DOE through the Office of the Secretary's official numbers: 840-2134 and 840-2008.

List of Beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita

About 6,212 farm workers have made it to the Final Master List of Beneficiaries that would be awarded parcels of land in Hacienda Luisita under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

This was announced by Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes.

DAR Secretary De los Reyes led the posting of the tarpaulin where listed names of the beneficiaries in the 10 barangays covering Hacienda Luisita before Wednesday noon.

The Final Master List was drawn in accordance with the Supreme Court's directive that only farm workers who were actually working in Hacienda under Luisita Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) in the year 1989 can qualify as beneficiaries of CARP-covered land in the country's biggest sugar estate.

The beneficiaries were verified by thoroughly reviewing the list submitted by Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) to the Supreme Court (the so-called 6296 list); a list of farm workers who participated in the 1989 stock distribution option proceedings (MOA List); all documents submitted by the farm workers directly to the DAR; and documents acquired by the DAR from the Social Security System (SSS).

Out of the 8,641 farm workers who were interviewed and screened for the list, the names of 5,365 workers were included in the Preliminary Master List of Farm workers-Beneficiaries posted by the DAR in Hacienda Luisita on October 31, 2012.

Posted on the same date was a Provisional List of Beneficiaries, which contained the names of 1,218 farm workers who were required to submit additional requirements to prove they were working in the Hacienda in 1989.

Groups and individuals were given until Dec. 1, 2012, to file Petitions for Inclusion or Petitions for Exclusion or, for those in the Provisional List, submit additional evidence of employment as farm worker in Hacienda Luisita in 1989.

A total of 357 potential beneficiaries petitioned the DAR to have their names included in the Final Master list, while no group or individual filed a petition for exclusion.

All 5,365 workers who were included in the Preliminary Master List were included in the Final Master list by virtue of the fact that no one filed a petition for exclusion.

Another set of 847 farm workers were included in the Final Master List after they have shown sufficient evidence to prove that they were employed in TADECO as of 1989, such as, among others, government records showing that they made contributions to the SSS in 1989 as TADECO farmworkers.

Philippines Needs World-class Airport

Regulators on Thursday began moving with a renewed sense of urgency on the matter of developing premier airport facilities in the country that would serve as its gateway.

This was stressed in a broadcast television interview by Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya who acknowledged the need to operate premier airports as gateways to a country aspiring to serve the needs of some five million foreign tourists just this year alone plus millions more Filipinos who travel domestically by air also.

According to Abaya, government planners look to decide with finality whether or not the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and rival facilities at the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) were, singly or in tandem, developed as premier gateways.

Whether or not there was only one gateway airport, or whether or not both could serve as gateway facilities at the same time, is an issue that needs to be addressed quickly, Abaya said.

"Should there be one or two gateways? Do we close NAIA in the future for some other airport?" Abaya said rhetorically in the interview.

He however acknowledged the greater goal was to arrive at a "policy decision" whether or not one or two airports would serve as gateway facilities for the Philippines in this case.

"What is important is a policy decision on whether or not we have a single premier airport or we have twins," Abaya stressed.

He indicated the policy decision should come out soon and that in the interim the government prepares to take out a loan for about P1 billion to help it execute a much needed airport modernization program.

Arriving at a policy decision and finding the financial resources to back up and execute the plans are key issues needing resolution before the Department of Transportation and Communication elevate the matter before President Aquino for approval, Abaya added.

He also said the CIAC was the country's fastest growing airport whose outdated facilities needed rehabilitation alongside that of NAIA's.

"We are finalizing the policy endorsement and rehabilitation plans for both airports before we elevate the matter to President Aquino," Abaya said.