Saturday, November 22, 2014

Read The Full Text Of Obama's Immigration Speech

See - Read The Full Text Of Obama's Immigration Speech

"x x x.

My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration.

For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities – people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.

But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it. 

Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart. 

It’s been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven’t done much about it.

When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.

Meanwhile, I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix, and last year, 68 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn’t perfect. It was a compromise, but it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of border patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits. 

Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of a bill a simple yes-or-no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.

Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me – that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.

Tonight, I am announcing those actions.

First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.

Second, I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed. 

Third, we’ll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.

I want to say more about this third issue, because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable – especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mother who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day. 

But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is, millions of immigrants – in every state, of every race and nationality – will still live here illegally. And let’s be honest – tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you. It’s also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American-born or spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours. 

As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it: “They are a part of American life.”

Now here’s the thing: we expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes – you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.

That’s what this deal is. Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive – only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you. 

I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today – millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. 

That’s the real amnesty – leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I’m describing is accountability – a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.

The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half century. And to those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, don’t let a disagreement over a single issue be a dealbreaker on every issue. That’s not how our democracy works, and Congress certainly shouldn’t shut down our government again just because we disagree on this. Americans are tired of gridlock. What our country needs from us right now is a common purpose – a higher purpose.

Most Americans support the types of reforms I’ve talked about tonight. But I understand the disagreements held by many of you at home. Millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don’t like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship. I know that some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time when they already feel like they’ve gotten the raw end of the deal for over a decade. I hear these concerns. But that’s not what these steps would do. Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society. And I believe it’s important that all of us have this debate without impugning each other’s character.

Because for all the back-and-forth of Washington, we have to remember that this debate is about something bigger. It’s about who we are as a country, and who we want to be for future generations.

Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?

Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?

Are we a nation that educates the world’s best and brightest in our universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs, businesses, and industries right here in America?

That’s what this debate is all about. We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration; we need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears.

I know the politics of this issue are tough. But let me tell you why I have come to feel so strongly about it. Over the past few years, I have seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs, without taking a dime from the government, and at risk at any moment of losing it all, just to build a better life for their kids. I’ve seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn’t have the right papers. I’ve seen the courage of students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as Malia or Sasha; students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in a country they love. These people – our neighbors, our classmates, our friends – they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America’s success.

Tomorrow, I’ll travel to Las Vegas and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was four years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll, and the frilly dress she had on. When she started school, she didn’t speak any English. She caught up to the other kids by reading newspapers and watching PBS, and became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mother cleaned other people’s homes. They wouldn’t let Astrid apply to a technology magnet school for fear the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant – so she applied behind their back and got in. Still, she mostly lived in the shadows – until her grandmother, who visited every year from Mexico, passed away, and she couldn’t travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and others like her, and today, Astrid Silva is a college student working on her third degree.

Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid – or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in?

Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.

x x x."

Lawyers rise, Asean economic integration is here | Inquirer Opinion

See - Lawyers rise, Asean economic integration is here | Inquirer Opinion

"x x x.

Today, with 2015 just around the corner, the Asean Economic Community is the talk of the town. While some claim that the Philippines is not at all ready to be in such a region, others, en contra, maintain that we can be, provided we make the right moves with the little time left. 

But certainly, unlike a decade ago, those with strong opinions, when taken as a group, far outnumber those who are unconcerned or simply clueless.

I propose in this piece to share some insights which are the fruits of the more than half a century that I have devoted to the practice of law in the Philippines.

A salient, though silent, feature of the private practice of law in the Philippines is the belief of clients, rightly or wrongly, that their lawyer knows, or ought to know—”know” not in the pejorative sense of knowing the judge, but in the legitimate expectation that the lawyers to whom they pay good money, know not only what the law says but, in a degree that is a notch or two above the rest—how to deal with the law in a manner that will be advantageous to them.

This demand on lawyers is multiplied a hundredfold by clients who do or plan to do investments. When I spoke to the Ateneo graduates in 2010, direct foreign investments and loans in the Asean totaled roughly $346,187 million in 2008, up from only $23,541 million in 2000. Exports for the same period doubled; imports rose from $348,960 million to $831,229 million. Figures have gone north on a steep trajectory since then.

The impact of this development on the legal profession is inevitable. Lawyers are a necessary evil in assisting in the negotiation and crafting of agreements of interested parties. 

Hence, a great demand for legal services in the whole of Asean lurks around the corner. Country barriers to knowledge of inter-Asean law, though not necessarily license to practice in all, is a necessity.

This is not a pipe dream or a visionary prophecy; the germinal elements of such a development are already here. The same forces that unleashed the lowering of trade barriers will push cross-border practice in our region. We must therefore prepare for the inevitable by developing now a corps of skilled lawyers that can measure up to the demand.

But how do we do that? I submit that the Philippine legal profession can do so in a pragmatic way, taking our cue from the way the West dealt at one point with its need to invest in China. 

At that time I observed, when it was in fashion to have offices in China, that multinational law firms had been hiring in New York our former associates for posting in Hong Kong and Singapore, to involve them in servicing their clients’ interest in China and Asean. The move made good sense because we Filipinos have several unique advantages: We speak English, we have an Asean face, and, most significant, we have trained in the two great legal systems of the world—the Civil and Roman law which we inherited from Spain and the Anglo-American common law brought here by the Americans.

I therefore exhort young lawyers (any lawyer less than my age is by definition “young”) to spread their wings, after a few years of working locally by way of giving back, and seek engagement, if not employment, with multinational firms with branch offices in Asean and/or China. The learning and training they will receive and the contacts and contracts they will make will serve them well personally. Also, when intra-Asean practice becomes the new normal, they will constitute the skilled manpower (and womanpower) that the Philippines will require to be a meaningful participant in the opportunities that will take place in such an unprecedented event as Asean economic integration.

As intimated earlier, the groundswell has begun. Our firm’s former associates are presently employed by multinational law firms, and they are assigned to their respective offices in New York, Sydney, Paris, Belgium, the Hague, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Singapore. There is no reason to believe that the same phenomenon is not happening in the other big law firms in the country. And there certainly is no justification why the movement will not be inclusive of all in the Philippine legal profession.

It is my hope that while there is still time, Philippine lawyers will decide to ride in front of the Asean wave. Otherwise, we will be ceding the dominance of the forthcoming cross-border Asean practice of law to lawyers of other countries. That would be a pity because the potential for legal services in the Asean alone is tremendous. I would hate to see us lose it by default.

Ricardo J. Romulo is a senior partner of Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles.

x x x."

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Foreigners may now own 100% of Phl banks

sEE - Foreigners may now own 100% of Phl banks

"x x x.

Foreign banks can now apply to operate in the country or to acquire up to 100 percent of a local lender following the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations of the amended foreign banks law.

“We are very appreciative of the efforts of our legislators to pass into law RA 10641 and the BSP is quite happy to now issue the IRR to execute this law,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.

RA 10641 allows the entry of more foreign banks in the country

Moreover, this allows foreign banks to buy as much as 100 percent of a local bank, amending a previous provision that only permits them to own up to 60 percent of any Philippine lender’s voting stock.
x x x."

Friday, November 14, 2014

CA allows anti-dummy case vs Piatco exec | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star |

See - CA allows anti-dummy case vs Piatco exec | Headlines, News, The Philippine Star |

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines - A director of Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco), the builder of   Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 3, will be charged with violation of the Anti-Dummy Law on orders of the Court of Appeals (CA).
The CA’s special 11th division has denied the plea of Gil Camacho to stop the Department of Justice (DOJ) from charging him with violating Presidential Decree 715, which amended Commonwealth Act 108, the Anti-Dummy Law.
PD 715 provides that a person is liable under the Anti-Dummy Law if he or she allows or assists an unqualified person or corporation to enjoy a franchise.
Under PD 715 foreign investors are barred from acquiring more than 40 percent ownership in domestic corporations, particularly those involved in the operation and management of public utilities, such as airport terminal.
Based on documentary evidence, the DOJ held that Fraport had acquired more than 40 percent of Piatco’s ownership.
The National Bureau of Investigation has established Fraport’s more than 40 percent ownership of Piatco. 
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
In ruling against Camacho’s plea, the CA found no basis for for a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction against the DOJ.
“It is an established doctrine that injunction will not lie to enjoin a criminal prosecution because public interest requires that criminal acts be immediately investigated and prosecuted for the protection of society,” read the CA ruling.
“The grounds raised by the petitioners are intricately intertwined with the main issue in the petition; hence, courts are proscribed from extending such reliefs as this has the unwitting result of passing upon the merits of the main action without trial.”
Camacho told the CA the “baseless information” against him would not only work great injustice but would cause him “grave and irreparable injury.”
The case arose from the complaint of lawyer Jose Bernas that the threshold of 40 percent equity for foreign firms in utilities is exceeded when the indirect holdings of Fraport are factored.
x x x."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Republic Act No. 9271 - Quarantine Act of 2004

See - Republic Act No. 9271 | Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled.
SECTION. 1. Title. — This Act shall be known as the “Quarantine Act of 2004.”
SEC. 2. The Bureau of Quarantine. — The Bureau of Quarantine under the Department of Health (DOH), with the category of a first-class line bureau, shall have a nationwide scope of function and international commitment in accord with the International Health Regulations (IHR) of the world Health Organization (WHO).
SEC. 3. Jurisdiction and the Functions of the Bureau. — The examination at ports of entry and exit in the Philippines of incoming and outgoing vessels and aircraft, the necessary surveillance over their sanitary conditions, as well as over their cargoes, passengers, crews, and all personal effects, and the issuance of quarantine certificates, bills of health or other equivalent documents shall be vested in and be conducted by the Bureau. This Bureau shall have authority over incoming vessels and outgoing vessels both domestic and foreign, including those of the army and navy, their wharfage and anchorage, and over aircraft and airports, insofar as it is necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 4. Authority to Promulgate and Enforce Rules and Regulations and Provide Penalties for Their Violations. — (a) The Director of the Bureau with the approval of the Secretary of Health, is authorized to promulgate and enforce rules and regulations as in his judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission or spread of “public health emergencies of international concern” from foreign countries into the Philippines or from one (1) domestic seaport/airport to another. For purposes of implementing these regulations, the Director of Bureau may provide intervention strategies such as health education and advisories, inspections, fumigation, disinfection, pest extermination, vaccination for international travel, medical examination of aliens/foreigners for immigration purposes and destruction of animals or articles found to be infected or contaminated as to be sources of infection to human beings in coordination with other concerned quarantine agencies such as veterinary quarantine, plant quarantine, etc. and other measures as in his judgment may be necessary.
(b) Regulations prescribed under this section shall provide for the apprehension, detention or surveillance for the purpose of preventing the introduction, transmission or spread of such public health emergencies of international concern as may be specified from time to time in Department Orders by the Secretary of Health upon the recommendation of the international health surveillance.
(c) Whenever it is deemed necessary for the protection of the public health of the nation from public health emergencies of international concern, immunization and other preventable measures against these diseases shall be mandatory on all persons arriving all any seaport/airport of entry in the Philippines.
(d) The Secretary of Health upon the recommendation of the Director of the Bureau may prescribe examination of any individual believed to be infected with a disease of international concern on board vessels and aircraft entering any seaport or airport in the Philippines. Such rules and regulations may provide that if upon examination, any such individual is found to be infected or has been exposed to infection considered as dangerous contact, he may be isolated aboard a vessel, in a hospital with facilities for infectious diseases, at a quarantine station, or at any isolation facility, and in such a manner as may be prescribed by the said regulations.
SEC. 5. Prohibition of Entry of Hazardous Cargo and Materials. — Whenever the Director of the Bureau determines that there is an existence of any public health emergency of international concern in a foreign country and that there is imminent danger of the introduction of hazardous cargoes or materials into the Philippines, he, in coordination with the Bureau of Customs and other concerned agencies, may recommend to the President, through the Secretary of Health, the prohibition of its entry for public health interest.
SEC. 6. Quarantine Stations. — The Director of the Bureau shall control direct and manage all quarantine stations, grounds and anchorages, and designate their boundaries. With the approval of the Secretary of Health, he shall establish such additional quarantine stations, grounds and anchorages if, in his judgment, these are necessary to prevent the introduction of diseases of international concern into the country. The Director, in the same manner may also order the closure of non-functional quarantine, stations, grounds and anchorages. ATcaEH
SEC. 7. Quarantine Documents/Clearances of Vessels and Aircraft. — (a) All vessels or aircraft from foreign ports arriving at any port of the Philippines shall be required to submit the required maritime declaration of health/general declaration and other documents as prescribed by the regulations.
(b) All ocean-going vessels or international aircraft from foreign seaports/airports calling at any seaport or airport in the Philippines to disembark its passengers or discharge its cargo, or for other purposes must secure a quarantine clearance in compliance with the health regulations. This quarantine certificate or/clearance: (Pratique) shall be a prerequisite to customs clearance.
(c) After compliance with the quarantine laws and regulations is all vessels or aircraft leaving any seaport or airport of the Philippines shall secure quarantine outgoing clearance. This certificate/clearance shall also be a prerequisite to customs clearance of outgoing vessels and aircraft.
SEC. 8. Penalties. — (a) Any person who violates any regulation prescribed in this Act shall forfeit to the Bureau of Quarantine a fine of not less than Ten thousand pesos (₱10,000.00) but not more than Fifty thousand pesos ₱50,000.00) or be imprisoned for not more than one (1) year or both at the discretion of the court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) Any vessel or aircraft that violates any provision this Act shall forfeit to the Bureau of Quarantine a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (₱500,000.00).
SEC. 9. Authority to Utilize Income. — The Bureau of Quarantine shall be authorized to use at least fifty percent (50%) of the income generated, subject to accounting and auditing rules and regulations.
SEC. 10. Implementing Rules and Regulations. — The DOH shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of this Act within sixty (60) days after the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 11. Separability Clause. — In the event any provision of this Act or the application of such provision to any person or circumstances is declared invalid, the remainder of this Act or the application of said provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected by such declaration.
SEC. 12. Repealing Clause. — Republic Act No. 123 of 1947, as amended, and all acts, rules and regulations regarding foreign and local quarantine not consistent with this Act are hereby repealed.
SEC. 13. Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect after fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

State witness; SC affirms ruling dropping case vs suspect in Barrameda slay | Inquirer News

See - SC affirms ruling dropping case vs suspect in Barrameda slay | Inquirer News

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeals and the Malabon court in discharging Manuel Montero as government witness in the 2007 murder case of Ruby Rose Barrameda.
In a 20-page decision made public Tuesday, the high court’s second division said Malabon Regional Trial Court Branch 170 Judge Zaldy Docena did not act with grave abuse of discretion when he ordered that Montero be stricken off the list of accused to become a state witness.

In agreeing with the appellate court’s decision, the high court said it found that all the requisites under Section 17, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure have been fully complied with when Docena made the order that Montero is qualified to become a state witness as he does not appear to be most guilty although he is considered as a principal accused by direct participation.

Docena also said that if Montero did not confessed to the crime, including Barrameda’s abduction and subsequent murder, it would have remained undiscovered and unsolved. Likewise, the RTC said Montero has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.
This decision prompted Manuel Jimenez Jr., the father of Barrameda’s husband, Manuel Jimenez III, to move for the reconsideration of Docena’s order which the appeals court initially upheld in May 22, 2012. However, the appeals court reversed its ruling when the prosecution panel filed a motion for reconsideration, prompting Jimenez to take the case to the high court.
Jimenez Jr. is facing murder charges, while his son was charged with parricide.
Also charged in the case were Jimenez III’s uncle, fishing magnate Lope Jimenez, and alleged henchmen Eric Fernandez, Robert Ponce and Lennard “Spyke” Descalso.
In its ruling, the high court said petitioner failed to prove not merely a “reversible error, but grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of Judge Docena in issuing the impugned order.”
The high court also said the prosecution complied with the requisites of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure contrary to Jimenez’ claim.
“We see no merit in Jimenez’s allegation that no absolute necessity exists for Montero’s testimony. In the present case, not one of the accused-conspirators, except Montero, was willing to testify on the alleged murder of Ruby Rose and their participation in the killing. Hence, the CA was correct in ruling that Judge Docena acted properly and in accordance with jurisprudence in ruling that there was absolute necessity for the testimony of Montero, He alone is available to provide direct evidence of the crime,” the high court said in ruling penned by Associate Justice Arturo Brion.

The high court added that it find no merit in Jimenez’ argument that Montero’s testimony cannot be substantially corroborated in its material points adding that “the evidence consisting of the steel casing where Ruby Rose cadaver was found, the drum containing the cadaver, the spot in the sea that Montero pointed to where the cadaver was retrieved, the victim’s clothing when she was killed as well as the burned personal effects, all partly corroborate some of the material points in the sworn statements of Montero.
“With these as bases, Judge Docena’s ruling that Montero’s testimony found substantial corroboration cannot be characterized as grave abuse of discretion,” the ruling said.
Concurring with the ruling are Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Mariano del Castillo, Martin Villarama Jr. and Marvic Leonen."


Aquino greenlights mandatory PhilHealth for senior citizens | Inquirer News

See - Aquino greenlights mandatory PhilHealth for senior citizens | Inquirer News

"x x x.

MANILA, Philippines — About two weeks from now, all Filipino senior citizens will be provided with healthcare coverage through the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Republic Act No. 10645 or “An act providing for the mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all senior citizens, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 7432, as amended by Republic Act No. 9994, otherwise known as the ‘Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010’” was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III on November 5.
x x x."

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Republic Act No. 9994 | Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

See - Republic Act No. 9994 | Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
Section 1. Title. – This Act Shall be known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.”
Sec. 2. Section 1 of Republic Act No. 7432, as amended by Republic Act No. 9257, otherwise known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003″, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
“SECTION 1. Declaration of Policies and Objectives. – As provided in the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, it is the declared policy of the State to promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living and an improved quality of life. In the Declaration of Principles and State Policies in Article II, Sections 10 and 11, it is further declared that the State shall provide social justice in all phases of national development and that the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.
“Article XIII, Section 11 of the Constitution provides that the Sate shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children. Article XV, Section 4 of the Constitution Further declares that it is the duty of the family to take care of its elderly members while the State may design programs of social security for them.
“Consistent with these constitutional principles, this Act shall serve the following objectives:
“(a) To recognize the rights of senior citizens to take their proper place in society and make it a concern of the family, community, and government;
“(b) To give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of the elderly and their full participation in society, considering that senior citizens are integral part of Philippine society;
“(c) To motivate and encourage the senior citizens to contribute to nation building;
“(d) To encourage their families and the communities they live with to reaffirm the valued Filipino tradition of caring for the senior citizens;
“(e) To provide a comprehensive health care and rehabilitation system for disabled senior citizens to foster their capacity to attain a more meaningful and productive ageing; and
“(f) To recognize the important role of the private sector in the improvement of the welfare of senior citizens and to actively seek their partnership.
“In accordance with these objectives, this Act shall:
“(1) establish mechanisms whereby the contributions of the senior citizens are maximized;
“(2) adopt measures whereby our senior citizens are assisted and appreciated by the community as a whole;
“(3) establish a program beneficial to the senior citizens, their families and the rest of the community they serve: and
“(4) establish community-based health and rehabilitation programs for senior citizens in every political unit of society.”
Sec. 3. Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7432, as amended by Republic Act No. 9257, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003″, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
SEC. 2. Definition of terms. – For purposes of this Act, these terms are defined as follows:
“(a) Senior citizen or elderly refers to any resident citizen of the Philippines at least sixty (60) years old;
“(b) Geriatrics refer to the branch of medical science devoted to the study of the biological and physical changes and the diseases of old age;
“(c) Lodging establishment refers to a building, edifice, structure, apartment or house including tourist inn, apartelle, motorist hotel, and pension house engaged in catering, leasing or providing facilities to transients, tourists or travelers;
“(d) Medical Services refer to hospital services, professional services of physicians and other health care professionals and diagnostics and laboratory tests that the necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury;
“(e) Dental services to oral examination, cleaning, permanent and temporary filling, extractions and gum treatments, restoration, replacement or repositioning of teeth, or alteration of the alveolar or periodontium process of the maxilla and the mandible that are necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury;
“(f) Nearest surviving relative refers to the legal spouse who survives the deceased senior citizen: Provided, That where no spouse survives the decedent, this shall be limited to relatives in the following order of degree of kinship: children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts;
“(g) Home health care service refers to health or supportive care provided to the senior citizen patient at home by licensed health care professionals to include, but not limited to, physicians, nurses, midwives, physical therapist and caregivers; and
“(h) Indigent senior citizen, refers to any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and development (DSWD) in consultation with the National Coordinating and Monitoring Board.”
Sec. 4 Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7432, as amended by Republic Act No. 9257, otherwise known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003″, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 4. Privileges for the Senior Citizens. -
The senior citizens shall be entitled to the following:
“(a) the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount and exemption from the value -added tax (VAT), if applicable, on the sale of the following goods and services from all establishments, for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of the senior citizen
“(1) on the purchase of medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pnuemococcal vaccines, and such other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment to be determined by the Department of Health (DOH).
“The DOH shall establish guidelines and mechanism of compulsory rebates in the sharing of burden of discounts among retailers, manufacturers and distributors, taking into consideration their respective margins;
“(2) on the professional fees of attending physician/s in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics and home health care services;
“(3) on the professional fees of licensed professional health providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies;
“(4) on medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services, in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the DOH, in coordination with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth);
“(5) in actual fare for land transportation travel in public utility buses (PUBs), public utility jeepneys (PUJs), taxis, Asian utility vehicles (AUVs), shuttle services and public railways, including Light Rail Transit (LRT), Mass Rail Transit (MRT), and Philippine National Railways (PNR);
“(6) in actual transportation fare for domestic air transport services and sea shipping vessels and the like, based on the actual fare and advanced booking;
“(7) on the utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers;
“(8) on admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, leisure and amusement; and
“(9) on funeral and burial services for the death of senior citizens;
“(b) exemption from the payment of individual income taxes of senior citizens who are considered to be minimum wage earners in accordance with Republic Act No. 9504;
“(c) the grant of a minimum of five percent (5%) discount relative to the monthly utilization of water and electricity supplied by the public utilities: Provided, That the individual meters for the foregoing utilities are registered in the name of the senior citizen residing therein: Provided, further, That the monthly consumption does not exceed one hundred kilowatt hours (100 kWh) of electricity and thirty cubic meters (30 m3) of water: Provided, furthermore, That the privilege is granted per household regardless of the number of senior citizens residing therein;
“(d) exemption from training fees for socioeconomic programs;
“(e) free medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees such as, but not limited to, x-rays, computerized tomography scans and blood tests, in all government facilities, subject to the guidelines to be issued by the DOH in coordination with the PhilHealth;
“(f) the DOH shall administer free vaccination against the influenza virus and pneumococcal disease for indigent senior citizen patients;
“(g) educational assistance to senior citizens to pursue pot secondary, tertiary, post tertiary, vocational and technical education, as well as short-term courses for retooling in both public and private schools through provision of scholarships, grants, financial aids, subsides and other incentives to qualified senior citizens, including support for books, learning materials, and uniform allowances, to the extent feasible: Provided, That senior citizens shall meet minimum admission requirements;
“(h) to the extent practicable and feasible, the continuance of the same benefits and privileges given by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social Security System (SSS) and the PAG-IBIG, as the case may be, as are enjoyed by those in actual service;
“(i) retirement benefits of retirees from both the government and the private sector shall be regularly reviewed to ensure their continuing responsiveness and sustainability, and to the extent practicable and feasible, shall be upgraded to be at par with the current scale enjoyed by those in actual service;
“(j) to the extent possible, the government may grant special discounts in special programs for senior citizens on purchase of basic commodities, subject to the guidelines to be issued for the purpose by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA);
“(k) provision of express lanes for senior citizens in all commercial and government establishments; in the absence thereof, priority shall be given to them; and
“(l) death benefit assistance of a minimum of Two thousand pesos (Php2, 000.00) shall be given to the nearest surviving relative of a deceased senior citizen which amount shall be subject to adjustments due to inflation in accordance with the guidelines to be issued by the DSWD.cralaw
“In the availment of the privileges mentioned above, the senior citizen, or his/her duly authorized representative, may submit as proof of his/her entitled thereto any of the following:
“(1) an identification card issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) of the place where the senior citizen resides: Provided, That the identification card issued by the particular OSCA shall be honored nationwide;
“(2) the passport of the senior citizen concerned; and
“(3) other documents that establish that the senior citizen is a citizen of the Republic and is at least sixty (60) years of age as further provided in the implementing rules and regulations.
“In the purchase of goods and services which are on promotional discount, the senior citizen can avail of the promotional discount or the discount provided herein, whichever is higher.cralaw
“The establishment may claim the discounts granted under subsections (a) and (c) of this section as tax deduction based on the cost of the goods sold or services rendered: Provided, That the cost of the discount shall be allowed as deduction from gross income for the same taxable year that the discount is granted: Provided, further, That the total amount of the claimed tax deduction net of VAT, if applicable, shall be included in their gross sales receipts for tax purposes and shall be subject to proper documentation and to the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code (NICR), as amended.”
Sec. 5. Section 5 of the same Act, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 5. Government Assistance. – The government shall provide the following:
“(a) Employment
“Senior citizens who have the capacity and desire to work, or be re-employed, shall be provided information and matching services to enable them to be productive members of society. Terms of employment shall conform with the provisions of the Labor Code, as amended, and other laws, rules and regulations.
“Private entities that will employ senior citizens as employees, upon the effectivity of this Act, shall be entitled to an additional deduction from their gross income, equivalent to fifteen percent (15%) of the total amount paid as salaries and wages to senior citizens, subject to the provision of Section 34 of the NIRC, as amended: Provided, however, That such employment shall continue for a period of at least six (6) months: Provided, further, That the annual income of the senior citizen does not exceed the latest poverty threshold as determined by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for that year.
“The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in coordination with other government agencies such as, but not limited to, the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center (TLRC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), shall assess, design and implement training programs that will provide skills and welfare or livelihood support for senior citizens.
“(b) Education
“The Department of Education (DepED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), in consultation with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) for senior citizens, shall institute programs that will ensure access to formal and nonformal education.
“(c) Health
“The DOH, in coordination with local government units (LGUs), NGOs and POs for senior citizens, shall institute a national health program and shall provide an integrated health service for senior citizens. It shall train community-based health workers among senior citizens and health personnel to specialize in the geriatric care and health problems of senior citizens.
“The national health program for senior citizens shall, among others, be harmonized with the National Prevention of Blindness Program of the DOH.
“Throughout the country, there shall be established a “senior citizens’ ward” in every government hospital. This geriatric ward shall be for the exclusive use of senior citizens who are in need of hospital confinement by reason of their health conditions. However, when urgency of public necessity purposes so require, such geriatric ward may be used for emergency purposes, after which, such “senior citizens’ ward” shall be reverted to its nature as geriatric ward.
“(d) Social Services
“At least fifty percent (50%) discount shall be granted on the consumption of electricity, water, and telephone by the senior citizens center and residential care/group homes that are government-run or non-stock, non-profit domestic corporation organized and operated primarily for the purpose of promoting the well-being of abandoned, neglected, unattached, or homeless senior citizens, subject to the guidelines formulated by the DSWD.
“(1) “self and social enhancement services” which provide senior citizens opportunities for socializing, organizing, creative expression, and self-improvement;
“(2) “after care and follow-up services” for citizens who are discharged from the homes or institutions for the aged, especially those who have problems of reintegration with family and community, wherein both the senior citizens and their families are provided with counseling;
“(3) “neighborhood support services” wherein the community or family members provide caregiving services to their frail, sick, or bedridden senior citizens; and
“(4) “substitute family care ” in the form of residential care or group homes for the abandoned, neglected, unattached or homeless senior citizens and those incapable of self-care.
“(e) Housing
“The national government shall include in its national shelter program the special housing needs of senior citizens, such as establishment of housing units for the elderly.
“(f) Access to Public Transport
“The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) shall develop a program to assist senior citizens to fully gain access to public transport facilities.
“(g) Incentive for Foster Care
“The government shall provide incentives to individuals or nongovernmental institution caring for or establishing homes, residential communities or retirement villages solely for, senior citizens, as follows:
“(1) realty tax holiday for the first five (5) years starting from the first year of operation; and
“(2) priority in the construction or maintenance of provincial or municipal roads leading to the aforesaid home, residential community or retirement village.
“(h) Additional Government Assistance
“(1) Social Pension
“Indigent senior citizens shall be entitled to a monthly stipend amounting to Five hundred pesos (Php500.00) to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of senior citizens, subject to a review every two (2) years by Congress, in consultation with the DSWD.
“(2) Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage
“All indigent senior citizens shall be covered by the national health insurance program of PhilHealth. The LGUs where the indigent senior citizens resides shall allocate the necessary funds to ensure the enrollment of their indigent senior citizens in accordance with the pertinent laws and regulations.
“(3) Social Safety Nets
“Social safety assistance intended to cushion the effects of economics shocks, disasters and calamities shall be available for senior citizens. The social safety assistance which shall include, but not limited to, food, medicines, and financial assistance for domicile repair, shall be sourced from the disaster/calamity funds of LGUs where the senior citizens reside, subject to the guidelimes to be issued by the DSWD.”
Sec. 6. Section 6 of the same Act, as amended, is heeby further amended to read as follows:
SEC. 6. The Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA). – There shall be established in all cities and municipalities an OSCA to be headed by a senior citizen who shall be appointed by the mayor for a term of three (3) years without reappointment but without prejudice to an extension if exigency so requires. Said appointee shall be chosen from a list of three (3) nominees as recommended by a general assembly of senior citizens organizations in the city or municipality.
“The head of the OSCA shall be appointed to serve the interest of senior citizens and shall not be removed or replaced except for reasons of death permanent disability or ineffective performance of his duties to the detriment of fellow senior citizens.
“The head of the OSCA shall be entitled to receive an honorarium of an amount at least equivalent to Salary Grade 10 to be approved by the LGU concerned.
“The head of the OSCA shall be assisted by the City Social Welfare and Development officer or by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer, in coordination with the Social Welfare and Development Office.
“The Office of the Mayor shall exercise supervision over the OSCA relative to their plans, activities and programs for senior citizens. The OSCA shall work together and establish linkages with accredited NGOs Pos and the barangays in their respective areas.
“The OSCA shall have the following functions:
“(a) To plan, implement and monitor yearly work programs in pursuance of the objectives of this Act;
“(b) To draw up a list of available and required services which can be provided by the senior citizens;
“(c) To maintain and regularly update on a quarterly basis the list of senior citizens and to issue national individual identification cards, free of charge, which shall be valid anywhere in the country;
“(d) To serve as a general information and liason center for senior citizens;
“(e) To monitor compliance of the provisions of this Act particularly the grant of special discounts and privileges to senior citizens;
“(f) To report to the mayor, any individual, establishments, business entity, institutions or agency found violating any provision of this Act; and
“(g) To assist the senior citizens in filing complaints or charges against any individual, establishments, business entity, institution, or agency refusing to comply with the privileges under this Act before the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, the regional or the municipal trial court, the municipal trial court in cities, or the municipal circuit trial court.”
Sec. 7. Section 10 of the same Act, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 10. Penalties. – Any person who refuses to honor the senior citizen card issued by this the government or violates any provision of this Act shall suffer the following penalties:
“(a) For the first violation, imprisonment of not less than two (2) years but not more than six (6) years and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (Php50,000.00) but not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00);
“(b) For any subsequent violation, imprisonment of not less than two (2) years but not more than six (6) years and a fine of not less than One Hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00) but not exceeding Two hundred thousand pesos (Php200,000.00); and
“(c) Any person who abuses the privileges granted herein shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than six (6) months and a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (Php50,000.00) but not more than One hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00).
“If the offender is a corporation, partnership, organization or any similar entity, the officials thereof directly involved such as the president, general manager, managing partner, or such other officer charged with the management of the business affairs shall be liable therefor.
“If the offender is an alien or a foreigner, he/she shall be deported immediately after service of sentence.
“Upon filing of an appropriate complaint, and after due notice and hearing, the proper authorities may also cause the cancellation or revocation of the business permit, permit to operate, franchise and other similar privileges granted to any person, establishment or business entity that fails to abide by the provisions of this Act.”
Sec. 8. Section 11 of the same Act, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows:
“SEC. 11. Monitoring and Coordinating Mechanism. – A National Coordinating and Monitoring Board shall be established which shall be composed of the following:
“(a) Chairperson – the Secretary of the DSWD or an authorized representative;
“(b) Vice Chairperson – the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) or an authorized representative; and
“(c) Members:
“(1) the Secretary of the DOJ or an authorized representative;
“(2) the Secretary of the DOH or an authorized representative;
“(3) the Secretary of the DTI or an authorized representative; and
(4) representatives from five (5) NGOs for senior citizens which are duly accredited by the DSWD and have service primarily for senior citizens. Representatives of NGOs shall serve a period of tree (3) years.
“The Board may call on other government agencies, NGOs and Pos to serve as resource persons as the need arises. Resource person have no right to vote in the National Coordinating and Monitoring Board.”
Sec. 9. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within sixty (60) days from theeffectivity of this Act, the Secretary of the DSWD shall formulate and adopt amendments to the existing rules and regulations implementing Republic Act No. 7432, as amended by Republic Act No. 9257, to carry out the objectives of this Act, in consultation with the Department of Finance, the Department of Tourism, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), the DOLE, the DOJ, the DILG, the DTI, the DOH, the DOTC, the NEDA, the DepED, the TESDA, the CHED, and five (5) NGOs or POs for the senior citizens duly accredited by the DSWD. The guidelines pursuant to Section 4(a)(i) shall be established by the DOH within sixty (60) days upon the effectivity of this Act.
Sec. 10. Appropriations. – The Necessary appropriations for the operation and maintenance of the OSCA shall be appropriated and approved by the LGUs concerned. For national government agencies, the requirements to implement the provisions of this Act shall be included in their respective budgets: Provided, That the funds to be used for the national health program and for the vaccination of senior citizens in the first year of the DOH and thereafter, as a line item under the under the DOH budget in the subsequent General Appropriations Act (GAA): Provided, further, That the monthly social pension for indigent senior citizens in the first year of implementation shall be added to the regular appropriations of the DSWD budget in the subsequent GAA.
Sec. 11. Repealing Clause. – All law, executive orders, rules and regulations or any part hereof inconsistent herewith are deemed repealed or modified accordingly.
Sec. 12. Separability Clause. – If any part or provision of this Act shall be declared unconstitutional and invalid, such 18 declaration shall not invalidate other parts thereof which shall remain in full force and effect.
Sec. 13. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days its complete publication n the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation, whichever comes earlier.