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03 - 21

Last year, we featured the announcement on vacationing OFWs’ exemption from filing an OEC if they are returning to the same employers abroad.  This took effect on the first week of September of the same year.  Included in the privilege is the OFW’s exemption from paying travel taxes and terminal fees when exiting the country as covered by Section 35 of RA 8042 (Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act).

There are rampant cases, however, where these fees are incorporated in the cost of the airline ticket bought by OFWs online or over the counter.  And in order for them to “refund” the paid fees, they have to line up at the airport.  Most OFWs are not aware of this or do not have the luxury of time to wait in line for their reimbursement.

Good news!

Starting April 30, 2017, the P550 terminal fee will automatically be waived for OFWs purchasing tickets over the counter; the same will be extended to online ticket purchases by the end of July 2017.  This means that departing OFWs no longer need to go through the process of “refunding” terminal fees that are supposedly incorporated in the price of the tickets they purchased!

Not just for OFWs

The exemption is extended to other Pinoy travelers such as pilgrims, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) delegates, and other Filipinos authorized by law and the Office of the President to travel outside the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration is appealing to have the unreturned fees (those not refunded by OFWs) accounted for and returned to the OWWA who stands as Trustee of OFWs.

Share this news with your OFW friends and relatives!

Source:

http://www.rappler.com/nation/164286-ofws-automatic-exemption-airport-terminal-fee-april-july

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03 - 20

Madz works as a call center agent in a multi-national company in Makati.  She delivers her job well, has an impeccable attendance record, and is an effective team player.

Madz is also a Person with Disability (PWD); she lost her ability to walk after being stricken with polio at 3 years old.  She grew up maneuvering a wheelchair whenever she needs to go from one room to another.  Yet she did not let this disability become a detriment to her dreams of becoming a successful corporate executive like her father.  She will stop at nothing to get to her dreams.

Her medical expenses could sometimes cause huge dents in the family’s budget.  So even while studying, Madz would take odd jobs at school like helping out in the library or sitting in as an assistant to the Registrar during enrollment season.  She would grab any opportunity to earn extra money to help her get through college.  She wanted to liberate her parents from her medical expenses as soon as she can.  Now that she is employed, she pays for all her medicines and doctor’s appointments out of the money she earns as a call center agent.  It helps that some of her medical needs are covered by their company’s HMO and her Philhealth.

While Madz’s salary is well above the minimum wage, her growing medical expenses have started taking its toll on her monthly budget.  If only she could get more discounts on her medicine purchases and hospital expenses, she would be able to at least enjoy part of her hard-earned salary.  She tried her luck by asking the Philhealth if PWDs like herself are considered automatic members of Philhealth like Senior Citizens.

The answer was “No”.  Unlike Seniors who become “lifetime members” upon reaching the age of 60, PWDs still need to make monthly contributions to the Philhealth in order to enjoy the benefits afforded by the agency to Filipinos.

There is Hope.

Lawmakers are seeking to have RA 7277 or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability amended in order to grant mandatory Philhealth coverage to all Persons with Disability.  The bill covers the following purposes:

  • This bill provides all PWDs with automatic health insurance coverage under the PHIC.
  • To support their enrollment to Philhealth, the national government shall pay for their premium payments to be sourced from the sin tax collections in accordance with Republic Act No. 10351 otherwise known as “An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products.”

This move came about after the UN Convention enjoined all member-states to ensure that PWDs enjoy their rights, freedom and dignity.  The same body defined PWDs as those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which may hinder their full and effective participation in the society on an equal basis with others.

The bill is yet to be approved; once enacted into law, all PWDs shall be able to enjoy the benefits of Philhealth and be freed from the financial burden of availing the health care services they need.  The government shall fund their health insurances out of the sin tax collections in accordance with RA 10351 or the Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products.

Philhealth’s Role in Uplifting the Privileges of PWDs

Meantime that the government is working at improving the health insurances of PWDs, Philhealth continues to look out for opportunities to advance their support in making the lives of Pinoy PWDs more comfortable through specialized health packages.

One such package is the Z-Morph Prosthesis Package worth Php 15,000.00, launched in 2013.  This is granted to members or dependents in need of lower limb prosthesis, a device replacing a missing part of a person’s lower extremities.  All a member has to do to avail of this benefit is show his Philhealth card; this is initially available in three hospitals in Metro Manila: UE-RMMC, Philippine General Hospital, and Philippine Orthopedic Center.

While the government continues to explore more opportunities to expand the benefit packages for PWDs, affected individuals will have to continue making monthly contributions out of their salaries, or be listed as a beneficiary of a bona fide relative or family who is a Philhealth member, in order to avail of health benefits and privileges from the government.

For more information on the special packages offered by Philhealth to PWDs, visit their website at www.philhealth.gov.ph

Sources:

https://www.philhealth.gov.ph/members/

http://www.rappler.com/

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03 - 17

Since Filipino Senior Citizens are automatically granted VAT exemptions and certain discounts on their purchases, does it also follow that they should be exempted from paying income taxes as well?

We cannot deny the fact that a lot of Filipinos in their senior years are still gainfully employed and have become immensely successful at their chosen careers. And while they are entitled to the full benefits and privileges mandated by law for senior citizens, many are wondering if they should still be paying their income taxes and other government contributions like their SSS, Philhealth, and Pagibig.

The official website of the Philippine Gazette (www.gov.ph) provides a straightforward outline of who should be paying income taxes to the government.  Below is a quick summary:

You should file your income tax return if:

  1. You are a Filipino citizen living in the Philippines, receiving income from sources within or outside the Philippines, and if –
    • You are employed by two or more employers, any time during the taxable year.
    • You are self-employed, either through conduct of trade or professional practice.
    • You are deriving mixed income.  This means you have been an employee and a self-employed individual during the taxable year.
    • You derive other non-business, non-professional related income in addition to compensation income not otherwise subject to a final tax.
    • You are married, employed by a single employer, and your income has been correctly withheld – the tax due is equal to the tax withheld – but your spouse is not entitled to substituted filing.
    • You are a marginal income earner.
    • Your income tax during the past calendar year was not withheld correctly – if the tax due is not equal to the tax withheld.
  2. You are a non-resident citizen – if you are a Filipino who works or resides abroad – receiving income from sourced within the Philippines.  (You are taxable only for the income you earn from the Philippines.)
  3. You are not a Filipino citizen but you receive income from sources within the Philippines, regardless of your residency.  (You are taxable only for the income you earn from the Philippines).

You are not required to file an income tax return, if:

  • You are a minimum wage earner.
  • Your gross income (total earned for the past year) does not exceed your total personal and additional exemptions.
  • Your income derived from a single employer does not exceed P60,000 and the income tax on which has been correctly withheld.
  • Your income has been subjected to final withholding tax.
  • You are qualified for substituted filing.

Clearly, employed Senior Citizens are not included in the income tax payment exemption unless they are minimum wage earners.

In the same manner, employed senior citizens whose SSS, Philhealth, and PagIBIG contributions are still shared with their employers must still continue paying their contributions out of their salary.  These payments shall continue to form part of their retirement and pension benefits the moment they officially retire from employment.

Source: www.gov.ph

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03 - 16

Magandang balita!  Kung ikaw ay edad 60 years old pataas at isang Filipino citizen, ikaw ay automatic na miyembro na ng Philippine Health Insurance Corporation o Philhealth!  Maaari mo nang magamit at ma-enjoy ang iyong mga Philhealth benefits gamit lamang ang iyong Senior Citizen ID, PSA birth certificate, o ano mang ID na magpapatunay na ikaw ay edad 60 years old pataas.

Narito ang mga karagdagang impormasyon kung papano makakakuha ng Philhealth ID ang mga Senior Citizen.  Madaling lang!

May dalawang paraan ng pag enroll para makakuha ng Philhealth ID:

  1. Bulk Enrollment.
    • May listahan ng pangalan ng mga senior citizen sa isang siyudad o munisipalidad ang mga local health insurance offices ng Philhealth.  Siguraduhing nakapagpa lista kayo upang maisama kayo sa bulk enrollment.
    • Ang lahat ng qualified senior citizens (edad lang ang qualification) ay isasama sa bulk enrollment.
    • Ang inyong Philhealth IDs ay idedeliver sa Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA).
  2. Individual Enrollment
    • Requirements:
      • Duly accomplished Philhealth Member Registraton Form.
      • 1 x 1 photo taken within the last six months.
      • Senior Citizens’ ID na mula sa OSCA ng siyudad o munisipalidad kung saan nakatira ang senior citizen OR
      • Kahit na anong valid government-issued ID tulad ng Passport, Driver’s License, SSS o GSIS ID, PRC ID, Postal ID, Voter’s ID.

Kung wala pang Senior Citizen ID, mag apply na sa OSCA kung saan kayo nakatira.  Narito ang mga requirements kapag maga-apply ng Senior Citizen ID:

  1. Ihanda ang mga sumusunod na requirements:
    • PSA Birth Certificate
    • 2 pcs 1 x1 colored photo
    • Valid ID (kahit alin sa mga sumusunod: SSS, GSIS, PRC, Voter’s ID, Postal ID, Passport).
  2. Pumunta sa OSCA ng city o municipality kung saan nakatira ang Senior Citizen at i-submit ang mga requirements.
  3. Ang staff ng OSCA ang siyang maglalagay ng mga detalye sa inyong Senior Citizen ID base sa mga impormasyon sa inyong birth certificate at mga ID.
  4. Bago pirmahan ang ID card, basahing mabuti at i-confirm kung tama lahat ng impormasyong isinulat sa inyong ID, tapos ay pirmahan.

Ang ibang cities at municipalities ay nagbibigay ng one-hour orientation bago ibigay ang ID sa mga members.  Mag attend kayo nito sakaling i-require.

Kumuha na ng inyong Senior Citizen at Philhealth IDs sa pinakamalapit na OSCA sa inyong lugar!

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03 - 15

In one of our long drives to the North last December, we met a large group of travelers having a noisy lunch in a bus stopover in Pangasinan.  They were the picture of a typical Pinoy family taking a balikbayan relative and her senior expat husband on a tour to the provinces.  The mood in their area was joyful until the waitress handed their bill and the senior citizens started whipping out their SC cards; everyone, including the senior expat.

When the waitress returned with their receipt and change, she informed the group that their restaurant only honors SC IDs from Filipino citizens.  After making this announcement, she handed the senior expat’s senior citizen ID while the rest of the group sat in stunned silence.

On their way out, I heard the expat ask his Filipina wife, in straight Tagalog: “Bakit hindi nila tinanggap itong ID ko? Dual citizen ako ah!  Amerikano at Filipino!”

This got me reeling in my seat!  If the guy was Fil-Am by citizenship, then he should have been granted the SC discount!

Should alien seniors enjoy the same SC benefits granted to Pinoy seniors?

I checked on this topic and was able to confirm that alien seniors do not have senior citizen privileges in the Philippines.  Back in 2014, a couple of congressmen submitted a proposal for elderly foreigners to be granted the same benefits offered to Filipino senior citizens.  According to the lawmakers, elderly foreigners also have relevant and considerable contributions in our local economy since they bring in investments, patronize local businesses, and some take up permanent residence in the country.

The report on this proposal is yet to be updated.

Are senior citizen privileges extended to Pinoy balikbayans and residents with dual citizenship?

Yes.  The Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act of 2003 (RA No. 9257) describes “Senior Citizen or Elderly” as any Filipino citizen who is a resident of the Philippines, and who is sixty (60) years old or above.

Clearly, the discount privileges and priority in most commercial establishments are reserved to Filipino seniors.  And if we were to plainly look at the expat in that busy restaurant, with his sunburned shoulders, blue eyes, and hawk nose, he would certainly not pass for a Filipino.  And on the basis of physical appearances, he is obviously not qualified for senior citizen discounts in the country.

But what if what he was saying was true? That he has dual citizenship and has a valid Philippine Senior Citizen ID?  Was it right for that restaurant to deny him his rightful discounts?

The complete description of Senior Citizen or Elderly as stated in RA 9257 also includes the following:

It may apply to senior citizens with “dual citizenship” status provided they prove their Filipino citizenship and have at least six (6) months residency in the Philippines.” (Rule III, Article 5).

Based on this provision in RA 9257, the elderly senior at that restaurant, assuming he really has dual citizenship, should have been granted senior citizen discounts at that restaurant.

What if the elderly resident (with dual citizenship) does not have a Senior Citizen ID yet?

Still according to RA 9257, not having a Senior Citizen ID is no reason to be denied your rightful privileges.  The following IDs may be presented and the establishment should honor these IDs:

  1. An ID issued by the city or municipal mayor or of the barangay captain of the place where the senior citizen or the elderly resides;
  2. The passport of the elderly person or senior citizen concerned; and
  3. Other documents that establish that the senior citizen or elderly person is a citizen of the Republic and is at least sixty (60) years of age.” (Section 4, R.A. No. 9257).
  4. Senior Citizens’ Identification Card issued by the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the city or municipality where the elderly resides;
  5. The Philippine passport of the elderly person or senior citizen concerned; and
  6. Other valid documents that establish the senior citizen or elderly person as a citizen of the Republic and at least sixty (60) years of age,  which shall include but not be limited to the following government-issued identification documents indicating an elderly’s birth date or age:
    • Driver’s license
    • Voter’s ID
    • SSS/GSIS ID
    • Professional Regulations Commission Card
    • Postal ID (Rule III, Article 5.5, Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 9257)

Therefore, if a senior citizen seeks to be granted senior citizen privileges and is able to present any of the above-mentioned proofs, the establishment is duty-bound to grant them the discounts and privileges, regardless if the elderly does not look like he is of Filipino descent.

It is likewise important to educate operators and staff of establishments frequented by senior citizens such as pharmacies, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, and amusement centers.  Most people would easily believe that foreigners are not entitled to the same benefits that Filipinos enjoy in the country, but based on the provisions in RA 9257, this theory may not always be true.

Sources:

http://www.gov.ph/2004/02/06/republic-act-no-9257/

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/105530/alien-seniors-should-get-discounts-too

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03 - 14 (2)

This summer, various government agencies will be opening its doors to qualified high school and college students who wish to work and earn a few bucks while waiting for classes to resume. Interested applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Student / out-of-school youth at least 15 years old but not more than 24 years old;
  2. Must be enrolled this school year / must have the intention to enroll next school year (if out-of-school);
  3. The combined annual net income of both parents, including his/her own income if any, must not exceed Php 143,000;
  4. Student must have obtained at least an average passing grade during the last school year / term attended; and
  5. Must possess office skills such as knowledge in computer applications.

Documentary Requirements:

  1. SPES FORM 2 – APPLICATION FORM (Special Program for Employment of Students).
  2. PSA Birth Certificate
  3. Photocopy of latest Income Tax Return of parents or certification issued by BIR that the parents are exempted from payment of tax, or
  4. Original Certificate of Indigence or
  5. Original Certificate of Low Income issued by the barangay.

All applications must be submitted to the following address, on or before March 27, 2017.

Office of the Youth Formation Division, 3rd Floor, Mabini Building, DepEd Central Office, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.

You may also scan the application and requirements and send in zipped file format to blss.yfd@deped.gov.ph

Source:

http://www.rappler.com/nation/163846-news-briefs-philippines-march-13-2017?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=referral

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03 - 13

A Senior Citizen ID card holder may enjoy two free movies at cinemas in Quezon City on specific days.  When dining or buying medicines, they are granted a 20% discount off of the cost of their meals and medications.  They are also given priority seats in public transportation and are granted the best slots in parking areas.

All’s well until they find themselves lined up at grocery counters.  Most first time SC card holders are surprised to find out that the 20% discount and VAT exemption applied on certain goods and services for use and enjoyment of Senior Citizens are not applicable on grocery items.

What are the discountable goods and services mentioned in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2000?

Our research on this topic led us back to the RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2000 where it is clearly emphasized that the 20% discount and VAT exemption are applicable to the charges on the following goods and services ONLY:

  1. Medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines and such other essential medical supplies, accessories, and equipment to be determined by the Department of Health (DOH);
  2. Professional fees of attending physicians in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health  care services;
  3. 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. 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 Philhealth;
  5. Actual fare for land transportation travel in public utility buses, public utility jeepneys, taxis, AUVs, trains;
  6. Actual transportation fare for domestic air transport services and sea shipping vessels and the like, based on the actual fare and advanced booking;
  7. Utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants, and recreation centers;
  8. Admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses, and concert halls, circuses, leisure and amusement, and
  9. Funeral and burial services for the death of the senior citizen.

The 5% Discount on Basic Commodities

While the 20% Senior Citizen discount is not applicable on grocery items, Senior Citizens may demand for the 5% discount for certain grocery purchases that fall under the “basic necessities and prime commodities” category.

According to DTI-DA Administrative Order No. 10-02, Senior Citizens are entitled to a special discount of 5% of the regular retail price, without exemption from value-added tax, of basic necessities, such as:

  1. Rice
  2. Corn
  3. Bread (any shape and name, excluding pastries and cakes)
  4. Fresh, dried, and canned fish and other marine products
  5. Fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat
  6. Fresh eggs
  7. Fresh and processed milk
  8. Fresh vegetables including root crops
  9. Coffee and creamer
  10. Sugar
  11. Cooking oil
  12. Salt
  13. Powdered, liquid, bar laundry and detergent soap
  14. Firewood
  15. Charcoal
  16. Candles
  17. Fresh fruits
  18. Flour
  19. Dried, processed, and canned pork, beef and poultry meat
  20. Dairy products
  21. Noodles
  22. Onions
  23. Garlic
  24. Geriatric diapers
  25. Herbicides
  26. Poultry, swine, and cattle feeds
  27. Veterinary products of poultry, swine, and cattle
  28. Nipa shingle, plyboard, and construction nails
  29. Batteries
  30. Electrical supplies and light bulbs
  31. Steel wire

Can Senior Citizens avail of the 5% special discount on these items anytime?

This is where it gets a bit tricky.

When availing of the 5% special discount, the total amount of the purchase must not exceed Php 1,300 per calendar week.  The unused amount for the current week shall not be carried over to the following week.  Be reminded as well that the items must be commensurate to the personal and exclusive consumption of the senior citizen within the calendar week and that the amount allocated shall be spent on at least four (4) kinds of items only.

This is also the reason why most cities and municipalities require Senior Citizens to present, not just their IDs, but their Senior Citizen booklets as well.  This is their way of monitoring the purchases made by the Senior Citizen and if he may still avail of the 5% special discount for a particular week.

Sources:

http://www.gov.ph/services/senior-citizens/

http://www.manilatimes.net/senior-citizens-entitled-to-5-discount-for-grocery-items/220815/

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03 - 10

SSS members who have found better earning opportunities abroad may continue to enjoy the same privileges as members who reside in the country.  One such benefit is the salary loan facility of the SSS; this enables members to borrow an amount to meet short-term credit needs and be able to repay at affordable terms and interests.

What are the qualifications?

a. The OFW’s monthly SSS contributions must be updated.

  • For one-month salary loan – the member-borrower must have 36 posted monthly contributions, six of which should be within the last twelve (12) months prior to the month of filing of application.
  • For two months salary loan – the member-borrower must have 72 posted monthly contributions, six of which should be within the last twelve (12) months prior to the month of filing of application.

b. The OFW must be under 65 years of age at the time of application.

c. The OFW has not been granted final benefit (total permanent disability, retirement, and death).

d. The OFW has not been disqualified due to fraud committed against the SSS.

What are the steps in applying for a salary loan?

a. Download and fill-out a Member Loan Application form.

b. Present your SSS ID.  If the OFW does not have an SSS ID yet, he needs to file for application of SSS card (Form E-6).

c. Prepare two valid identifications (ID); any two of the following will suffice:

  • Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
  • Unexpired Driver’s License
  • Passport
  • Postal ID
  • School or Company ID
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN) card
  • Seaman’s Book
  • Membership card issued by private companies
  • Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA) card.
  • Senior Citizen’s card
  • Voter’s Identification card / Affidavit / Certificate of Registration
  • ATM card with cardholder’s name; or with certification from bank (if without name).
  • Credit card
  • Fisherman’s card issued by BFAR
  • GSIS card / Member’s Records / Certificate of Membership
  • ID card issued by LGUs (Barangay/Municipal/City)
  • ID card issued by professional association recognized by PRC.
  • Birth Certificate
  • Baptismal Certificate
  • Marriage Contract
  • NBI Clearance
  • Pag-IBIG Member’s Data Form
  • Permit to carry firearms issued by the Firearms and Explosive Unit of PNP.
  • PHIC Member’s Data Record
  • Police Clearance
  • Seafarer’s Registration Certificate issued by POEA
  • Temporary Driver’s License issued by LTO
  • Transcript of Records
  • Alien Certificate of Registration
  • Bank Account Passbook
  • Certificate from Office of Southern / Northern Cultural Communities; or Office of Muslim Affairs
  • Certificate of Licensure / Qualification Documents / Seafarer’s ID and Record Book for Maritime Industry
  • Certificate of Naturalization from the Bureau of Immigration
  • Life Insurance Policy
  • Birth / Baptismal certificate of children.

Who may file the Salary Loan Application?

a. If filed by Member-borrower’s authorized representative, bring the following:

  • Member-borrower’s Member Loan Application
  • Member-borrower’s SS card or any two valid IDs both with signature (at least one with photo).
  • Authorized Representative’s SS card or any two valid IDs both with signature (at least one with photo).
  • Letter of Authority (LOA) signed by both the member-borrower and the member-borrower’s authorized representative.

b. If filed by Employer/Company’s Authorized Representative, bring the following:

  • Accomplished Member Loan Application.
  • Authorized Company Representative (ACR) card issued by SSS.
  • Letter of Authority (LOA) from employer and any two valid IDs both with signature and at least one with photo.
  • Acknowledgment stub and any two valid IDs both with signature and at least one of the IDs with photo.

c. If filed by the member’s representative:

  • Present member’s SSS card or two valid IDs, one of which with photo and signature.
  • Authorization letter signed by the member and the representative.

Where does an OFW file his loan application while abroad?

a. OFW members may submit their applications at the SSS Representative office in the country of their location.

b. In case there is no SSS office in a particular country, the member may send the application and supporting documents to his relatives in the Philippines and authorize them to file at the SSS branch.

c. Any document issued abroad and forms part of the application must be authenticated by the Philippine Consulate/Embassy.

Source: www.sss.gov.ph

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03 - 09

16 years ago, the government enacted RA 8972 or what we all know as the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.  Through this law, qualified solo parents are granted certain discounts and privileges, mandated by the government, in order to help them support their children.

This year, the Federation of Solo Parents in Luzvimin, Gabriela Women’s Party, and Ilaw Para sa Kababaihan at Bata groups moved to amend RA 8972 in order to improve the social services for solo parents, particularly in the barangay levels.  The following are the proposed amendments that the groups are seeking to propose:

  1. 20% discount on baby’s milk and food supplements made within 3 years from the child’s birth;
  2. 20% discount on medicines and vaccines for the child made within 18 years of the child’s birth;
  3. 20% on hospital bills of the solo parent when his or her child is admitted to a public or private hospital;
  4. 20% discount on public and private recreational facilities where solo parents spend time with their children.
  5. 12% discount on basic necessities;
  6. 15% discount on school supplies until the child reaches the age of 21;
  7. 10% discount on school tuition fees per child studying in college in either a public or private school;
  8. 10% discount on consultation and laboratory diagnostic fees, as well as in the purchase of medicines for solo parents and their dependents;
  9. A 7-day parental leave with pay if solo parent has rendered at least 6 months of service in a company.

In yesterday’s celebration of International Women’s Day, the DSWD led its employees in supporting and participating in the petition seeking to fast-track the implementation of the said amendments.  The ceremonial signature campaign was held at the Bonifacio Shrine in Manila.  They need one million signatures to push their call for improved benefits and privileges for the solo parent.

Will you support this cause?

Source: http://bit.ly/2mIduUr

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03 - 07

Last October (2016), news broke out that the government is poised to implement a nationwide “No Smoking” policy that will make smoking in public areas (indoor or outdoor) basically, illegal.  Less than 5 months later, the President declared that he will be signing the EO anytime now.

Good news, eh?

The anticipated new law aims to make all public places in the country 100% smoke-free.

What else can be expected from this new, upcoming law?

  • The EO will mandate all government agencies, including local governments to implement the smoking ban in all public places.
  • All public places, whether indoor or outdoor, shall be considered “No Smoking” areas.  These include: parks, bus stations, and vehicles.
  • Local government units are encouraged to draft their ordinances to implement the E.O.

This may as well be one of the biggest, if not the biggest campaign launched by the government against smoking.  In 2015, the government required all cigarette manufacturers and advertisers to include graphic images of people stricken with diseases caused by cigarette smoking.  These must be clearly printed alongside text warnings of the hazards of smoking.  It was intended to discourage the public from consuming cigarettes.  However, the Philippines’ “sachet economy” kept buyers from looking at the graphic images long enough to help them quit smoking.  In the country, vendors sell cigarettes by stick (seldom by pack).  This is a win-win situation between buyer and seller: the buyer is saved from staring at the graphic images (usually that of a swollen, gangrened foot or mouth) and the seller makes more money from retailing each pack (than selling it per pack).

The upcoming Executive Order that will free all public places from cigarette smoke takes the game to a level playing field.  The nation looks forward to finally breathing cigarette smoke-free air in public places very soon.

Source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/03/06/17/duterte-to-sign-eo-on-smoking-ban-nationwide

Related article: No Smoking in the Philippines

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