New Zealand Move on Filipino nurses threatens political fallout

NZ Herald: Move on Filipino nurses threatens political fallout
4:00AM Tuesday Feb 24, 2009
By Lincoln Tan

Failure to register Philippine-trained nurses is not only turning many into overstayers, it puts New Zealand at risk of political backlash, Philippine Ambassador Bienvenido Tejano warns.

Mr Tejano says about 50 “distressed” overstaying Filipinos, many of them nurses, have approached him directly in the last year after they ran out of money, and he believes many others are in the same plight.

“It is a problem, and it is growing by the day. They come in groups of five, 10 and 15, and as much as we want to help them, there is not much we can do,” Mr Tejano said.

Many nurses from the Philippines had sold everything to come here – because it was widely publicised that there was an acute shortage of nurses in New Zealand – only to discover their qualifications were not recognised and they could not get registered, he said.

“They have no money to go back, and nothing to go back for any more.”

The New Zealand Nursing Council has questioned the quality of nursing qualifications and training programmes in the Philippines after nursing student numbers there boomed from 30,000 in 2004 to 450,000 last year – but Mr Tejano said it was “unacceptable” for the council to be judging the quality just by looking at the numbers.

Full Article.

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Republic Act 9504 – Tax Exemptions for Minimum Wage Earners and Increased Tax Exemptions

UPDATE (6/28/2008): The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has recently published its draft Revenue Regulation for the implementation of Republic Act 9504 (RA 9504).  It is also conducting a public hearing July 1, 2008 (Tuesday), 8:00 to 12:00 Noon at the BIR National Training Center Auditorium, BIR National Office Compound, Quezon City.

You can download the draft here (via RapidShare). Source: BIR

UPDATE (7/10/2008): Full text of RA 9504 is now posted here

(If you are copying this entire post please credit the author and the blog.)

IT’S NOW A LAW--President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shows off a copy of the Tax Relief for Minimum Wage Earners Act after she signed it into law Tuesday (June 17, 2008) at Malacanang\'s Reception Hall. With the President in photo are (standing, first row, from left) Senator Manuel Mar Roxas, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and Francis Escudero, Reps. Ma. Amelita Villarosa, Edcel Lagman, and Mary Anne Susano, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, and Rep. Exequiel Javier and other legislators. (Rey Baniquet/OPS-NIB Photo)

IT’S NOW A LAW–President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shows off a copy of the Tax Relief for Minimum WageEarners Act after she signed it into law Tuesday (June 17, 2008 ) at Malacanang’s Reception Hall. With the President in photo are (standing, first row, from left) Senator Manuel Mar Roxas, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, and Francis Escudero, Reps. Ma. Amelita Villarosa, Edcel Lagman, and Mary Anne Susano, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, and Rep. Exequiel Javier and other legislators. (Rey Baniquet/OPS-NIB Photo)
Photo from the Office of the Press Secretary

President Gloria Arroyo has signed Republic Act 9504.  Its official title is, An Act Amending Sections 22, 24, 34, 35, 51 And 79 of Republic Act 8424, As Amended, Otherwise Known As The National Internal Revenue Code Of 1987.” This new law will exempt minimum wage earners from paying income tax, increasing tax exemption for all earners and additional exemptions for individuals with dependents/children.

This means that anyone earning at least the minimum wage in his/her region will not pay income tax.  The exemption extends to overtime pay, holiday pay, night shift differential and hazard pay of minimum wage earners only. Below is an quote from the law’s text:

ra 9504 ra9504

All individuals will have a maximum of P50,000 annual income tax exemption.  This simply means that a person earning a gross annual salary of P180,000 (excluding the mandatory 13th month pay, which is tax free) per year will only pay income tax on the P130,000.  The new exemption is for all persons whether single, married or head of the family.  In the old tax code, RA 8284 it gave single individuals only a P20,000 exception, head of families P25,000 and married individuals P32,000.

ra9504 ra 9504

For married couples, the new law increase the additional exemptions based on the number of their children. In the old law, each couple is allowed an exemption of P8,000 per child up to 4 children. The new law increases the exception to P25,000 per child up to 4 children.   Therefore, a family with four children will have a maximum exemption of P200,000.  It is a substantial increase from the previous P96,000 per family with four children.  In theory, a family with four children earning exactly or below P200,000 per year will not be subject to income tax.

ra 9504 ra9504

The law simply means more take home or net pay for minimum wage earners and lower taxes for the middle class.  This is a much welcomed relief from the higher cost of living.

The government, however, estimates a revenue loss of about P14 billion per year.  With the increased spending due to higher net pay VAT collections may offset the loss in revenue.

[The new act also changes how professionals or non employees pay their tax.   I personally don’t have knowledge on this particular item so I won’t attempt to discuss it.]

The new law will benefit income earners from this year (2008 ) onwards.  To be more specific, RA9504 Section 9 states that, “This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.”

Please contact your respective employers on how they will adjust your withholding tax payment for 2008.

Below is an illustration on how it affects take home/net pay:

ciudadista.wordpress.com

Notes:

(1) The illustration will not apply to everybody’s case.  Please consult a licensed accountant, tax advisor or your human resources department to know how the new law will affect you specifically.

(2) The SSS, Pag-IBIG Fund and Philhealth contributions are based on a monthly salary of P15,000 per month.

(3) Statutory Exemption: In RA 8424 single income earners get only a P20,000 personal tax exemptions. RA 9504 grants a P50,000 tax exemption regardless of status.

(4) This is how the income tax is computed for single person as per RA8424 Chapter 3 Section 24 (see below):
Then: P22,500 + ((P150,550 – P140,000) x 25%)
Now: P8,500 + ((120,550 – P70,000) x 20%)

RA8424 Chapter 3 Section 24:

“The tax shall be computed in accordance with and at the rates established in the following schedule:

“Not over P10,000 –> 5%

“Over P10,000 but not over P30,000 –> P500+10% of the excess over P10,000

“Over P30,000 but not over P70,000 –> P2,500+15% of the excess over P30,000

“Over P70,000 but not over P140,000 –> P8,500+20% of the excess over P70,000

“Over P140,000 but not over P250,000 –> P22,500+25% of the excess over P140,000

“Over P250,000 but not over P500,000 –> P50,000+30% of the excess over P250,000

“Over P500,000 –> P125,000+34% of the excess over P500,000 in 1998

Please see the text of Senate Bill 2293 which has been signed into law and has become Republic Act 9504. Download/Read it here. Please check the Senate, House and Bureau of Internal Revenue(BIR) websites from time to time for the official text of the law.

Read the press release from the Office of the President here.

UPDATE (6/28/2008): The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has recently published its draft Revenue Regulation for the implementation of Republic Act 9504 (RA 9504).  It is also conducting a public hearing July 1, 2008 (Tuesday), 8:00 to 12:00 Noon at the BIR National Training Center Auditorium, BIR National Office Compound, Quezon City.

You can download the draft here (via RapidShare). Source: BIR

UPDATE (7/10/2008): Full text of RA 9504 is now posted here

Media Coverage:
Arroyo signs tax exemption measure for minimum wage earners (1:43 p.m.)
By Sun Star Network Online | June 17, 2008

Minimum wage earners get tax relief
By Michael Lim Ubac – Philippine Daily Inquirer | 06/18/2008

Tax relief package favors middle class, says Monsod
By Doris Dumlao – Philippine Daily Inquirer | 6/18/2008

GMA signs tax-exemption bill into law
By Mia M. Gonzales – Business Mirror | 6/18/2008

 

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Inquirer.net: GMA 7 refutes KBP ad load rule

GMA Network defended its decision not to follow the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas’ (KBP). Read the excerpt below:

MANILA, Philippines – GMA Network, Inc. said on Wednesday that the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) rule limiting the commercial load of programs to 18 minutes per hour will push commercial airtime prices up.

The network, which left the KBP in 2003, also said that the cap violates Philippine laws.

“A limitation on the supply of the very limited resource of commercial airtime would push commercial airtime prices upwards. Thus, time standard disrupts market forces that dictate supply and demand and is anti-competition,” GMA said in a statement. Read the full story here.

The statement from GMA Network is arrogant and greedy. While any business has the right to advertize we the views must come first and must be protected from clutter.

Why must the viewer endure countless minutes of mindless advertising for the sake of these advertisers and the TV network?

Why can’t GMA Network understand that cluttering up their channel gives also a great disservice to their advertisers. They should know that every second of clutter is directly proportional to ad recall.

So what if ad rates go up. Only the largest corporations in the Philippines can afford to buy TV ads at the moment anyway.

Advertisers must be wise enough to consider the quality of their advertising campaign than the quantity of ads they can buy. In the end, what is more important is how many remember the ads and the advertiser’s messages than how much was spent to buy airtime.

Related Post:
Television Ad Clutter in the Philippines

Television Ad Clutter in the Philippines

Last Thursday night I had a chance to watch Ms. Cheche Lazaro‘s “Media in Focus” show on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC). It is an intellectual talk show on everything and anything about media in the Philippines.

The episode was interesting. It was about the imposition of the 18 minute per hour ad load for all the members of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (Association of Philippine Broadcasters) or the KBP.

The show had an interesting panel of guests and resource persons.

The first guest was Ms. Maloli Espinsa, who is the current President of the KBP. She talked about the stricter implementation of the load limit.

She said that the 18 minute rule is one of the higest in the region. [I did some research on Wikipedia and found out that 18 minutes was also the standard in US television.]

Asked about why 18 minutes, Ms. Espinosa said it was the optimal amount that will be quitable to the broadcaster, the advertisers and the viewers (in terms of clutter).

The penalty for members who are found guilty of violating the rule is 120% of the ad revenue in excess of 18 minutes.

Two years ago, the rule as relaxed because KBP members were at a commercial dissadvantage to those who are non-members of the KBP, namely GMA Network, Inc. (GMA-7).

Apprently, GMA-7 withdrew from the KBP last August 2003. Some people say that GMA quit the KBP because it was found guilty of violation to the ad load limit and was supposed to be heavily fined. [I now understand why the channel is full of ads and ever extends the time slots of its shows.] [Read news about GMA leaving the KBP here.]

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On Jun Lozada

As of the moment, Filipinos are divided on Jun Lozada and his testimony. People are either believing him, doubting him or don’t even care to know.

I doubt him. While he seems to have a lot of knowledge of the mothballed National Broadband Network – ZTE project, he cannot support this with strong evidence.

As you know, its always easy to accuse someone of something. The problem is, words can be damaging and may lead people to judge people.

With the Philippines’ sensationalist media, personalities involved are being tried by publicity. It seems that people have forgotten the we all have the “Presumption of Innocence.”

I am not entirely convinced by his crying and being holy. By the many showbiz personalities behind the Anti-PGMA faction, they could have honed his acting skills. Even the devil can quote the Holy Bible (Matthew 4:6) and seem holy.

It may be possible that if he was able to “moderate” the greed of the parties involved, none of the noise would have happened. He may have been part of the scam and may have pocketed something in the process.

Disclaimer: I am not in anyway connected or receiving payment from the current administration. This is my opinion and everyone is entitled to one.

Breaking News: Cory Aquino has Colon Cancer

At around 03:00 PM today, ABS-CBN Channel 2 in Metro Manila reports that former Philippine President Cory Aquino has colon cancer. Appearing on TV are Aquino’s children, Senator Benigno Aquino III and actress Kris Aquino.

Read more here.

Related articles

Filipino nurses in NZ living in `slave labour’ conditions

New Zealand Herald: Filipino nurses living in `slave labour’ conditions
By Simon Collins

(Excerpt) Filipino nurses are being forced to work in what health officials describe as “slave labour” conditions in New Zealand rest homes to pay off often-exorbitant fees to recruitment agents and loan sharks.

A Weekend Herald investigation has found that some nurses are paying several times the true costs for work permits, bridging courses and registration in New Zealand, and are then bonded to work for up to three years at low wages in rest homes. (Full Story)


New Zealand Herald: [New Zealand] Immigration staff’s ignorance appalls migrants

By Lincoln Tan

(Excerpt) As more New Zealand residents quit the country, wannabe Kiwis say the key obstacle to calling Aotearoa home is the Immigration Service.

Long delays, missing documents and a lack of general knowledge among immigration officers were just some of the things residency applicants who spoke to the Herald complained of. (Full Story)