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Business News

Poultry products
from Indiana, US not
allowed to enter PH
By Madelaine B. Miraflor

he government has temporarily banned the entry


of poultry products coming from Indiana into the
country after the United States Department of Agriculture announced
the outbreak of H7N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) into
this part of the region.
In a memorandum, the Philippine Department of Agriculture
(DA) ordered the temporary ban
on the importation of domestic and
wild birds and their products including poultry meat, day old chicks,
eggs, and semen originating from
Dubois County, Indiana, USA.
Based on the official report of
John Clifford, deputy administrator of the Animal and Plant Health

Inspection Service of the


ordered the immediUnited States Departate suspension of the
ment of Agriculture,
processing, evaluation
which was cited by the
of the application, and
DA, there was an outissuance of Sanitary and
break of H7N8 Highly
Phytosanitary (SPS) imPathogenic Avian Inport clearance to the
fluenza (HPAI) virus
above-stated commodiin Dubois County, Inties coming from Indidiana.
ana.
Alcala
This, according to
He also called on
the data, is already affecting comthe stoppage and confiscation of all
mercial turkey flock as confirmed
shipments of the above stated comby the National Veterinary Services
modities, with the exception on heat
Laboratory.
treated products, into the country
There is a need to prevent the
by all DA Veterinary Quarantine.
entry of HPAI virus to protect the
Frozen poultry meat with
health of the public and the local
slaughter/process date of 21 days
poultry population, DA Secretary
prior to the HPAI outbreaks are alProceso Alcala said, explaining the
lowed to enter the country but subrationale behind the ban.
ject to veterinary quarantine rules
Aside from the ban, Alcala also
and regulation, Alcala noted.

Govt urged to simplify tax compliance processes


By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The government is urged to


simplify tax compliance processes
in the country in order to encourage
the public to pay their taxes, an issue
that Tax Management Association
of the Philippines, Inc. (TMAP) is
carrying over this year because the
administration simply did not act on
it in previous years.
Among many other tax reforms
that it is pushing for this year, TMAP
will keep on proposing to the government the simplification of tax compliance and requirements for the registration of professionals and small and
medium enterprises (SMEs).
TMAP president Benedict
Tugonon said that based on their
dialogues with some professional
groups, including a cluster of doctors and architects, a lot of them are
more than willing to pay their taxes
but the compliance process is too
complicated that they either have
to hire someone to pay for them or

sacrifice a lot of their time, which can


compromise their jobs.
If you are a really good professional and youre earning so much,
probably the cost of compliance can
be absorbed but for the new practitioners and who are still starting,
the cost of compliance might be too
much. The same is true for those putting up new businesses, the SMEs,
Tugonon said in an interview with
reporters.
We thought that a lot of people
will be encouraged to do business and
to register their business properly for
tax purposes if the rules are simplified. So we will be having dialogues
with the organizations involved, he
added.
Based on a study cited by
Tugonon, it takes 28 days at least for
an individual to register its business
in the Bureau of Internal Revenue
(BIR), while a professional needs at
least one day or more than that to pay
his tax dues.
If you simplify registration pro-

cess and compliance process and


reduce income tax rates, that will
really encourage compliance from
the public, he said.
As of now, the personal income
tax rate in the Philippines stands at
32 percent.
The rates are not realistic compared to other countries. The procedures and other administrative
requirements that are needed [are
not realistic too]. If you want a progressive tax system, you need to
change them, TMAP treasurer
Eleanor Roque stressed.
TMAP is also currently pushing
for the adjustment of income tax
rates in the country, saying that it
should be an election issue since the
public has to know what the presidential candidates stands for when
it comes to this matter.
Our idea here is if you reduce tax
rates, hopefully you will encourage
people from complying. Also, dont
make it so difficult for businesses to
register, Tugonon further said.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

B-3

Customs urges banks


to open on Saturdays
By CHINO S. LEYCO

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is urging


banks to extend operations to 12-hours a day
six days a week to help the agency hasten the
release of imported goods.
Customs Commissioner Alberto D. Lina,
said that their efficiency in releasing shipping containers in the countrys ports is being constraint by the short operating hours
of the banking sector.
Lina suggested that banking hours
should be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days a
week.
If banks open on Saturdays and have extended operating hours, Lina said Customs
could release containers on Sundays, or
when truck ban is lifted and less motorists
ply the main roads.
Actually some banks are open on Saturdays, but theyre not that massive. If all
banks operate on Saturdays, the velocity of
releases will improve, and eventually lower
the price of goods as importers will no longer
pay storage fees, Lina told reporters.
According to Lina, Customs could release up to 10,000 containers a day instead
of only 2,000 if banks will cooperate with the
bureau.
I already talked to the bankers association, I told them I really need their help and
they should open their branches on Saturdays to allow us to maximize the whole of
Sunday and early Monday morning up to
lunch time, Lina said.
Currently, most of the banks operate only
six-hours a day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are
closed on weekends.
Lina said banking hours in the Philippines is not even half of Singapores 24-hour

Lina

banking service to importers, and also sixhour short of Customs 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
operating hours.
In 2014, state-owned lenders Land Bank
of the Philippines and Development Bank
of the Philippines extended their operating
hours to accommodate truckers affected by
the daytime truck ban that resulted in port
congestion in Manila.
Customs also extended its operations
on Saturdays and Sundays at the Port of
Manila and the Manila International Container Port starting in June, 2014 from 8
a.m. to 5 p.m.
On weekends, brokers and importers can
file import entries, have their importations
assessed and valuated, and secure clearance
for the release of the cargo.
Customs personnel from Import Assessment Services are likewise on weekend duty
to address valuation concerns.
Additional examiners were also deployed,
along with stand-by personnel complement
from X-Ray Inspection, to expedite the
release of cargo with paid customs duties
and taxes.

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