All Articles With Category : Government Services

The latest and the best financial news, tips and tricks.

Duterte Proposal on Implementing Non-Essentials Tax

Are you willing to pay more for your new car? President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his planned policy reforms even before his proclamation on June 30, 2016 as the Philippines’ new President. A lot of people are divided over some of these policies, but one of the most divisive ones is the fact that he is willing to consider imposing higher levies on non-essential items. According to a report from the Tax Management Association of the Philippines (TMAP), the President-elect is considering higher taxes for items that are considered non-essential, like alcohol, and luxury cars. The report also stated that Duterte has no plans to raise the VAT or taxes on cigarettes and other so-called “sin” products. What could happen if he pushes through with implementing non-essential taxes? Table of ContentsWhat is considered “non-essential”?How does it affect you?What could happen?Final Thoughts What is considered “non-essential”? All taxes levied on non-essential items are called Excise Tax. This is the tax imposed on products made and sold locally and imported products. Among these are alcohol products, tobacco products, automobiles, petroleum, and mineral products. Essentially, all of these products are levied a tax, which leads to these items gaining markup based on a standard retail price, or for imported items, due to costs of importing. These goods are considered non-essential because they aren’t part of everyday consumption and needs. How does it affect you? While the TMAP has confirmed that the President-elect is amenable to raising taxes on non-essential goods, it will affect you directly. Higher taxes on cars may make your dream car more expensive than the original price, and you will pay more for your favorite beer. Despite the definition of “non-essentials” of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Duterte doesn’t plan…

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Need an SSS Loan? Here’s How to Apply

  The Social Security System, or the social insurance program for private employees in the Philippines, offers two types of loans: salary and calamity loans. Salary loans depend on the monthly wage of employees, while calamity loans can be obtained if they live in an area declared to have suffered from natural calamities. Here is how to apply for a salary loan from SSS. Be sure to meet the qualifications and prepare the necessary requirements. Read More: Personal Loan – What to Compare When You Compare Qualifications  A borrower or member must have 36 monthly contributions before the month of filing or 72 recorded monthly contributions if you plan to file for a two-month loan. Additionally, if you are employed, your employer must have up-to-date loan remittances and monthly contributions. You must also have up-to-date payments of other loans acquired such as housing loans from the Unified Home Lending Program (UHLP) of the government. In addition, “final” benefits should not have been granted to you, including retirement and death benefits. Procedures There are actually two ways to apply: personal or online. To apply personally, visit an SSS branch and submit a duly filled-up application form together with your SSS ID or E-6 Form and at least two valid IDs with signature. At least one of the IDs presented should have your photo. After submitting requirements, it takes two to three weeks of loan processing. You can get your loan check from your employer if you are a full-time employee. Self-employed members need to pick it up from the branch. Members who registered on their website can also apply for a salary loan online through the…

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3 Facts about the No Contact Apprehension Policy

If you’re a fan of science fiction, you’re familiar to the possibility of using technology to enforce traffic laws, or to stop crimes in progress. In 2011, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority tested out a No-Contact Apprehension policy, which aims to increase the apprehension of traffic violators that on-ground traffic personnel is unable to. If you’re curious on what the No Contact Apprehension policy means, here are some answers to your burning questions. Table of ContentsWhat is it?How it worksWhy do this?Final Thoughts What is it? The No Contact Apprehension policy – or the No Physical Contact Apprehension program – was developed by the MMDA to penalize traffic violators even if they aren’t physically caught by an enforcer. It won’t be a replacement for physical apprehension, but an additional way for violators to be caught. Under this program, “Swerving” is still not a violation, but changing lanes can still be considered the offense of reckless driving if done without proper precautions. Under the policy, violators will be detected through the use of footage culled from the agency’s network of CCTV cameras. How it works In addition to footage from CCTV, violators may be penalized through footage from smartphones and digital cameras. The policy dictates that those caught with “moving violations” will be served notice regarding the violation. They will be given seven days from the receipt of the notice to settle the fines or contest the violation with the MMDA’s traffic adjudication division. The footage will archive violators’ license plate numbers, and those who fail to settle the violation after a final notice will have their records handed over to the Land Transportation Office with a recommendation to prevent the car’s registration renewal until such a time…

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What’s Being Done to Fix the Philippine Tax System

Filing taxes – it’s one of the most pressing concerns of the Filipino people come tax season. From the high tax rates to the tedious filing process, the Philippine tax system is under plenty of scrutinies. Just recently, auditing and tax advising firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) released its Paying Taxes 2015 study. The research provided tax-related information on 189 economies. Data included in the study are the total tax rate per country, the average number of hours taken to file taxes (for companies), and various case studies from different economies. The Problems The Philippines ranked 127th out of 189 economies when it comes to the ease of paying taxes. The country ranks behind even Iraq and Afghanistan, two countries plagued with war and political crises. In the Philippines, it takes 193 hours to pay 36 kinds of taxes (for companies) versus the 4 tax payments in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, both tied in 1st place. For UAE-based companies, it takes 12 hours to pay the 4 taxes while it takes 41 hours for those in Qatar. Below are difficulties Philippine taxpayers and corporations encounter during tax season: difficult tax structure inefficient filing process inaccessibility of the online platform multiple documentary requirements (for self-employed individuals) outdated tax rates With the problems above, it’s no surprise it takes almost 200 hours to file and pay taxes in the Philippines. Just last April 15, during filing season, Filipinos expressed distress over the BIR’s e-filing system. A month before the deadline for filing taxes, the BIR issued a new regulation mandating that all taxpayers…

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6 Ways the SEC Protects You from Scams

It’s only September, yet the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has already released more than 15 warnings – higher than the 12 released in the whole of 2014 – against scams. With over billions of pesos lost in these illegal activities, Filipinos should guard their hard-earned money and not be persuaded by the ‘guaranteed returns’ these scams promote. Fortunately, the SEC is doing its best to warn Filipinos of potential scams. In a statement, the SEC has declared that it will “not hesitate to invoke the full force of the law by imposing sanctions and by filing criminal charges against these violators”. But just how does the SEC actually protect you against scams? Table of ContentsHow SEC Protects You from Scams1. Giving Filipinos the right information2. Releasing warnings against fraudulent companies3. Registering legitimate companies4. Suspending scammers with cease-and-desist orders (CDOs)5. Bringing criminal charges against unregistered companies6. Giving the authority to solicit investmentsHow You Can Pinpoint a Scam1. Effortless and impressive ROIs2. Name changing3. Recruitment modelProtect Your Hard-Earned Money How SEC Protects You from Scams 1. Giving Filipinos the right information The SEC released an investment scam checklist Filipinos can use to determine whether or not the business they are dealing with is legitimate. The checklist includes getting the following: Name of the person Name of the company Address of the person and the company Landline number (not mobile number) SEC registration The following information allows you to validate the person and the company’s credibility. You can also check the person’s name on LinkedIn and look for positive or negative news…

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A Guide to Claiming PhilHealth Benefits

Hospitalization can cost upwards of PHP 25,000, and paying out of pocket is your only option if you don’t have insurance. PhilHealth, or the Phillippine Health Insurance Corporation, provides PhilHealth benefits to all employed members. Read More: Complete List of PhilHealth Benefits for Regular and Voluntary Members As a member, you’re entitled to health and hospitalization subsidies for you or any dependents you have enrolled. As of 2014, hospitalized members need not directly file their claims. Here’s how you can claim your PhilHealth benefits: Table of ContentsStep 1: Conditions and EligibilityStep 2: Required DocumentsStep 3: Claiming and Post-Claims Step 1: Conditions and Eligibility To be eligible to avail of your PhilHealth benefits when hospitalized, the following conditions must be met: Payment of at least 3 months’ worth of premiums within the immediate 6 months of confinement. For pregnancies, availment of the newborn care package, dialysis, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and selected surgical procedures, 9 months’ worth of contributions in the last 12 months is needed. Confinement in an accredited hospital for 24 hours due to illness or disease requiring hospitalization. Attending physician(s) must also be PhilHealth accredited. Claim is within the 45 days allowance for room and board. Step 2: Required Documents You’ll also need to submit the following documents before being discharged from the hospital for automatic deduction: A Clear, Updated copy of your Member Data Record (MDR). If you are dependent, make sure that you are listed in the MDR. An original copy of PhilHealth Claim Form 1, which you can get at Philhealth, the hospital or your employer. Submit the…

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Here’s How You Can Claim a Confiscated Driver’s License

There are certain major violations that can result in your license being confiscated. Remember that the only people who can take your license are duly deputized by the Land Transportation Office. They should properly identify themselves and give you a ticket clearly describing your violation. Read More: Who Can Actually Confiscate Your Driver’s License? Reclaiming your license and paying the fines listed for your violation should be done within five working days to avoid penalties. Here’s how to do it. Table of ContentsStep 1: Head to the enforcement officeStep 2: Pay the fineStep 3: DifferencesStep 4: Claiming Step 1: Head to the enforcement office The citation issued to you will have the location of the enforcement office where you can claim your license. In the case of your license being confiscated by local government enforcement officers, you will need to head for the office stated on the ticket. For example, violations in Manila means that you need to go to Manila City Hall to settle the penalties. If your license is confiscated by LTO deputized traffic officials, head to the district office, or in the case of violations on the major highways, to the LTO main office in East Ave., Quezon City. Step 2: Pay the fine The procedure differs depending on which enforcement agency confiscated your license. For the LTO, you will be given a resolution document that must be presented along with the citation. Present these to the cashier so you can pay the fine and other fees. For licenses confiscated by local government enforcers, present the ticket at…

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LTO’s New “No Registration – No Travel” Policy

You’ve probably seen a lot of cars without license plates, or with boards that simply say “For Registration”. Starting April 1, the Land Transportation Office will be enforcing a “No Registration – No Travel” policy in conjunction with R.A. 4136, Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01. Starting April 1, the Land Transportation Office will be enforcing a “No Registration – No Travel” policy in conjunction with R.A. 4136, Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01. Read more: The Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act According to this, any four-wheeled vehicle without its license plates can be stopped and will be required to present the vehicle’s Certificate of Registration and Official Receipt. The same is true if special plates are ordered. Strict penalties will be imposed on anyone found driving a vehicle without plates – ranging from PHP 5,000 for those who have completed their registration but haven’t attached their plates. A penalty of PHP 10,000 will be imposed on a driver who fails to produce the CR/OR – or the following documents: • Certificate of stock reported • Sales Invoice, dated seven days prior to apprehension • Certificate of Insurance Cover, dated on or after the date of the Sales Invoice. A further PHP 1,000 fine will be imposed on the driver for reckless driving. While the original enforcement of this was meant to be in November of 2014, LTO Secretary Jun Abaya stated that the reason for the delay in the policy’s enforcement was the lack of license plates being issued to the public. The agency plans on enforcing it to the letter, and…

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UMID Card (Unified Multi-Purpose ID Card) Application

These days, integration into a single system is a trend. It matters to a lot of people that they have a single ID available to them at any given time. Plenty of websites for example, include single sign-in or sign-up processes via Facebook integration or Google+. By the same token, the Philippine government has essentially attempted to integrate a member’s SSS, GSIS, Pag-Ibig, and PhilHealth information onto a single card in the form of the UMID Card. Read more: Philippine International Driving Permit Application Table of ContentsWhat is a UMID?Benefits of Getting a UMID CardUMID Application ProcessClaiming Your UMID Card What is a UMID? UMID means Unified Multi-purpose Identification and often called UMID Card. It is a government-issued ID card that lets you transact in four government agencies, namely: SSS, GSIS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG. It is considered as a primary ID document when applying for other government-issued documents or seeking approval for financial products such as applying for a credit card, getting a personal loan or being issued of any insurance product. Benefits of Getting a UMID Card Having a unified ID poses many benefits, one of which is being able to easily transact with all four government offices. The UMID also serves as a valid ID, but does not count as four IDs. It is also reportedly a valid voter’s ID, but it is entirely possible that this function has yet to be implemented. It also functions as a pass for certain transactions, depending on whether or not you are a member of the GSIS and SSS, along with the ability to apply for…

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Who Can Actually Confiscate Your Driver’s License?

James Deakin pointed out in his blog article the issue of contradicting laws in the Philippines when it comes to the confiscation of a motorist’s driver’s license. Have you ever encountered being asked to surrender your license without violating any traffic offense? Here’s what you need to know: Your driver’s license is kind of a general gateway ID. It’s an official government ID, and the only document that allows you to drive within the state boundary. By the same token, it also means that you are considered responsible enough to drive. RA 4136 – or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code – generally states that all drivers must carry their driver’s license at all times when operating a motor vehicle. One cannot operate a motor vehicle without first acquiring a license. (See this application guide if you still do not have one.) In situations where your license may be confiscated or held, it pays to know who can and can’t take it from you. Who can and can’t take it? In general, anyone duly deputized by the Land Transportation Office may confiscate your driver’s license providing that you have actually violated any number of traffic laws – like overspeeding, or parking in a no-parking zone, for example. The definition of “duly deputized” usually refers to officers of the law and the traffic enforcers of the Metro Manila Development Authority. However, a 1991 amendment to the law also makes provisions allowing local government officers (like MAPSA) to confiscate your license – again – if you are in violation of any traffic…

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MMDA on Holidays: Lanes, Free Airport Service, Truck Ban

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) implemented measures in preparation for the Holiday Season in Metro Manila. Table of ContentsNo ‘Christmas Lanes’Free Airport Shuttle ServiceWindow hours for trucks No ‘Christmas Lanes’ MMDA did not implement Christmas Lanes or alternate routes this year because of the major road projects in Metro Manila including some of the alternate routes. Last year, 17 alternative routes within Metro Manila are designated to be Christmas and Mabuhay lanes. Unfortunately, these lanes are not yet available as some are currently under repair. MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency is expecting high volumes of vehicular traffic because of the approximately 100 ongoing road repairs in Metro Manila. Most of them are even not due for completion until 2015. Tolentino said that road rehabilitations by DPWH is expected to suspend all road works and other operations on December 15 and will extend up to midnight of January 5, 2015. Biggest Roads under repair in Metro Manila: V. Mapa Street in Sta. Mesa Ninoy Aquino International Airport elevated expressway Skyway Stage 3 along South Super Highway in Manila Blumentritt Interceptor Project   Free Airport Shuttle Service MMDA launched a free bus shuttle service to airline passengers going to to the domestic airport terminals. Tolentino said the free shuttle service intends to dissuade the passengers from bringing their cars in going to the airport to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road during the holiday period. Tolentino said the MMDA airport shuttle service makes use of six buses – to include electric buses. The buses will pick-up passengers…

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4 Tips for OFWs About the Current Pag-IBIG Fund Law

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) sacrifice a lot in order to give the families they left behind in the Philippines a better life. Thus, it is important that their hard-earned money is put to good use. One of the ways OFWs do this is by becoming a member of Pag-IBIG, a savings program managed by the national government. Before the Pag-IBIG Fund Law of 2009 was introduced, OFWs were not required to register as a Pag-IBIG member. Those who wanted to join applied voluntarily through the Pag-IBIG Overseas Program (POP). This program was initiated to give OFWs an opportunity to save for their future as well as to provide them a chance to avail of housing loans. But with the new law requiring OFWs to become a member of the Pag-IBIG Fund, how will it affect the membership of OFWs who applied under POP or the current Pag-IBIG Fund? What will happen to the contributions under POP? Will it be combined with the OFWs current savings? Here are some of the things OFWs need to know about RA 9679: Table of Contents1. Republic Act 9679 of the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 20092. POP Membership vs. Pag-IBIG I (RA 9679)3. Applying as a Member4. Membership ContributionHow about for those who have been contributing for POP?Benefits of being a Pag-IBIG member 1. Republic Act 9679 of the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009 Known as the Pag-IBIG Fund Law of 2009, this aims to improve the Filipino quality of life by offering housing assistance for every member. Moreover, it also…

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Road Reblocking Weekend (October 17-20, 2014)

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will continue on road reblocking and repairs starting 10 pm of October 17 until October 20, so avoid these areas: Araneta Avenue from Maria Clara Street to Quezon Avenue, 2nd lane (SB) Fairview Avenue from Fairlane Street to Camaro Street, 2nd lane (SB) Mindanao Avenue, 2nd lane (SB) E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue / C-5 between Mercury Avenue and Richmond Avenue, 2nd lane (SB) C.P. Garcia Avenue, Quezon City, University Avenue to Maginhawa Street, 2nd lane (NB) Congressional Avenue (WB & EB) Congressional Avenue Extension, 2nd lane (WB & EB) Metro Manila Development Authority noted that all these affected roads will be fully-passable by 5am on Monday, October 20. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes instead.

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Manila Government Eyes ‘Truck Scheduling’ After Lifting Truck Ban

After lifting the controversial truck ban, the city council is studying another measure to regulate the travel of truckers in the city. According to Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, the new policy would entail ‘truck scheduling’ in the city. As to when, Moreno said, “Soon.” Under the ‘truck scheduling’ scheme, only truckers with appropriate clearances and permits will be able to go to the port area. The current situation is that some truckers go to the Manila port even if their clearances had yet to be released, thus cause unnecessary traffic volume in the city. “Gusto ko pong linawin, ‘yun pong mga nakikita ninyong truck sa pier ngayon, hindi po lahat ‘yan may customer. Alam niyo hinihintay nila, nagbabakasakali sila na baka tawagan sila ng brokerage [firm],” he said, adding that truckers would wait up to five hours before leaving the port. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada indefinitely lifts the day-time truck ban (Executive Order 67) during a press conference on Saturday, September 13. This is to ease the worsening traffic in the Metro, port congestion problem and among other concerns. While the ordinance got mixed reactions from motorists, agriculture sector and trucker groups, the implementation has benefited residents, students, employees, and commuters. However, Estrada said he decided to lift the truck ban to give the national government leeway in implementing a solution to decongest the port area. And also, granting the request of the business sector, particularly the truckers, for a moratorium on the truck ban to help solve the problem of congestion in Manila’s ports. Read more about the…

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Pag-IBIG Allots P9.5 Billion for its Calamity Loan Program for Earthquake, Yolanda Victims

After a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super-typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayas region, the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG) has made available close to P 10 billion for its calamity loan program for provinces in regions affected by those disasters. Pag-IBIG allotted P4.5 billion for the program after an earthquake hit Central Visayas last October 15. The agency also allotted another P5 billion for the program after Typhoon Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas last November 8. Pag-IBIG’s Calamity Loan Program for Victims of the Bohol Earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda Pag-IBIG’s calamity loan program is open to any member of the fund who has made at least 24 monthly savings contributions. They will be eligible for the loan if they live in an area declared as under a state of calamity. The eligible member can loan up to 80% of their savings in the fund. The loan has an interest rate of 5.95% per annum and is payable for over 24 months. Members need to submit a completed calamity loan application and two valid ID cards at any Pag-IBIG branch to apply for the loan. They have a window of 90 days from the disaster to apply for the loan. Pag-IBIG is giving those with loans a grace period of 3 months and the member who availed of the loan will start paying the loan on the 4th month after the check date. SunStar reported last November 28 that Pag-IBIG has already disbursed a total of P380.2 million worth of the loans to its members that were affected by the Bohol…

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Housing Loan and Advanced Pensions for Yolanda Victims

The Social Security System (SSS) announced a relief package for those affected by Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan). Through the Calamity Relief Package of the SSS, members living in areas affected by the typhoon can avail of salary and housing repair loans that offer easier-to-pay terms. Affected pensioners can also avail of up to three months advanced pensions. Members of the retirement fund for private-sector employees are eligible for the Calamity Relief Package if they live in a calamity area officially declared by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). President Aquino declared a state of national calamity on November 11, 2013 or three days after typhoon Yolanda hit central Visayas. Prior to this, the last time that Aquino declared a state of national emergency was back in 2012 when Typhoon Pablo ravaged large areas in the southern Philippines. The November 26, 2013 situational report of the NDRRMC shows that the number of damaged houses increased to over 1.1 million houses. Of this figure, 530,479 were totally destroyed while 573,149 were partially destroyed. The figures highlight how many could benefit from the Calamity Relief Package by the SSS. “Under the calamity relief package, members and pensioners have six months to apply for Salary Loans and three-month advance pensions, and one year for the House Repair and Improvement Loans,” said SSS Vice President and Officer-in-Charge for Lending and Asset Management Division May Catherine Ciriaco. She adds that the policy will help members and pensioners focus on recovering from injuries and caring for affected relatives. Easier SSS Housing Loan and…

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