Tag Archives: Philippine Senate

Philippine Senate Approves 1,500 Percent Increase In Balikbayan Box Tax Exemption

imageMANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – We asked Siri what 1,500% of P10,000 was, and her answer was P150,000. And that’s exactly what the Philippine Senate wants in terms in an increase in the tax-exemption for Balikbayan boxes.

The Balikbayan box is part of the Philippine government’s incentive program for Filipino expatriates to encourage them to send goods to their loved ones back home, tax-free.  The current tax-free limit is P10,000.

The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill that would not only modernize the Bureau of Customs (BoC) but would also raise the tax-exempt value of balikbayan boxes from P10,000 to P150,000.

Senate Bill No. 2968, known as the Customs Modernization and Tarrif Act (CMTA), was approved by the chamber Monday.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means and sponsor of the bill, said the measure aims to amend the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) in compliance with the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) which is a blueprint for “modern and efficient customs procedures” of the World Customs Organization.

If it becomes law, what does the bill mean for overseas Filipinos?

It means they can stop going to Walmart or Costco to buy bulk items or designer goods to pack into their Balikbayan boxes.

They will now be able to shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as buy grocery items from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  It also means that the  high-definition, flat screen television sets they send to their families back home can now be as large as 69 inches, as opposed to the usual 29 inches.

It’s really more fun in the Philippines, especially if you have relatives in the U.S. and other countries.



imageMANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles ) – Ah, the price of peace in the Philippines!

The proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region that will be created should the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) be passed is expected to receive P336.9 billion total funds over a period of five years. This includes the nearly P37 billion allocations for 2016 approved by the Committee on Appropriations and Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) projected that the Bangsamoro region is set to receive a total of P56.6 billion in 2016; P58.2 billion in 2017; P65.9 billion in 2018; P73.5 billion in 2019; and, P82.7 billion in 2020.

President NoyNoy Aquino and many legislators are aggressively campaigning for the approval of the controversial  BBL, in their desperate attempt to put an end to the decades-long Muslim insurgency and separatist movement  in southern Philippines.

The Philippine government, of course, has been steadfast in its “no ransom” policy for the kidnapping of foreigners as well as Filipino citizens.  But Aquino and the legislators seem to be willing to violate that same policy to buy back  the elusive peace in Mindanao.

Money talks. But the question is : whose money?

(We think they’re  called taxpayers.)


Santiago, Philippines' Iron Lady
Santiago, Philippines’ Iron Lady

Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Philippine Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is often referred to as the ‘Iron Lady of the Philippines.’ She is not one to hold back on criticizing or condemning politicians who are corrupt or who use their elective positions to enrich themselves or propagate their political careers or dynasty. She is often mentioned as a viable candidate for president in the 2016 elections.

Unfortunately, she was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, forcing her to take a leave of absence from her Senate duties.  In the last couple of weeks, she had announced that 80% of her cancer is gone and that she is seriously considering a run for president in 2016.

For the first time since  her cancer diagnosis, Santiago returned to the Senate and announced that she was filing a new bill that would legalize the use of the middle finger against corrupt politicians. “As for the jerks in government, they are the reason God created the middle finger,” she said as she introduced her new bill.

“If my bill will pass, I will use my middle finger unsparingly to expose anomalies , corruption and stupidity that are so rampant and pervasive in our government ” she declared.

Will she become the new  Margaret Thatcher?