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PSA Forum starts year with volleyball coaches

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 00:00 Published in Sports

The two newly-appointed coaches of the national volleyball teams get to reveal their plans and programs as they join top officials of the Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) as special guests in the first session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum for the year 2017 today at Shakey’s Malate.
Sammy Acaylar and Francis Vicente talk about the blueprint they’re trying to draw since being named as coaches of the Philippine men’s and women’s volleyball teams, respectively. With them in the 10:30 a.m. public sports program are LVPI officers Joey Romasanta and Peter Cayco.
Triathlete Monica Torres and representatives of the coming Manila 10’s Rugby Festival complete the week’s guests list in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., and aired live over dzSR Sports Radio 918.

Team Southeast Asia leads Pradera girls

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 00:00 Published in Sports

LUBAO, Pampanga — Team Southeast Asia fended off Team Pradera’s charge in the afternoon foursomes, forcing a 2 1/2-2 1/2 tie yesterday to pull away by six, 13-7, heading to today’s singles matches in the Pradera Ladies Challenge at the Pradera Golf and Country Club course here.
The visiting squad pounded the hosts anew with its solid game from its youth brigade, scoring a 3 1/2-1 1/2 victory in the morning four-ball to build a huge cushion going to the alternate shot format where Team Pradera fought back to keep its slim hopes alive.
But its six-point output in the day and 13 points overall put Team Southeast Asia (SEA) within two wins and a draw in today’s 10 singles match as it zeroes in on the inaugural staging of the Ryder Cup-style event among the region’s top amateurs and rising stars.
“Our selection is really stronger. Team Pradera did not have much to choose from that’s probably why we are better than them,” said Team SEA co-captain Phunumpa Pornperapan, whose squad boasts of national players from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Thai Atthaya Thitikul, 13, nailed her fourth straight win as she teamed up with Malaysian Geraldine Wong to post a 4&2 triumph over Nicole Abelar and Mika Arroyo in four-ball then partnered with Kan Bunnabodee to beat Missy Legaspi and Mika Arroyo in foursomes, 4&3.
Thai Onkanok Soisuwan and Geraldine Wong then held off Mikha Fortuna and Annyka Cayabyab, 2-up, before the Nicole Abelar-Tomi Arejola and Bernice Ilas-Sofia Chabon tandems pulled off a 3&2 and 2-up victories over Thais Tunrada Piddon, Napaghach Boon-in and Malaysians Natasha Oon-Winnie Ng for Team Pradera.
Pau Del Rosariio and Abby Arevalo fought to an all-square match with Michela Tjan of Indonesia and Malaysian Qistina Azhar to split the afternoon duel of the event put up by Archen Cayabyab and Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab in consultation with coach Norman Sto. Domingo and organized by Forthinker Inc., headed by chairman Marilen Nuñez.
While stressing the need to draw more quality games from her lead players, Team Pradera co-skipper Jennfier Rosales remains hopeful of a miraculous comeback in the singles.
“I’ll put my strongest in the first five pairings. We’re too far behind and we need to pile up points early,” said the former two-time Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour champion.
Team SEA, bannered by the national players of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, took charge early with a 4-1 win in four-ball early Sunday then hacked out a 3-2 win in the afternoon foursomes to seize a 7-3 lead in the opener.

Infra buildup, higher growth in tax reform

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 00:00 Published in Business

The Philippines would be hard put in the years ahead to keep Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth above six percent and maintain its status as one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies without a massive infrastructure buildup funded mainly via tax reform, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said funding the Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure program by raising sufficient revenues for tax reform, rather than relying primarily on borrowings, is necessary to keep the budget deficit within the manageable level of three percent of GDP beginning 2017.
The incremental revenues estimated to be collected from the first package of the Department of Finance-proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), amounting to some P163 billion in 2018, is consistent with the planned increase in the budget deficit from 2.7 percent of GDP in 2016 to three percent of GDP from 2017 till the remainder of the Duterte presidency.
He said that without tax reform, the deficit of three percent of GDP will be breached, leaving the country susceptible to an unsustainable fiscal position, which could lead to a credit rating downgrade that is below investment grade.
“The non-passage of the tax reform package now pending in the Congress will have dire consequences not only on our hard-earned gains in improving our macroeconomic fundamentals but also on the lives of our poor and vulnerable fellow Filipinos,” Dominguez said.
He pointed out that accelerating spending on infrastructure would not only fill the massive backlog left behind by the previous administrations, but would also create more jobs, which would further spur economic growth and help free some six million Filipinos from extreme poverty over the next five years.
“This means there will be no letup in the Duterte administration’s commitment to spending big on urban and rural infrastructure as a growth driver, to guarantee sustained high, inclusive growth,” the finance chief said.
Dominguez explained that the economy’s growth trajectory is already approaching close to our potential growth, and higher growth will only be possible if the country has better infrastructure to support stronger demand and a burgeoning population.
He said the timely approval of the CTRP is crucial to the financial viability of the Duterte administration’s higher public spending policy because it aims to correct our tax system’s “inherent flaws, such as non-indexation to inflation of rates and large scope of exemptions and special treatments that complicates tax administration” that have for long prevented the BIR and BOC from consistently meeting, much less surpassing, their annual revenue targets.
“Without the tax reform and the higher infrastructure investment, economic growth will be slower in the coming years, and we will be hard pressed to grow above 6 percent,” he said.
“This can cost the government around P30 billion more in debt servicing. It can also leave the government more vulnerable to fiscal risk as increasing liabilities, such as pensions of uniformed personnel, will be left without funding sources,” Dominguez said.
Infrastructure spending, according to the National Economic and Development Authority, should be increased from 5.4 percent of GDP in 2017 to seven percent of the GDP in the following years to achieve the country’s vision of reducing poverty and becoming an upper middle income economy by 2022 and close to becoming a high-income one by 2040.
“This means there will be no letup in the Duterte administration’s commitment to spending on urban and rural infrastructure as a growth driver, to guarantee sustained high and inclusive growth,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez traced the country’s infrastructure backlog—a deficiency that has blunted the Philippines’ competitiveness in the region as an investment destination—to the sad reality that while the Philippine government has been spending on average just 2.7 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP), our Southeast Asian peers have devoted at least five percent of their respective GDPs to infrastructure investments.
He said reforms in tax policy, which require prior congressional approval, will raise additional revenues of P163 billion in 2018 to help bankroll the government’s ambitious infra program.
He noted that the economy’s strong showing in the third quarter with GDP growth at 7.1 percent, is its best in three years. The country’s growth was faster than China’s 6.7 percent, Vietnam’s 6.4 percent, Indonesia’s 5 percent and Malaysia’s 4.3 percent.
Dominguez said the highly optimistic outlook on the Philippines by credit raters and international institutions is premised on the delivery of President Duterte’s commitment to accelerate spending on infrastructure, which can only be accomplished though tax reform.
Package One the CTRP was submitted by the DOF to the Congress last Sept. 26.
Dominguez said the DOF welcomes the recent statement of Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua, who chairs the House ways and means committee tackling tax reform, that his panel will approve CTRP’s first package this January, while the House will likely act on it in plenary in the middle of this year.
This will let the government keep its target of implementing the tax reforms beginning 2018, he said.
In the medium-term, tax reform is expected to help reduce the poverty rate from 21.6 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2022, lifting some six million Filipinos out of poverty, and helping the country achieve upper middle income country status where per capita gross national income increases from $3,550 in 2015 to at least $4,900 by 2022, close to where Thailand is today.
If this momentum is sustained, the country would be well on its way to becoming a high-income economy by 2040 with a per capita gross national income of a least $11,000, which is where Malaysia is right now, he added.
Package One proposes to lower personal income tax rates, broaden the Value Added Tax (VAT) base, and increase the excise taxes on oil products and automobiles.
The lowering of personal income tax rates, a promise that Duterte made during the 2016 poll campaign, will increase the take-home pay of workers and make local tax rates more competitive, according to Finance Usec. Karl Kendrick Chua.
A broader VAT base will level the playing field and reduce massive leakages, while higher excise taxes on oil products and automobiles will improve the progressivity of the tax system as richer households consume far more of these products, he said.
“Meanwhile, to protect the poor and vulnerable sectors, highly targeted transfers and subsidies will be provided as part of the ramp up of social spending from 37.3 percent of the 2016 budget to 40.1 percent of the 2017 budget,” he said.

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