Official Week in Review: January 12 – January 18, 1973

Tags: ,

January 12—

MAJORITY OF THE 53 per cent of the citizens assemblies which have completed the referendum on vital issues submitted to them have voiced overwhelming support for the way President Marcos is running the government, for the continuation of Martial Law, and for the approval of the proposed new charter except that portion of it on the interim National Assembly. Assistant Executive Secretary Flores A. Bayot who toured some provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao, reported a heavy turnout of local residents at the assemblies. He estimated that some 95 per cent of those who participated in the assemblies endorsed the issues submitted to them. Mr. Bayot likewise reported that the people favor continuation of Martial Law because under it they can have more hope of a better life.

SECRETARY OF PUBLIC Information Francisco S. Tatad appealed to the local Chinese community and other foreign groups to support and extend their full cooperation In the realization of objectives of the New Society because no alien guests whose only purpose is to amass profits will be tolerated. The secretary stressed it is important for the aliens who have decided to build their homes and future in the country to involve themselves in the causes and motivations that, impelled President Marcos to institute the reforms in the New Society. Mr. Tatad, addressing the bi-monthly meeting of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce, likewise favored the assimilation of local Chinese culture into the Filipino way of life because “there is no way out you . . .  are here and should help us.”

DR. PACIFICO E. MARCOS, chairman of the Philippine Medical Care Commission, reiterated to medicare members compulsorily covered by the Medicare Law, that when they require hospitalization, all they need is to go to a hospital of their choice and be attended to immediately. Dr. Marcos said that in seeking hospitalization or treatment from hospitals or doctors of their choice, the medicare members should bring with them only proofs of active participation in the medicare program, such as: 1) Employer’s Medicare Contribution Certification, 2) SSS Identification Card (for SSS members) and GSIS Policy (for GSIS members), 3) Current year employment Identification Card, and 4) Any other proof indicating active membership with the SSS or the GSIS which may include the new Residence Certificate. After presenting any of the proofs, all hospitals and all doctors are duty bound to render the necessary services for the treatment of a medicare patient without exacting any advance payments whether partially or in full from him for services within the benefits allowed by the Medicare Law, Dr. Marcos said.

SELECTIVE BIR OFFICES especially in the national office at the Finance Building Agrifina Circle, are open on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays to accommodate taxpayers. Taxpayers may pay taxes at the Sound floor of the Finance building, seek information at the Tax Information Division, second floor; obtain tax clearance certificates at the third floor Tax Accounts Division, and seek information on presidential tax decrees. A pool of competent BIR officials has been organized on these days so that taxpayers could be helped with authority. BIR regional offices are also open on these days.

BIR COMMISSIONER Misael P. Vera stressed anew the secrecy and inviolate nature of returns filed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue by persons who voluntarily report previously untaxed income or wealth pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 23, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 67. “These returns will be kept in a secret file and will not be subjected to any examination,” Commissioner Vera said. He stated that Revenue Regulations No. 15-72 penalizes any person who discloses information relating to the declaration with an imprisonment of not more than two years.

ALL CITIZENS ARE called upon by the Dangerous Drugs Board to equip themselves with the basic factual knowledge of drug abuse so they can effectively help combat the growing menace. Secretary of Health Clemente S. Gatmaitan, DDB chairman, made the call in an address at the opening of the training course on narcotics and ‘dangerous drug control and investigation at the Police Commission Academy in Fort Bonifacio. Mr. Gatmaitan stressed that like the trainees taking the course, the citizenry must equally take concern and familiarize themselves with the symptoms and effect to drugs, adding that they must be prepared to recognize who are the villains and who are the victims. Drug addiction is a grave threat in the school environment, in the home and in various sectors of society, drawing thousands of people to drug dependency and draining themselves of millions of pesos to the illicit drug trade, according to Mr. Gatmaitan.

SOCIAL WELFARE Secretary Estefania Aldaba Lim announced that the DSW is stepping up its comprehensive five-year program so that a larger percentage of the program’s target population will be served this year. Secretary Lim said the encouraging results reaped by the DSW during the last six months inspired her to push through the five-year program (1972-76) of the department. The DSW program is designed to provide wider socio-economic opportunities and open avenues for more social benefits for families in the submarginal group or those whose average monthly income is P90 and below. This group comprises 30 per cent (10.9 million) of the Philippine population.

January 13

TAXPAYERS ACCOUNT NUMBER (TAN) is required of all applicants for residence certificates. This was stressed by Secretary of Finance Cesar E. A. Virata as queries on the matter continued to pour in from all parts of the country. Those who do not have TAN’s may acquire the same in the BIR national office or in the revenue district offices covering their respective areas. Sec. Virata pointed out that Executive Order No. 213 dated March 5, 1970 requires the extensive use of the TAN in all government transactions. The executive order requires “all departments bureaus, offices, agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, to require every individual, corporation, partnership, and association to state or place on all documents and records of any business transaction between persons and entities whose documents need to be registered, to state or place on said records and documents their tax account number.”

ALL PROVINCIAL AND city treasurers and assessors were exhorted to exert utmost effort to collect all delinquent real estate taxes. Finance Secretary Virata made the exhortation after learning that P108 4 million in realty taxes was not collected in Calendar Year 1971 Secretary Virata said that out of a total amount of P241.230.788 collectibles m real property taxes in 1971 from 66 provinces and 61 cities, only P132,892,578 was collected, representing 55.06 per cent of the collectibles, leaving a balance of P108,401,210 still to be collected.

PRESIDENT MARCOS called on the leaders of Congress and the Constitutional convention to submit their recommendations on the advisability of referring more questions of national importance to the citizens assemblies, even as reports on the referendum from different parts of the country continued to be highly favorable to the administration. The president had ordered the holding of citizen assemblies in lieu of open debate on the- Constitution over the radio and television which had been abused by elitist groups, because citizens assemblies afforded more free debate and gave the barrio people from 15 years old and above a chance to air their personal views. Meanwhile, some 53 per cent of the citizen assemblies which had completed the referendum on vital issues: 1) Voiced overwhelming support of the way President Marcos is running the government; 2) Approved the continuation of Martial Law; 3) Approved the proposed new Constitution with the exception of the provision on an interim National Assembly; and 4) Rejected the holding of elections in November.

January 14

TOTAL OF 42,237 community development projects costing P52 million were completed by the rural folk with the help of the Presidential Arm on Community Development (PACD) last year. The projects, ranging from big irrigation dams to multi-purpose health centers and feeder roads, provided immediate solution to some long-felt problems of the rural masses. Of the projects completed last year, 1,487 were financed through the grants-in-aid program at the cost of P15.3 million. PACD contributed P2.5 million. The rest were shouldered by the barrio people themselves, socio-civic organizations and civic spirited citizens. The greater bulk of the finished projects was purely self-help undertakings worth P36.7 million. Financed solely by the rural folk with the help of their respective local governments, these projects were generated by the grants-in-aid program that now benefit some 2,771,000 people in the rural areas.

NATIONAL GRAINS AUTHORITY reported to President Marcos that necessary steps have been taken to improve the image of what used to be a graft-ridden entity then known as the Rice and Corn Administration In his year-end report to the President, the NGA administrator said the following moves have been adopted: 1) Institution of safeguards to avoid the pitfalls that beset the rice program of the government in the past; 2) A thorough house cleaning at the defunct RCA to eliminate opportunities for graft; and 3) A rigid screening of new personnel of the NGA to ensure competent and responsive service.

CUSTOMS COMMISSIONER Rolando Geotina said that government importations subject to taxes and duties under the new Tariff and Customs Code may be released by the Bureau of Customs on condition that the importing government agency concerned submit a “commitment paper.” The commitment paper, the customs chief explained, could come in the form of a certification from the head of the importing government agency he will include and work for a budgetary outlay to pay for the taxes and duties due to the importations in the next budget of the office concerned. All collector of customs were circularized to enforce strictly the tenor of the regulation to prevent possible clogging of piers and harbors by the continued stay in port of such importations and likewise in order that it will not imperil the early completion of government projects for which such importation have been made.

January 15—

LIM SENG, alias Gan Sou So, died before an eight-man firing squad early this morning after a military tribunal convicted him for manufacturing and peddling heroin to the country’s youth. The Chinese paid for his crime of trafficking in illegal drugs like morphine, heroin and marijuana at 6 a.m. at the firing range in Fort Bonifacio. Seven caliber .30 MI slugs plowed through his body, and m a little over a minute, it was: all over for him. By tradition, one rifle was loaded only with a blank cartridge. The more than 5,000 witnesses who elbowed their way to get a glimpse of the military execution and the 10,000 others who plodded their way to Fort Bonifacio at sunrise m an effort to be on hand at the proceedings, appeared to have expressed no sympathy for the alien who had victimized thousands of young innocent lives in the 10 years that he was in illegal operation as heroin manufacturer.

SOME 14 MILLION members of the citizens assemblies in 65 reporting provinces and 58 reporting chartered cities and the baranggays in Manila and other localities have overwhelmingly come, out against the holding of Congress session this month, while 14,602,000 endorsed the continuation of Martial Law. Only three provinces and three cities have not yet submitted the results on the citizens referendum. Those against the holding of Congress sessions represent 94 per cent, while only six per cent or 894,000 favor the opening of Congress. Reaction to other vital issues: 1) Do you approve of the citizens assemblies as the base of popular government to decide issues affecting our people? Yes, 98.8 per cent (14;721,200); No, 1.2 per cent (178,800). 2) Do you approve of the new Constitution? Yes, 97 per cent (14,453,000); No, three per, cent. (442,000). 3) Do you still want a plebiscite to be called to ratify the new Constitution?. Yes, seven per cent (1,043,000) ; No, 93 per cent (13,857,000). 4) Do you want to hold elections in November 1973 as provided for in the 1935 Constitution? Yes, 11 per cent (1,639,000); No, 89 per cent (13,261,000). 5) Do you want Martial Law to continue? Yes, 98 per cent (14,602,000); No, two per cent (298,000).

PRESIDENT MARCOS pledged to overcome all threats to his life and to safeguard the life of the Republic “not only with our lives but with everything that we have, including honor itself.” The President made the pledge in an extemporaneous speech at the parade and review held in his honor at Malacañang Park, marking the second anniversary of the Presidential Security Command. Mr. Marcos recalled that from 1965 to 1969 there were many attempts against his life and that from 1969 to 1970 there were many plots and conspiracies not only against the life of the President but also against the life of the Republic. “We shall continue to meet these threats, these plots, these conspiracies, firm in the resolve that while we serve our people, while we adhere to the basic principles and tenets of our Constitution and democracy, while we fight for an ultimate kind of freedom which we must guard not only with our lives but with everything that we have, including honor itself which we value more than life, then there is hope for this country and there is hope, for this Republic,” the President stressed.

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 98 regulating the issuance of license plates of all motor vehicles to promote traffic safety at night and to further aid the campaign against night crimes and lawlessness was issued by President Marcos. The decree provides that: 1) The Bureau of Land Transportation shall cause reflective number plates to be prepared and issued to owners of motor vehicles and trailers registered under R.A. 4136, charging for each pair, including the numerals indicating the year of registry, a fee of not more than 15 per cent higher than the acquisition cost; 2) All motor vehicles exempted from payment of legislation fees, motor vehicles for hire and privately-owned motor vehicles shall bear plates so designed and reflectorized with different colors as to distinguish one class from another; and 3) No two license plate numbers bearing the same numerals shall be issued to any motor vehicles regardless of the place of issue or the type, kind or ownership of the motor vehicle.

PRESIDENT MARCOS likewise issued Presidential Decree No. 99 emancipating household help throughout the country from a lifetime of exploitation by increasing their monthly wages and providing penalties for its violation. The decree, dated Jan. 15, provides for a monthly rate of not lower than P60 for house helpers in Manila and the suburban areas located in the province of Rizal; not lower than P45 for those m other chartered cities and first class municipalities. The decree takes effect 30 days after the Secretary of Labor has promulgated the implementing rules and regulations. Covered by the P60-rate are Manila, Quezon City, Pasay City and Caloocan City, and the municipalities of Makati, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Muntinglupa, Navotas, Malabon, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Marikina, in the province of Rizal.

January 16

SOME 120 provincial governors and city mayors informed the President that the people had voted “almost unanimously” during the Jan. 10-15 referendum to have the new Constitution considered ratified. The local executives who reported the results of the referendum made through meetings of some 35,000 citizens assemblies and barangays, also informed the President that the people have spoken overwhelmingly for the continuation of the present policies of the administration.

BRIG. GEN. Fidel V. Ramos, PC chief, appealed to all lawless elements in eight provinces and nine cities in the South to take advantage of Presidential Decree No. 95 granting selective amnesty. Gen. Ramos told those affected by the selective amnesty decree that they have until Feb. 28 to return to the folds of the law. After Feb. 28, Gen. Ramos said, the full force of the military will be sent out to track them down. Affected by the decree are lawless elements in the provinces of Cotabato, South Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Sulu and Palawan, and the cities of Cotabato, Gen. Santos, Iligan, Marawi, Zamboanga, Pagadian, Basilan, Dipolog and Dapitan.

January 17

PRESIDENT MARCOS, complying with the will of the people as expressed in the January 10-15 referendum through the barangays and citizens assemblies, proclaimed the new Constitution ratified and in force as of 12 noon. In accordance with the unanimous demand of the people, the President also signed along with Proclamation No. 1102 announcing the ratification of the Constitution: 1) Proclamation No 1103 declaring that the interim National Assembly provided for an Art. XVII of the Constitution be not convened; and 2) Proclamation No 1104 for the continuation of Martial Law in accordance with the needs of the time and the desire of the people. The three questions were referred to the people in a referendum designed to broaden the base of citizen participation in the democratic processes and afford ample opportunity for the citizenry to express their voice on important national issues.

ISSUANCE BY PRESIDENT Marcos of Proclamation No. 1102 declaring the new Constitution ratified as of 12 noon has among others, the following important effects: 1) The exercise by the President of the r powers of the President and Prime Minister; 2) Abolition of Congress; 3) The change of the presidential to the parliamentary form of government; and 4) Giving the President the discretion When to call the interim National Assembly. These were the highlights of a briefing given by Justice Undersecretary Efren Plana at the Department of Public Information where he met with local and foreign newsmen.

FREEZING OF ALL information received during the tax amnesty period from informers relative to undeclared income or wealth until after March 31, 1973, was ordered by Secretary of Finance Cesar E. A. Virata. He said that no information from informers should be processed while Presidential Decree No. 23, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 67, is in effect. At the same time, Secretary Virata directed officials of the Department of Finance, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Customs, and the Anti-Smuggling Action Center to adopt all measures to extend full protection to all persons who take advantage of the tax amnesty. Such protection should be from all types of harassment by either government law enforcers or informers. All information from informers will be kept on file so as not to subject persons who are taking advantage of the amnesty to undue harassment. However, the full force of the internal revenue laws and regulations will be applied against all persons who do not declare all their undeclared income or wealth including their assets abroad after March 31, 1973.

PREVIOUSLY UNTAXED INCOME disclosed under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 23 as amended, if consisting wholly or partly of hoarded cash in the Philippines, need not be invested in any area of preferred undertakings. Revenue Commissioner Misael P. Vera clarified today. He said the requirement of investment or deposit of hoarded cash under the tax amnesty decree refers only to previously untaxed income or wealth consisting of “cash hoarded abroad.” The immunities granted now by the tax amnesty include relief from civil, criminal and administrative liabilities arising from or incident to the disclosure under the National Internal Revenue Code, the Revised Penal Code, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Revised Administrative Code, the Civil Service Laws and regulations, Jaws and regulations on immigration and deportation or any other applicable law or proclamation.

OVER 239 FIRMS have expressed their desire to avail of the condonation of penalties on delinquent contributions, according to a report submitted by Administrator Gilberto Teodoro of the Social Security System. The condonation of penalties, as incorporated in Presidential Decree No. 24 amending the Social Security Law, allows the delinquent employers a grace period until April 19, 1973 to remit late contributions, Without the three; per cent monthly penalty. This also includes those employers with pending cases filed with the Social Security Commission, courts, or the fiscal’s office related to delinquent payments.

COMPLETION OF a multi-channel microwave VHF communications system, in the Cagayan Valley, was announced by Director of Telecommunications Pedro P. Villaseñor. With the completion of this system, major towns in the Cagayan Valley will be connected for the first time by modern telephone and telegraph facilities with the rest of the country. The newly completed system provides telecommunications services to the major population centers of Tabuk in Kalinga-Apayao, Tuguegarao in Cagayan province, Ilagan and Santiago in Isabela, and Bayombong in Nueya Vizcaya.

January 18—

PRESIDENT MARCOS issued the following statement on the ratification of the new Constitution:

“The ratification of our new Constitution marks the end of an old era and its old ways; it marks as well the beginning of a future, tinged perhaps with unknown perils for those who are prisoners of their own tears, but nevertheless a future of novel and unsurpassed opportunities for the fulfillment of our people’s long dormant hopes and dreams.

“Our future is here, whether or not we recognize this fact, and there is now no turning back the tide. It is easier perhaps and more comfortable to look back to the solace of a familiar and mediocre past, but the times are too grave and the stakes too high for us to permit the customary concessions to traditional democratic processes to hold back our people’s clear and unequivocal resolve and mandate to meet and overcome the extraordinary challenges presented by these extraordinary times.

“Our people have spoken with wisdom and courage. We must now translate their wishes into concrete positive acts. They want a new Constitution, thus we have a new Constitution. They reject the politics of the old, thus we have ratified the citizens assemblies or the barangays as the organ through which government must now consult with the people, and the people with their government. They do not want our people to bear the cost of an ad interim assembly, so we shall not convene them. In ratifying the new Constitution, we ratified the wisdom of the people; it is now for us to live by that new charter.

“Let not our people be swayed from their chosen path by those who are capable of dispensing only high rhetoric and unredeemable pledges, by those who curse the darkness where there really is light.

“Going the new way will require gifts of character our people innately possess. I invite our people now to close ranks and blaze the way to what I am certain is a secure and happy future, guided by God’s awesome grace and the light of our new Constitution.”

PRESIDENT MARCOS, at the same time, called upon everyone to comply with the provisions of the new Constitution as well as with all the laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations now in force. The President, likewise, called upon all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, barrio captains and all other local officials to continue discharging their duties in accordance with existing laws and with the orderly administration of government. The President pointed out that under the new Constitution, all local officials are to carry on with their functions until otherwise provided by law or by decree. The Chief Executive sounded the call in a message sent out to all citizens assemblies and barangays which he congratulated and to which he conveyed his gratitude for the prompt support and cooperation they extended their government m connection with the recent referendum.

JUSTICE UNDERSECRETARY Efren Plana said that contrary to popular belief, the President did not ratify the new charter but only proclaimed its ratification by the people through the recently concluded referendum initiated by means of the citizens assemblies and barangays all over the country. He said that the nation is now governed by the new charter and because of the “transition nature” of the government’s machinery at present, there is a need for a “concentration of powers” border to have “decisiveness” in recouping lost ground. The undersecretary said that President Marcos may exercise the powers of the Prime Minister and of the President as embodied in the ’72 charter, in addition to his old powers as President under the old Constitution, as provided for in the Charter.

POLICE COMMISSION Chairman Crispino M. De Castro ordered the suspension of nine chiefs of police and 85 policemen from all over the country who have been charged in various administrative cases. The order brings to a total of 738 police personnel ordered suspended by the Polcom since the imposition of Martial Law. Of this number, 34 are chiefs of police. Chairman de Castro said 706 of those now under suspension have been barred from the police service until after the final disposition of their cases.

GREATER DEDICATION to duty by customs appraisers and examiners at the Port of Manila has netted for the government an additional income of P18,441,199, representing collection of tax discrepancies due to misclassification of 2,795 import entries during the second quarter of the current fiscal year from October to December 1972. Customs Commissioner Rolando G. Geotina said that the figure is P9,774,956 more than what was collected during the first quarter, from July to September 1972, which was only P8,666,243.

ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT agencies were reminded by President Marcos that apprehensions and detentions should be made only on the basis of sworn statements of complaining parties and not on charges made merely through anonymous letters or by irresponsible individuals. In the course of his conferences with a number of local executives, the President emphasized that anonymous letters should, at most, be made the bases for investigation or surveillance.

Source: University of the Philippines, College of Law Library

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1973). Official Week in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 69(4), xxxiii-xl.