Official Week in Review: March 2 – March 8, 1973

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March 2—

THE PRESIDENT received the officials of two foreign oil companies, one Australian and the other American, who are at present negotiating with local companies to enter into a service contract with the government for oil prospecting and drilling. The oil executives headed by-Eric Webb, president of Endeavour Oil of Melbourne, Australia, and Tom Holt, vice president of Super Oil of Austin, Texas, USA, are negotiating with Philex, Baguio Gold Mining, Philippines Overseas and Sabina Mining, for oil drilling operations in the Sulu Sea which they described as the “hottest spot” for offshore oil drilling. The officials informed the President that they have already selected the drilling sites and will start operations in three to four months. The government will receive 60 per cent of the net profit while the remaining 40 per cent which is tax free will be shared by the members of the consortium of oil drillers and concession holders.

THE PRESIDENT directed Highway Commissioner Baltazar Aquino to speed up the completion of the roads within the vicinity of Manila, and other priority projects particularly in Mindanao, such as the 209-kilometer Cotabato City-General Santos road. During his conference with Commissioner Aquino, the President also directed that: 1) Loggers along the Marbel-Lapulapu segment of the Cotabato City-General Santos road remove their logs which are blocking road construction, before the end of the month and to pay for damages for roads and bridges caused by them. 2) The Philippine Constabulary immediately to stop logging operations in the Mt. Matutum forest reservation which has been declared off-limits to loggers since three, years back.

TARGET TAX revenue growth of 6.5 per cent for fiscal year 1973; ending June 30, may be surpassed in view of the tax reforms instituted by the President, according to the 1972 annual report of the National Tax Research Center (formerly Joint Legislative-Executive Tax Commission). Noting that a series of natural calamities and the deceleration of the export or stabilization tax had caused a decline in tax collection efforts (ratio of total tax revenue to Gross National Product) in 1972, the NTRC observed that tax reforms became close the revenue-expenditure gap. Additional revenue from the tax reforms, among others, is expected to close or at least narrow the “gap” between revenues and expenditures. The NTRC also noted that in 1971 the tax effort (defined as the ratio of revenue to Gross National Product) has amounted to 11.9 per cent. This slipped down slightly to 11.7, per cent in 1972. This is attributed to the deceleration of the export or stabilization tax by P102 million. In addition to the tax reforms already instituted by the President through various tax decrees, the NTEG recommended further revisions of the National Internal Revenue Code and the Tariff and Customs Code. It also recommended the reexamination of the laws covering real property taxation, and the transfer of certain taxes now collected by the national government to the local governments.

THE PHILIPPINES has been officially invited to participate in the Expo ’74 World’s Fair to be held in Spokane, Washington, from May to. October 1974, according to the Department of Trade and Tourism. The fair is geared to the theme of ecology, or the preservation of the natural elements of the environment. It will be the first world’s fail in the United States within this decade. DTT authorities recommended Philippine participation in the fair for the following reasons: 1) It is an opportune time to maintain and enhance the position of Philippine export products in the US market in view of the termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement in 1974. 2) Expo ’74 will be a propitous stage to display the gains made in the social, political and economic fields under the New Society; and 3) Expo ’74 will be an excellent medium for the exposure of Philippine tourist attractions.

PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY has been organized under the Department of Public Information and is now in operation, DPI Secretary Francisco S. Tatad announced. He said that the PNA is operating on a limited scale from the former offices of the defunct Philippine News Service at the National Press Club building on Magallanes Drive in Port Area, Manila. “Initially the news agency is servicing the major print and radio media in the Manila area,” Secretary Tatad said, “Expansion plans call for the organization of a nationwide and international teletype network,” he said. Two former Philippines Herald editors—Jose Pavia and Renato Tiangco—will manage the PNA, as part of the newly created Bureau of National and Foreign Information.

March 3­

THE PRESIDENT issued Presidential Decree No. 143 prescribing a weekly rest period for workers in any undertaking or enterprise, whether for profit or not, by authorizing employers to determine and schedule the weekly rest day for their employes, subject to collective bargaining agreement and to such rules and regulations, as the secretary of labor may prescribe. The decree orders every employer to give his employes a rest period of not less than 24 consecutive hours of each period of given days. In cases of force majeure, public emergencies, serious accidents and other exceptional cases as determined by the secretary of labor, any employe may be required to work on his scheduled rest day provided he is paid an additional compensation of at least 25 per cent of Ilia regular wage. If such work falls on a Sunday, the employee shall fee entitled to additional compensation of at least 25 per cent of his regular wage for work performed on Sunday. The decree, which takes effect immediately, repeals all provisions of existing laws, orders, and regulations contrary, to or inconsistent with it.

MALACAÑANG ISSUED Presidential Decree No. 140 formalizing the retirement for the registration of xerox and other copying-machines and setting a new deadline for complying with the new directive. The decree, signed by the President March 2, 1973, modifies an earlier order issued by the Bureau of Standards for Mass Media, requiring owners of xerox and other copying machines to register with the BSMM .at the Beneficial Life Bldg., in Intramuros, Manila, not later than March 15. PD No. 140 sets the deadline on March 17, or 15 days from the date of the signing of the decree (March 2, 1973). In issuing the decree, the President notes that xerox and other copying machines or equipment have been utilized for the production of subversive propaganda materials and in the falsification of letters.

PHILIPPINE MEDICAL CARE COMMISSION (PMCC) issued guidelines for the hospital admission of the legal dependents of members of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS). The guidelines are as follows: 1) The GSIS and SSS member should present to the hospital his employer’s medicare contribution certification; 2) The SSS member should present to the hospital a xerox copy of his Member’s Record (SSS Form E-l) or his Member’s Record of Additional Dependent (SSS Form E-4) depending on which form the legal dependent to be hospitalized is listed; and the GSIS member, likewise, should present the duplicate copy of the GSIS Information for Medicare Membership. 3) If the above stated GSIS and SSS papers are not available at the time the dependent is to be hospitalized, the GSIS or SSS member should present a document signed by him which: a) Certifies that the person whom he claims to be his legal dependent is indeed his legal dependent; and b) The signature of the GSIS or SSS member on the same sheet of paper wherein the certification is written.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR has this timely reminder for job applicants seeking employment abroad: “Beware of illegal recruiters or hirers who promise overseas jobs that may not exist at all, and who exact fabulous sums of money from unwary applicants.” The warning was made by the department upon receipt of numerous complaints about the nefarious activities of job recruiters including some travel agencies still operating outside the pale of the law. Not a few people have been victimized, in Manila and the provinces. Applicants are advised to apply for jobs only with recruiters licensed or authorized by the labor department’s office of Manpower Services. Some 68 recruiters have already been authorized to recruit for overseas jobs, while 37 recruiters have pending applications to recruit. Before applying for overseas jobs, applicants should consult the OMS on whether a recruiter is licensed or not for their own benefit.

SECRETARY OF INFORMATION Francisco S. Tatad assured the petroleum dealers throughout the country government support for the solution of their problems, particularly with respect to their reasonable margin profit now threatened by the new policies enforced by the major oil companies in the Philippines. Mr. Tatad said the Administration has always been for the protection of the interest of the consuming public, in keeping with the policy of the government. He added that in case of conflict of interest between small groups of businessmen and the big corporations, the government will side with the just and the legitimate demands of the small businessman.

March 4

THE FIRST LADY called upon the nation’s artists “to push forward across new frontiers and open up new territories in the quest for a new and better society,” In a brief speech before officers and members of the Art Association of the Philippines, the First Lady urged the artists to “help create a new world . . . where our traditions and our values will be at home . . . one that will be uniquely and honestly Filipino.” The First Lady was at the AAP’s award ceremony held at the Maharlika hall of Malacañang in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the association. At the ceremony, some 31 artists were awarded plaques for accomplishments which served to advance the cause of art in the country.

SECRETARY CONRADO F. ESTRELLA of Agrarian Reform emphasized that in agrarian reform, the important thing is not land transfer per se but the equitable distribution of natural wealth; not the profits to be derived from the land, but justice for the farmer who works to make the land profitable. In an address before a seminar sponsored by the Quezon Board of Realtors, the secretary cautioned his audience to understand fully the underlying rationale of the agrarian reform program “or all our efforts to build a New Society might be imperilled.” It was stressed that the attainment of land reform objectives is premised on the establishment of owner-cultivatorship and the economic family-size farm as the basis of Philippine agriculture.

FINALLY SETTLED is the controversial issue of whether personal cultivation by the landowner or a member of his family is a ground for ejecting a tenant. In a precedent-setting decision, the Court of Appeals has ruled that a tenant-farmer may now continue working under the leasehold system despite the threat of ejection by the landowner who wants to cultivate the land personally. The court decision was made in the case of a landowner who instituted legal action to expel his tenant who was cultivating a one-and-one-half hectare of rice land in San Pablo, Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. The decision was a reversal of a previous ruling by the Court of Agrarian Relations made two years ago in Cabanatuan City, ordering the tenant to vacate the land he was tilling. The court decision was hailed by Department of Agrarian Reform officials who called it a boon to the government’s land reform program.

ADMINISTRATOR Jesus Tanchanco of the National Grains Authority appealed for the support of local government leaders in the task of institutionalizing the grains industry as a means of hastening the coun­try’s economic and social development. Addressing the fourth annual convention of the League of Provincial Governors and City Mayors in Davao City, the NGA chief said that the local officials are in good position to advice the NGA on the wisdom of its projects since the local executives “know best the conditions obtaining in your respective places.” The convention delegates were told to write down their suggestions affecting the rice and corn industry in their regions to serve as guidelines in the formulation of policies for the growth and development of the industry. They were also exhorted to encourage their constituents to eat more vegetables and change their wasteful habits which are costing the country some $50 million annually.

March 5

THE PRESIDENT and the First Lady led Philippine government officials and other groups in welcoming the two Filipino prisoners of war who arrived at Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga together with American and German POW’s. The President flew to the American base to personally welcome Conrado Badua and Arturo Balagot, the two returning POW’s from Hanoi. Accompanying the President, aside from the First Lady, were Secretary of Information Francisco S. Tatad and Secretary of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile. In a brief speech following the welcome of Badua and Balagot, the President thanked the United States military and civilian authorities, as well as the American people for extending to the two Filipino POW’s the same facilities given to released American POW’s.

THE PRESIDENT lauded the boy scouts movement for giving underprivileged and out-of-school youths an opportunity to improve themselves and to participate in community development activities. In a speech read for him by Secretary of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile during the launching of the 10th Regional Jamborette at the Boy Scouts of the Philippines in Gattaran, Cagayan, the Chief Executive observed that the new projects of the scouting movement are geared to provide the less privileged boys training for big, significant tasks. It was stressed that the jamborette in Cagayan is in line with the principles of the New Society of building a new order where the people may live in justice, peace, dignity and prosperity. He informed the scouts that he has directed all heads of departments, bureaus and agencies of the government, including the local governments, to extend the fullest support to the movement and its various projects.

BUREAU OF FORESTRY, the Reforestation Administration, and the Parks and Wildlife Office have been abolished and in their place, the Bureau of Forest Development has been created to achieve maximum efficiency in the protection and conservation of the nation’s forest resources. The functions of the new bureau include the following: economical, efficient and effective classification, protection and conservation of public forests and forests reserves; implementation of multi-use and sustained-yield management of public forest; preparation of a comprehensive program of forest research; protection, development and preservation of national parks, games, and wildlife laws; and the carrying out of a continuing program of kaingin management within the public forests;

AGRICULTURAL CREDIT Administration has launched a massive drive to raise the viability of some 355 farmers cooperatives operating in strategic sections of the country. The drive, started last month, was initially launched in Eastern Visayas and in the northwestern part of Mindanao comprising the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte. The immediate objectives of the campaign are the following: to maximize loan collections; to change erring management officials; to eliminate non-farmers from membership in the cooperatives; and to select cooperatives for concentrated build-up. The ACA also announced the suspension of its functions of organizing and registering farmers cooperatives and associations pending the promulgation of the necessary policies and procedures by the newly organized Bureau of Cooperative Development under the Department of Local Government and Community Development. The new bureau is charged with the promotion, organization, and registration of all types of cooperatives.

March 6–

THE PRESIDENT received the letters of credence of Ambassador Olaf Tellefsen as the new non-resident ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Norway to the Philippines. Following the presentation ceremonies, the President received Ambassador Joze Smole of Yugoslavia who made a farewell call before returning to his country on an official mission. In receiving the credentials of Ambassador Tellefsen, the President said that the atmosphere in the Philippines under the New Society is conducive to greater foreign investments and the promotion of trade with other countries. The President said the new envoy will have an opportunity to observe how a “determined government and an equally determined citizenry band together to make this nation a better place to love in.” In presenting his credentials the new Norwegian envoy assured the President that he will exert his utmost to see that the good relations existing between his country and the Philippines will be further developed and strengthened.”

BUREAU OF POSTS has increased by 50 per cent the rates on postage stamps and other postal charges for local and foreign mail since March 1, 1973, to finance the bureau’s infrastructure and expansion program, for the purchase of delivery vehicles, mechanized postal services and office equipment to increase the bureau’s standard of efficiency. The increase covers local ordinary mail, from 10 to 15 centavos, and airmail, from 40 to 60 centavos. Foreign ordinary mail charges from P1 to P1.50. Other postal rates increased are lock box rentals, collect on deliver (COD) fees, parcel and insurance fees, money order fees and telegraphic transfer fees. The increases are the result of studies undertaken by the bureau’s planning service, based on international and bilateral agreements, particularly the Universal Postal Union (UPU) convention to which the Philippines is a signatory.

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE announced the creation of provincial and city assessment boards to hear protests of property owners regarding assessment of their properties, and the issuance by Secretary of Finance Cesar E. A. Verata of the rules governing appeals with the provincial or city Board of Tax Assessment Appeals pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 76. Under Presidential Decree No. 76, all owners or administrators of real property are required to file sworn statements of the true value of their real property and the improvement for purposes of taxation. The deadline for the submission of the sworn statement is June 30, 1973.

As prescribed under Department Order No. 6-73, the Board of Tax Assessment Appeals is composed of the register of deeds, as chairman; the auditor and engineer of the provincial or city government as members. According to the regulations, any owner who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial or city assessor in the assessment of his property may direst his appeal to the board. The appeal should be made within sixty days following the receipt of the notice of assessment on his property. The board on the other hand, are directed to decide on appeals made by property owners within 60 days upon receipt of such appeals.

MALACAÑANG ISSUED Presidential Decree No. 144 revising the present system of national internal revenue allotment to local governments to establish a more equitable system of distribution of allotments and introduce the developmental concept in the allocation of funds to local governments. The new decree provides that 20 per cent of national internal revenue tax collections which are not meant for special accounts and special funds in the general fund shall be distributed to local governments, computed on the basis of collections for the third fiscal year preceding the current fiscal year. The allotment shall be distributed as follows: 30 per cent to provinces, 45 per cent to municipalities and 25 per cent to cities. The share of local government unit shall be determined according to the following formula: 70 per cent based on its population, 20 per cent on land area and 10 per cent on equal sharing.

LAND TRANSPORTATION Commission has instructed all its regional directors and registrars to coordinate efforts with municipal mayors, barangay chairmen and barrio captains all over the country for an orderly and smooth registration for the current year of motor vehicles in their respective areas on or before May 31, 1973. All LTC Inspectors will be fielded to facilitate the registration. They will also give all the necessary information and guidelines to the barangay chairmen and barrio captains for the proper inspection of motor vehicles in their areas.

THE PRESIDENT has reappointed Secretary Manuel Elizalde, Jr. presidential assistant on national minorities. Mr. Elizalde has been Panamin secretary since 1967. He reported to the President recently that in the course of his trip abroad, he had noted very widespread approval in responsible quarters of the President’s policy towards the cultural minorities. He submitted to the President an advance copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook for 1973 which congratulates President Marcos and the First Lady for their “quick and decisive steps” to help the Tasaday and other minority people through Panamin.

BEING A SOCIAL legislation designed to give relief to labor in case of injury, the provisions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act should be given a liberal interpretation to fully carry into effect its beneficial provisions, and all doubts as to the right to compensation should be resolved in favor of the grantees and all presumptions should be indulged in their favor. Justice Secretary Vicente Abad Santos issued this legal opinion with reference to the claim of a former Bureau of Prisons’ employee who retired on March 10, 1972 and claimed disability compensation for illness he had contracted during his employment as nursery foreman. The employee had been awarded P6,000 in view of which the Bureau made a partial payment of P2,000. Later, the bureau director entertained doubts on the right of the employee to said compensation because the latter received his salary from Sept. 3, 1971 to March 10, 1972, during which he was presumably suffering from the illness which wits the subject of the claim for compensation. The justice secretary ruled that the employe’s receipt of his salary should not affect his right to the compensation. He pointed out that during the time the employee received the salary in question, said employee had not actually gone to work for he was on leave and such pay was salary earned for such leave.

UNDER THE NEW Constitution, the previous owner may not recover the land from the American buyer and the American buyer may validly convey the land to a qualified individual or corporation and when this is done, the state may no longer seek reversion of the property. This assertion was made by Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza who discussed the effects of the new charter in relation to the celebrated case of the “Republic of the Philippines vs. Quasha” where the Supreme Court ruled that citizens of the United States and American corporations may not acquire agricultural lands and that their rights over these properties cease upon the expiration of the Parity Amendment to the Constitution in 1974. Mr. Mendoza stated before the Philippine Council of the International Chamber of Commerce that if the American holder of lands in the country be a corporation, it may either convey the property to a qualified individual or corporation or restructure its corporate holdings into a 60-40 ratio and it may thereafter, if it so desires, lease back the property.

March 7–

THE PRESIDENT ruled out publicity-making and image-building from the national pattern under the New Society. Addressing the new officers of the National Press Club of the Philippines following their induction in Malacañang, the President said he would like to see the media set its own guidelines and standards and for government to stay away from its “self-regulating activities.” The President asked them to avoid publicity and image-building which are not part of the New Society, but to write about positive things with excellence as their only guideline. The President said that the standards for those writing commentaries are that what they write should be interesting and excellent, and should portray accurately what they-‘write about. Inducted by the President were: Primitive Mijares of the Daily Express, president; Laurencio Zabala Jr., of Bulletin Today; Vicente Tañedo of Times Journal; Miguel Genovea of Daily Express, vice presidents; Sol Villa of Metropolitan Newsweek, secretary; Ernesto Singson of Bulletin Today, treasurer; Neal H. Cruz, Teresita Orendain and Roberto Cuevas of Daily Express, Roy Acosta and Reynaldo Naval of Times Journal, Cresencio Marquez of Balitang Maynila Estrella Alfon of Bituin Magazine, and Benjamin Peñaranda of United Daily, directors.

SECRETARY OF LABOR Bias F. Ople announced that Presidential Decree No. 143, amending the Blue Sunday Law, will become effective 15 days after the issuance of the implementing rules by the Department of Labor. The labor chief said the Bureau of Labor Standards is now preparing the rules which may issue within this week. The main features of the decree, Sec. Ople said, are the following: 1) The economy has gained one more productive day a week or 52 more productive days a year; 2) The Decree will make possible the employment of more workers as a result of the increase of working days; 3) The opening of retail, service and other establishments on Sundays will benefit the public, especially those in the rural areas who go to the poblacion on Sundays to sell their products and buy their provisions for the week; 4) The decree eliminates what used to be the source of graft in connection with the enforcement of the Blue Sunday Law, especially the issuance of permits for establishments to operate on Sundays; 5) The decree is indicative of the development of new labor and social policies; and 6) All these benefits are made possible without sacrificing any of the old-established rights and benefits of the workers, including the right to one rest day a week, the right not to work on Sundays on religious grounds, and the right to at least 25 per cent per premium pay for work on a rest day.

SIX-MONTH GRACE period from October 19, 1972, granted under Presidential Decree No. 24, concerning the condonation of the three per cent penalty per month for the late payment of Social Security System contributions by delinquent SSS member-firms will end on April 19, 1973. Failure to remit contributions with the corresponding collection list on or before April 19 will subject the delinquent employer to payment of the three per cent penalty per month. The employer shall also be liable to criminal prosecution under Sec. 28 of the SSS law.

CIVIL SERVICE Commissioner Epi Rey Pangramuyen warned the public anew against unscrupulous persons out to make money on civil service exams after receiving reports that some people have been offering assistance for a fee to applicant for re-rating in the career service, second grade, and teacher examinations. He said that the application period for re-rating in these examinations ended last Dec. 29, 1972. The CSC has stopped accepting applications for re-rating in any examination given previously, the commissioner explained.

March 8–

SECRETARY OF INFORMATION Francisco S. Tatad said that the reforms implemented since the imposition of Martial Law five months ago have accomplished meaningful changes under the New Society and welded the people together in making a brighter and better tomorrow. The DPI secretary stressed that the “social child” born five months ago under the New Society “is now on its feet standing strong” compared to a five-month old infant which is still crawling in its crib. Mr. Tatad reviewed the events that transpired since the birth of Martial Law and what could be expected under the administration of the President, in an extemporaneous speech before the Makati Rotary Club West during the club’s regular luncheon-meeting at the Hotel Inter-Continental. He pointed out that the discipline is now evident among the people as they obey traffic rules, wait at bus stops, line up in cinema houses. Drivers are more courteous and careful and have developed the habit of parking their vehicles at the proper parking areas, it was added. Mr. Tatad likewise noted increased and better respect for the law with government officials and employee showing more decency and civility in dealing with the public. He expressed optimism that a more relaxed policy may be forthcoming in connection with, the ban against travel abroad. Mr. Tatad likewise said that foreign investors have been assured of pro­tection in the immediate repatriation: of their profit from their investments here.

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE approved new increased tobacco inspection fees and enumerated the kind of articles subject to such fees. The new fees were fixed in revenue regulations recommended by the Bureau of Internal Revenue Code, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 69. The new fees, taking effect on Jan. 1, 1973, are: P0.50 for each 1,000 cigars or fraction thereof; P0.10 for each 1,000 cigarettes or fraction thereof; P0.02 for each kilogram of leaf tobacco or fraction thereof. The amount of F0.08 for each kilogram or fraction thereof of scraps, include stems, stripped tobacco, threshed tobacco, sweepings, siftings, snuff, smoking, chewing, and other manufactured products of tobacco, tobacco powder or dust or other waste removed for agricultural, industrial or research purpose. Those required to pay the tobacco inspection fees are manufacturers, producers, exporters, importers, redriers, whole sale tobacco: dealers or owners or possessor of cigars, cigarettes, leaf tobacco, scraps and all other products and by-products of tobacco. The inspection fees are to be paid 10 days after the removal of tobacco from their respective factories for domestic sale.

NATIONAL GRAINS Authority has announced that it is ready to accept applications for registration and licenses from all persons, natural or juridical, engaged in the business of rice, corn and other cereals. All persons engaged :n the storing, milling, warehousing, retailing, wholesaling, and processing of cereals must register and secure a license to operate, as provided by Presidential Decree No. 4 or the NGA Act to avoid any disruption of their normal business activities. The NGA previously extended up to March 31 of the current year the validity of registration certificates and licenses issued by the Rice arid Corn Board and Bureau of Commerce. Failure to register and secure a valid license to engage in, the grains business will subject the offender to the penal provisions of the NGA Act.

Source: National Library of the Philippines

Office of the President of the Philippines. (1973). Official Week in Review. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 69(11), cxix-cxxviii.