Official Week in Review: September 21 – September 27, 1973

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September 21—

THE PRESIDENT reported that the reform program under Martial Law has established a pattern of social, political and economic stability, even as he urged Filipinos to aspire to new heights of national development. Speaking in a nationwide radio-tv broadcast on the occasion of the first anniversary of the signing of the declaration of Martial Law, the Chief Executive outlined the achievements effected under the New Society and called for hard work among the citizens to consolidate the gains earned so far. “Hard work awaits us,” the President said, “but the future we face is bright, for national development is within our grasp.”

THE PRESIDENT has ordered three government agencies and the private banking institutions to set up the machinery for the effective implementation of the Government’s cereal procurement programs for Masagana 99 rice harvests and future crops. To effect a smooth procurement program, NGA Administrator Jesus Tanchanco has outlined a series of conferences with the DANR, Philippine National Bank and a consortium of private banking institutions to prepare the most feasible buying scheme of grains.

DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs, to further encourage investments in the Philippines, adopted guidelines on the issuance of multiple exit permits to Filipino personnel of regional or area headquarters of multinational companies established in the Philippines. Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Manuel Collantes said the guidelines were issued in implementation of the President’s instructions to insure mobility of those engaged in business or industry.

LABOR Secretary Blas F. Ople said that 12 months of Martial Law had brought stability to employment and business in Greater Manila. Secretary Ople indicated that the much improved economic conditions had enabled manufacturers and service industries to cut down on lay-offs or hold on to their work force to keep up with the demands of customers. Based on an employment figure of 833,940 workers in Greater Manila, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Employment Service said an average of 10,000 workers were separated from their jobs in 1972 or 1.25 per cent, compared to only 4,158 monthly in the first six months of 1973 or 0.48 per cent. He saw the stable employment figure of workers as a sign that industries were maintaining their present forces with a tendency to increase them to cope with expansion.

THE PRESIDENT appointed former Education Secretary Onofre D. Corpuz as chairman of the newly-created Task Force on Human Settlement. Simultaneously, the President earmarked P0.5 million for the operations of the task force. The task force will prepare a study on the nature, policy issue, and strategies for an over-all framework plan for the country which would pinpoint priority areas for human settlement projects to serve as a general scheme for development.

September 22—

THE PHILIPPINES and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) established formal diplomatic relations it was announced by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Philippine-East German agreement is the first of four contemplated agreements with socialist countries of Eastern Europe which the President had specifically instructed Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo to negotiate Negotiations are underway for similar accords with Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

PHILIPPINE MEDICAL Care Commission said that the wife can sign for her medicare member-husband the medicare benefit application papers for any or all of his legal dependents, including those for herself, who may be hospitalized during the absence of the husband. The wife, however, should indicate on the space for the signature of the husband which she is to sign the whereabouts of her husband. The application nevertheless should still be in the name of the member-husband. The medicare contribution certification should be accomplished by the husband’s employer and the other papers required to be presented or submitted to the hospital should be in his name.

BUREAU of Public Highways has reported having completed no less than 411 bridges with a total length of 11,748.5 meters all over the country during the Martial Law period. Total amount spent for these bridges is P165,239,521. The highways bureau has also completed 548 kilometers of concrete roads, 2,167 kilometers of asphalt road, 2,936,897 kilometers of gravel road and 175 kilometers of feeder roads during the same period with a total cost of P265,346,350.

BUREAU of Internal Revenue has collected more than S1.5 million from overseas Filipinos. This was the report submitted to Commissioner of Internal Revenue Misael P. Vera by a two-man team sent abroad by the Bureau to enlighten overseas Filipinos on the salient features of Presidential Decree Nos. 23 and 220 and the National Internal Revenue Code. The report stated that from January 1 to July 15, 1973, 16,526 Filipinos in the United States paid a total of 81,077,976 plus P12,054 in income taxes. Filipinos in neighboring Asian countries paid a total of S482,398.36 in income taxes. Income tax returns and tax payments are being received by finance officers of the different consulate general offices.

September 23—

The President appointed 13 associate justices of the Court of Appeals after consultation with members of the Supreme Court and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Appointed were: 1) Crisolito Pascual; 2) Roseller T. Lim; 3) Godofredo P. Ramos; 4) Ameurfina M. Herrera; 5) Mariano Serrano; 6) Conrado Vasquez; 7) Mama Busran; 8) Ricardo Puno; 9) Pacifico de Castro; 10) Francisco Tantuico; 11) Francisco Ma. Chanco; 12) Ramon Pamatiau; and 13) Efren I. Plana. The President previously issued Presidential Decree No. 289 increasing the membership of the Court of Appeals from 24 to 36 owing to the enlarged jurisdiction of this appellate court. The President likewise pointed out that under the new Constitution, the Court of Appeals is required to decide cases within 12 months and that the backlog of pending cases m this court will mount unless its membership is increased.

CONSUMERS Union of the Philippines has been authorized to conduct a nationwide membership consumers protection and educational fund campaign during the period from October 1, 1973 to March 31, 1974 under Proclamation No. 1184 issued by Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor Jr. on the order of the President. The proclamation points out that our concern for the protection and education of the consumers in the Philippines demands that more effort be devoted to support the objectives of a militant organization like the Consumers Union of the Philippines. The proclamation calls upon all citizens and residents of the Philippines, irrespective of nationality or creed, to assist in the laudable six-month campaign by giving generously of their means.

THE PRESIDENT has declared the commercial timber within the Surigao mineral reservation as available for disposition and utilization in connection with the government’s program to tap all available natural resources in the economic and social development of Mindanao. Under Presidential Decree No. 295 which amends Sec. 12 of Commonwealth Act No. 137 (Mining Act) as amended, the disposition and utilization of these commercial timber within the reservation shall be subject to existing rights, if any there be, and to existing policies, laws, rules and regulations pertinent thereto. The secretary of agriculture and natural resources shall promulgate the guidelines or regulations for the effective implementation of PD 295.

September 24—

THE PRESIDENT called on the country’s barangays to serve as nerve centers in a nationwide physical fitness program in a three-pronged approach to the promotion of public health. In an address to some 600 members of the medical profession to start National Medicine Week, the Chief Executive also made rural service a requisite for graduation of college students involved in human settlement and development, including doctors, lawyers and engineers. The President likewise announced he will initiate moves to amend the dietary deficiency of low-income groups through the equitable sharing of the benefits of modernization and development.

THE PHILIPPINES and the Polish People’s Republic established diplomatic relations, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. The formal letters of agreement were signed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo and Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Olszowski at the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York. According to a report of the Foreign Office the newly established diplomatic relations, which will be at embassy level, will be based on the principle of peaceful co-existence, mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. Both sides expressed the desire to develop and strengthen friendly and mutually beneficial relations.

DEPARTMENT of Agriculture and Natural Resources warned the government’s more than 3,000 farm production technicians against “overstating Masagana 99 harvest as this might raise false hopes in the public mind.” The warning was issued by the chairman of the Masagana 99 management committee, to clamp down on overblown estimate of expected harvest. The Masagana 99 harvest, based on early reports has yielded an average of 98.9 cavans per hectare in some 9,945 hectares already harvested.

September 25—

THE PRESIDENT directed the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation to take necessary measures to protect foreign nationals from harassment and unnecessary or unauthorized investigations. The President’s order was contained in Letter of Instructions No. 133 which also directed the commissioner of immigration and deportation to conduct a general registration of foreign nationals in the country within three months. The registration is necessary because records on the number, status, location and other important information about foreign nationals here are either lacking, incomplete or not up to date, thereby making it difficult to collect statistics when the need arises.

OUR SYSTEM of justice has finally achieved the twin ideals of swiftness and fairness. Justice Secretary Vicente Abad Santos stressed this in a speech on the new conduct of justice in the country during the first day of seminar on national development sponsored by the Departments of Public Information and of Foreign Affairs at the Asian Institute of Management building in Makati. The justice chief said that m the to Society, all persons now have the constitutional right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies. “Such an acceleration in the tempo of appellate decisions is a great leap forward that is sure to lift the hearts of many long-suffering litigants,” Secretary Abad Santos explained.

INFORMATION Secretary Francisco S. Tatad said that there must be conscious link between the manager who plans for the state. Speaking before the Association of Management and Industrial Engineers of the Philippines at the Hotel Intercontinental, the information secretary stressed it would be advisable for both the state manager and the business manager to be governed by the principle of oneness of purpose and interest. Secretary Tatad said the national push toward development is an enterprise in which the Government and private enterprises are the principal managers. He added that the Government will continue showing its concern for the growth of the society by sustaining its high regard for professionalism in business and industry.

COUNTRY’S foreign exchange reserve has reached a record high of $751.22 million as of September 18, 1973. At the same time, the Overall income of the country for Fiscal Year 1972-1973 was P10.559 billion as against P7.63 billion the preceding fiscal year. This rosy picture of the public finance was drawn by acting Secretary of Finance Alfredo Pio de Roda Jr. during the second day of the discussion series on national development at the Asian Institute of Management building in Makati. The acting secretary said that at the end of FY 1972-1973 the Government had a cash balance for all funds in the national treasury of P2.44 billion as against P1.26 billion in FY 1971-72.

September 26—

THE PRESIDENT moved to hasten the Pasig River Development Project of the First Lady by ordering the immediate settlement of salvage claims and the disposition of salvaged derelicts. In Letter of Instructions No. 134, the Chief Executive directed the Commissioner of Customs to effect the early return of the investment of salvaging companies or groups of persons to replenish their operating capital.

THE GOVERNMENT has brought about a new economic climate defined by far-reaching reforms in taxation and investments, and a redirected and rational planning of the economy. With these economic achievements, the roles of Government, business and labor in the ultimate objective of dispersing the gains of progress and development to the broad masses of the people are more than ever clearly defined. Director Lorenzo Cruz of the Bureau of National and Foreign Information these observations in a speech before the San Juan Rotary Club. Mr. Cruz, in enumerating the economic gains achieved in the last 12 months which had revitalized the country’s economy, stressed that these gains are only the initial steps towards the building of a prosperous nation “where every man, woman and child will have the opportunity to lead a full and rewarding life.”

THE GOVERNMENT and the United Nations Development Programme have alloted P2.8 million and S597,900 respectively for the formulation and implementation of an integrated export promotion program for the Philippines. The National Economic and Development Authority announced that NEDA Director Gerardo P. Sicat and UNDP resident Representative William Harding have signed the project document for the promotion program. The project, which will be coordinated by the NEDA in coordination with the Board of Investments and the Department of Trade, aims to develop an integrated medium-term export promotion program through an effective government agency solely concerned with export matters.

THE PRESIDENT exempted overseas personnel of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Reparations Commission reassigned to their home offices here from the payment of all duties and taxes on their personal and household effects. Presidential Decree No. 301 also granted the exemption on overseas DFA and Reparations Commission personnel who have died, resigned or retired from the service. The decree also required that personal effects must not exceed 30 per cent of the total amount received by such officer or employee in salaries and allowances during his latest assignment abroad but not to exceed four years. The decree provided further that these exemptions shall not be availed of more than once every four years and that the officer or employee concerned must have served abroad for not less than two years.

THE PRESIDENT has released P9.9 million for Highway Special Fund for the repair and construction of various roads and bridges in Luzon and Mindanao. Road repair works to be funded out of the amount ordered include: Sayre Highway in Bukidnon, P265,000; Janiuay-Lambunao-Calinog-Capiz road and Dasmariñas-Carmona road, Cavite, P300,000; Cotabato-Bukidnon road, Cotabato-Lanao road, Cotabato-Davao and Kidapawan-Allah Jct. road, P243.250; Baguio-Bontoc road, P160,000; Jaro-Manduriao road, P117,000; Apalit Macabebe-Masantol road, P266,000.

THE PRESIDENT proclaimed October 7 to 13, 1973, as “Hispanic Week” to accentuate the country’s cultural heritage from Spain and reassert the Government’s efforts to effect goodwill and understanding with the Spanish-speaking world. The Presidential proclamation said the forthcoming celebration must remind the people of the lasting contribution of Spain to the country’s political and social development and growth as a nation, as well as to enhance the country’s historical and cultural ties with the Spanish-speaking world.

COUNTRY’S external trade registered an overall surplus of $79 million last August as compared with only $7 million for August 1972. The Central Bank said that the marked increase surplus for August 1973 is mainly due to a merchandise trade surplus of $32 million and an invisible surplus of $47 million. Exports receipts for the period under review reached $177 million while import payments were registered at $145 million, or a merchandise trade surplus of $32 million. Non-trade transactions, on the other hand, registered a surplus of $47 million or $28 million more than the surplus in August, 1972. Invisible receipts of $149 million were 88 per cent or $70 million higher largely due to loans of the private sector and services income. Invisible disbursements also rose by $42 million to $102 million due to increased payments of loans of the private sector, services rendered by non-residents and Philippine Government expenditures abroad. As a result of these developments in the country’s foreign exchange transactions, the international reserve increased by $68 million.

September 27—

THE PRESIDENT assured Filipino oldtimers in the United States who are willing to spend their here that they could acquire land under a Government policv which would grant them reacquired Philippine citizenship. The Chief Executive made the assurance in response to a proposal of an official of a US investment firm to establish a housing settlement here for Filipino oldtimers. The President said these old-timers-natural-born Filipinos who have acquired American citizenship—may avail themselves of the same rights as every Filipino in the acquisition and ownership of land once they reacquired Philippine citizenship.

DEPARTMENT of Finance authorized provincial and municipal governments to collect all amusement taxes starting October 1. The transfer to local governments of authority to collect amusement taxes is contained in Presidential Decree No. 231 or Local Tax Code. Amusement tax on admission is collected from proprietors, lessees or operators of theaters, cinematographs, concert halls, circuses and other places of amusement.

THE PRESIDENT has authorized the creation of a Philippine House at the world-famed Las Vegas Strip in Nevada to serve as the Center for the promotion of Philippine trade and tourism. The Nevada Philippine House will be the latest addition to the growing chain of Philippine Houses in important centers of the world. The House will be established by the Department of Trade in collaboration with the Filipino Trade Corporation, a 100 per cent Filipino firm. Earlier, the President had authorized the establishment of Philippine Houses in Singapore, Frankfurt, Tokyo, San Francisco, Sydney (Australia) and Toronto (Canada).

SOCIAL Security System announced that effective January 1974 it will require all employer to submit an, annual register containing a complete list of employes, elates of their employment and effective dates of then-separation from employment. This is in accordance with Section 24-D of Presidential Decree No. 24 providing for the compulsory submission of an annual register by all employers in the private sector. The SSS said this requirement is distinct from the existing provision on the employment records and reports in Section 21-A of the Social Security Law which requires each employer to immediately report to the SSS the names, ages, civil status, occupation, salaries and dependents of all his employes.

BUREAU of Lands has launched a nationwide campaign to distribute land patents to settlers with Mindanao as one of the principal target areas. Acting Lands Director Ramon N. Casanova has been assured by regional land directors that district land officers are now capable of processing and issuing patents for areas not exceeding five hectares. The drive will benefit occupant settlers on public lands which have been declared disposable for agricultural purposes. Under the program, the settlers who have developed portions of public lands not then open for disposition, may legalize their possession and be granted the necessary titles.

DEPARTMENT of Health has broadened its family planning and nutrition programs to complement the Government’s development efforts. Spelling out their urgent role in the building of the New Society, Health Secretary Clemente S. Gatmaitan said the department has decided to place priority on the family planning and nutrition programs since they are closely tied up with the Government’s development program. Speaking during-a symposium of the Philippine Public Health Association in Dagupan City, Secretary Gatmaitan said the family planning program is vital because of its inter-relationship with development efforts which could be hindered by the country’s tremendous population growth. He said the health department is also giving priority to nutrition program because it is closely linked with national growth progress.

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(40), cdliii-cdlviii.

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