THIS WEEK IN THE PHILPPINES November 10, 2016
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Livecast update on Philippines-centric news that could affect foreigners living, working or studying in the Philippines, so without any further ado, let’s get to it.
Git ‘er done!!
The US embassy declared a kidnapping threat/ travel advisory for southern Cebu Island, specifically noting the areas of southeast Cebu (Argao, Dalaguete, et. al.) and all the way down to the southern tip of the island, Santander. Southern Cebu is actually a beautiful area that claims a large population of foreign residents (lots of Europeans!) and scenic tourist sites including the whale sharks at Oslob, the waterfall areas of Tumolog and Kawasan and also Sumilon Island, which is just a short boat ride from Oslob. Manila responded to the advisory by downplaying the threat. Both the Cebu City regional police office and the Central Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines stated that they do not see any type of direct threat. Police Chief Superintendent Noli Talino went on to declare that the area is “safe and secure to live, work and do business” for all residents and visitors.
The Presidential Assistant for the Visayas – Michael Dino – went on to add that the United States needs to substantiate the travel advisory in order to avoid confusion. “The situation is normal and the visitors are enjoying the beautiful destinations in that area,” the Presidential Assistant noted.
REDUCED CUSTOMS CHARGES
This news actually came out more than a few weeks ago, but it’s good information for all residents – local or foreign – in the Philippines. The Bureau of Customs has increased the previously draconian customs fee threshold on goods shipped into the Philippines to 10,000 pesos. That means that high custom fees/taxes will only be imposed on items exceeding that amount, which is good news for all.
The Bureau of Customs announced in early October that as of the 25th, items valued at P10,000 and below will no longer be taxable. The previous “de minimis” threshold was 10 pesos and items exceeding that value could be tariffed/taxed for up to 50 percent of the items total value.
Typically, items shipped regular mail (PhilPost) from Ebay, Lazada and other online retailers were not subject to the super-high fee rate – usually, a resident could pick up such orders at the post office and “only” have to pay a 130 peso customs “inspection fee.” The real problem occurred when packages arrived via Federal Express, DHL or other foreign courier services – the customs fees imposed on those items were enough to leave one somewhat tongue-tied and twisted.
There are some exclusions: People trying to order tobacco items, wines and spirits will find that those items will still be taxed at that National Internal Revenue Code.
But with booze and butts so cheap in the Philippines, why would anyone bother?
PRESIDENT DUTERTE SWEARS OFF SWEARING
When President Duterte returned to the Philippines after his rather productive trips to China and Japan, he stated that he had given up swearing. The President related to fellow Filipinos that while everyone else was sleeping on the flight back from Tokyo, a voice spoke to him. The President stated that it was God speaking to him, and that He warned the President that the plane would crash if he didn’t stop cussing.
Speaking to his audience at the Davao International Airport Lounge he promised God not to express any more foul language in public and that he intended to keep that promise because “a promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people.”
The President then quickly addressed the United State’s criticism of the over 4,000 killings of Filipino citizens during his war on drugs, saying that America should have helped him solve the problem instead of wanting to lead him around like a dog on a leash or wanting to send him to prison.
Before departing the airport lounge, President Duterte then praised the newly crowned Miss Philippines, Kylie Versoza. Who was just crowned Miss International 2016.
“I am always happy if our beautiful women win titles. It gives us pride. Our women are so beautiful, but all of you in the human rights commission are ugly.”
Wow – I am rocking quite the expression in this thumbnail – click the video to see the Livecast.