What Noy may omit in his farewell SONA
IN HIS valedictory State of the Nation Address on Monday, President Noynoy Aquino is expected to again pat his administration on the back. To repeat a cliché he once used, he will concentrate on the doughnut instead of the hole.
Now on his last year in office, he has no more reason to make promises or outline a future program. He is reduced to looking back at his old road map, if any, and tell an anxious people where his performance the past five years has taken them.
To somewhat balance his expected glowing SONA, we culled facts and figures from a speech days ago of Dr. Ben Diokno before the Rotary Club of Manila focusing on what the President is likely to overlook in his SONA. (Check livestream video of Diokno speech at ManilaSpeak.com).
■ Phl worst among ASEAN-5 economies
DIOKNO, the budget undersecretary of the late President Cory Aquino and later budget secretary in the Estrada administration, reported that the Philippines is now the worst in major economic indexes of the World Economic Forum:
■ BIR, IRS widen access to bank deposits
WE HAVE been waiting for the usual eagle-eyed senators to inquire into a new Philippines-United States agreement allowing the agencies of both countries to gather and swap information on bank deposits and related accounts of their citizens.
Normally something like this would raise a howl over eavesdropping (by a foreign government at that) on bank accounts without the depositor’s consent or a court order, but it seems senators are too engrossed with something else or have decided to keep quiet on this one.
Filipino officials with something to hide would rather lie low rather than risk getting caught in the dragnets cast by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the US Internal Revenue Service.
Dual citizens and green card holders are now required to file a report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) if they have a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account outside the US whose total value exceeds $10,000.
The rule applies to “US persons” who include Americans (even those living or working in the Philippines), lawful US residents, corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies, trusts and estates created under US laws that are holding or managing financial accounts outside the US.
We tweeted Sen. Grace Poe days ago to ask of she is covered by the FBAR rule. She did not reply. (For more details, read our Postscript of last July 12 at http://manilamail.com/archive/2015jul/15jul12/.)
Actually our column on it came two days before the signing of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) by Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima and US Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of the US.
FATCA targets tax evaders and such crooks as drugs syndicates, terrorist groups, money launderers and corrupt officials hiding illicit wealth. But many bona fide depositors who maintain bank accounts for normal legitimate purposes complain of feeling harassed.