Senior Citizen Files Complaint Versus BF Homes Food Joint Over Refusal To Give Him Mandated 12% VAT Exemption (UPDATED: August 24, 2019)

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Prominently displayed along Aguirre Avenue inside BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City is this sign emphasizing Philippine senior citizens’ entitlement to 20% discount and exemption from 12% value-added tax.

Are you a senior citizen whose benefit under the national law was denied by a local business? Are you aware of the benefits for senior citizens under Republic Act Number 9994 (Full title: An Act Granting Additional Benefits and Privileges to Senior Citizens, further amending Republic Act No. 7432, As Amended, Otherwise Known As “an Act To Maximize The Contribution Of Senior Citizens To Nation Building, Grant Benefits And Special Privileges And For Other Purposes. Short title: Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010) whenever you purchase food and/or beverage in a restaurant?

Why did I ask you these questions and mentioned RA 9994? It’s quite simple – a senior citizen in BF Homes, Parañaque City filed a formal complaint against a certain food joint which refused to grant him his exemption from the 12% Value-Added Tax (VAT) when he dined at the said joint.

Here is the story with details from documents I acquired.

On June 10, 2019, Jose Luis Matti and his daughter dined at a restaurant (clue: a burger joint whose business name will be revealed in due time) along Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City. He ordered food and drinks and, under law, the discounts are limited only to food and drinks he ordered for his consumption as he is a senior citizen

The problem was that, according to Matti, the restaurant applied the 20% discount for senior citizens and yet denied him his mandated benefit of exemption from the VAT. In his June 17, 2019 letter addressed to restaurant’s owner, Matti said that the restaurant personnel he encountered on June 10 claimed they were instructed (by the owner) not to give him the 12% VAT exemption. Photocopies of the receipts were included on the said letter.

As a result, Matti filed a formal complaint against the restaurant at the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs of Parañaque City (OSCA-Parañaque) urging officer-in-charge Dante Pacheco to take action against the food joint (as per his July 12, 2019 letter to Pacheco received by the said office).

A hearing between Matti and the food joint’s owner will happen very soon at OSCA’s office at Parañaque City Hall.

I visited the restaurant along Aguirre Avenue inside BF Homes to try to meet the owner and get feedback directly from him but the personnel told me over the counter that their boss was out of town.

Understanding the legal aspect

It is stated under RA 9994 (Rule IV, Article 7) that senior citizens shall be entitled to the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount and to an exemption from the value-added tax (VAT), IF APPLICABLE, on the sale of the goods and services covered by Section 1 to 6 of this Article, from all establishments for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of senior citizens.

Section 3 (Rule IV, Article 7) includes restaurants, hotels, recreational centers, places of leisures and funeral services with regards to the above mentioned 20% discount and VAT exemption.

Item b (under Section 3, Rule IV, Article 7) focuses on restaurants. It states that the discount shall be for the purchase of food, drinks, dessert, and other consumable items served by the establishments offered for the consumption of the general public.

Item c states for Dine-in services under paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 3, and Section 4, paragraph 2 of Article 7, the privilege must be personally availed of by the senior citizen as defined under these Rules, and no proxies or authorization in favor of another person who is not a senior citizen will be honored.

Item e states Food, drinks and other consumable items provided in Section 3 (a) and (b), and Section 4, paragraph 2 of Article 7 purchased by the senior citizen shall be processed separately as an independent transaction from his/her non-eligible companions to ensure that it is his/her exclusive consumption and to enable computation of the 20% discount and the exemption from the Value Added Tax (VAT), which only the senior citizen is entitled to.

However, if the group of diners is composed entirely of senior citizens, all of whom present valid senior citizens IDs, each shall be entitled to a 20% discount and exemption from Value Added Tax.

Conclusion

This is an ongoing community development and if any breakthroughs happen, an update will be posted.

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UPDATE!

The hearing between Mr. Matti and the restaurant at the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs of Parañaque City (OSCA-Parañaque) at City Hall scheduled for August 20, 2019 did not push through due to the absence of the restaurant owner.

As such, the hearing will have to be rescheduled.

The restaurant accused in this conflict is Big Brat Burger.

 

 

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Las Piñas City Mayor Warns Barangay Leaders About Failure To Clear Their Areas of Obstructions

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The many heads of the barangays in the meeting spearheaded by Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar (facing them from the background). (photo credit: Shawnette Ramos)

Recently the City of Las Piñas made waves in the national news. This was because Mayor Imelda “Mel” Aguilar issued a warning to the leaders of twenty barangays of extreme consequence if they fail to clear the respective areas of obstructions and structures that are illegal.

During a meeting held on August 1, the mayor met with the barangay chairpersons from the city’s two districts and laid down the City Government’s plan action to rid all roads and sidewalks of illegal vendors, illegally parked vehicles and overlapping structures, including those unfinished excavations by various service utilities.

“You will be accountable to me if you fail to implement the rules that endanger the lives of our fellow Las Piñero,” Mayor Aguilar told the barangay leaders.

Along with the other Metro Manila city mayors, Mayor Aguilar committed to the 60-day period given by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to clear the metro roads of obstructions.

But prior to the DILG directive, the mayor already convened Task Force Kaayusan last month which immediately conducted clearing operations in the city to address concerns on traffic and road hazards. The task force is composed of the Estate Management and Development Office (EMDO), City Engineering Office, the local Philippine National Police, the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO), and spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office.

“These obstructions must be permanently rid from our main road, which is the Alabang-Zapote Road, as well as the inner roads must likewise be cleared of any obstacles. Let us give back the sidewalks to the pedestrians and the roads to motorists,” the mayor said.

She also requested the City Council, through Vice Mayor April Aguilar-Nery (the mayor’s daughter), to review the existing ordinances on obstruction and public order and safety.

Overall these developments reflect the City Government of Las Piñas response to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte during his recent State of the Nation Address (SONA) that public roads used for private ends should be reclaimed. Duterte also ordered DILG Secretary Año to suspend mayors or governors who refuse to comply.

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A Look Back At The Night Man #1

“I’m not who I was any more! I’m not who I’m going to be! I am the Night Man.”

The above words were from the vigilante called the Night Man, a character co-created by comic industry veteran Steve Englehart (Avengers) and Darick Robertson for Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse franchise. Those words formally opened The Night Man #1 which I’m reviewing here.

To put things in perspective, a vigilante is described as a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate) according to Merriam-Webster dictionary. To put it broadly, the vigilante is a self-appointed doer of justice.

 

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The Night Man #1 cover.

Published in 1993 by Malibu Comics, The Night Man #1 tells the story of Johnny Domingo, a jazz player whose life changed in the pages of The Strangers #1 (also written by Englehart) in which he (while driving a vehicle) got by a cable car (that was just hit by an energy burst from the sky) resulting a piece of shrapnel embedding into his head.

Perceived by others to be doomed, Domino strangely survived and was well enough to resume his normal life. The difference is that the incident made his eyes dilated permanently which forces him to shield them from bright light.

Just as Johnny walks down the street, he learned he gained an uncanny ability when he hears, for the first time, the evil thoughts of a man (wearing a coat and a hat) planning to kill a lady on Saturday night.

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The Night Man in action!

Knowing what heard, Johnny wondered if he was crazy and what if some woman would truly be in danger. He then decides to follow the man with evil thoughts and watch his moves. Eventually Johnny followed the man to a restaurant by the beach and saw him talk with a pretty waitress named Ginger who agreed to a Saturday night date.

Carelessly Johnny approached the man too closely and got noticed, forcing him to run away and got chased until he got into a taxi that drove him away.

A short time later, Johnny starts his new career as a vigilante as the Night Man.

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In terms of storytelling, The Night Man #1 was nicely paced and never felt dragging. Within its twenty-eight pages of story, the comic book took gradual steps on introducing Johnny, how the incident with the cable car impacted him, how he became a vigilante for the first time and what went on in his mind as he became the Night Man. Given his rich experience as a writer, it is no surprise that Steve Englehart delivered a solid script.

It was also engaging to see Night Man being a determined yet very vulnerable vigilante. During his first mission in costume, he managed to beat a few bad guys but ended up getting hurt. This kinda reminds me of the vulnerability seen in the cinematic icon John McClane in 1988’s Die Hard.

The art by Darick Robertson, with ink work done by Andrew Pepoy, was nicely crafted. The civilian and vigilante looks of Night Man were well defined. The visualization of action nice and when Night Man gets hurt, he really looks in pain.

Going beyond Night Man, this comic book has a short preview (five pages, including credits) of Rune, a character created by Barry Windsor-Smith. Rune is described to be a voracious killer whose prey is all humanity and he is an alien leech who despoils the flesh of victims, culling their lifeblood into the essence of power. Rune is also a dying creature fighting for survival against the malignant disease burning inside of him.

Overall, The Night Man #1 is a worthy addition to your comic collection if you are interested in the Ultraverse (which is still kept in limbo by Marvel which acquired Malibu Comics in the mid-1990s) or are interested in vigilante-type superheroes. If you are obsessed with whatever Barry Windsor-Smith created, then the Rune stuff is a must-get.

The Night Man #1 is recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

Taking a Vacation? Beware of Scammers and Non-Accredited Travel Businesses

It sure is nice to go out on holiday so that you can enjoy something nice and relieve yourself of the stress you accumulated from regular work.

But what if your hard-earned money goes to waste or, even worse, gets stolen by someone with criminal intentions?

Yesterday the Department of Tourism (DOT) here in the Philippines warned the public about making transactions with non-accredited entities engaged in travel and tours, airline ticketing and other travel businesses.

This was in response to reports they received about the proliferation of the non-accredited entities that posted advertisements on the different social media platforms or airline ticketing, travel and tours arrangement, hotel booking, and training offerings for travel business management.

“The public is hereby warned to be vigilant in dealing with these entities as there can be no guarantee on the reliability and legitimacy of their products and services,” the DOT said in its statement.

This development by the DOT is timely. Just days ago, there was this TV news report about a lady who got victimized by another lady who turned out to be a fake travel agent.

She paid a lot of money to the scammer for a Hong Kong vacation with her kids. As the scammer contacted her telling her to deposit thousands of pesos more for the vacation due to a “price increase”. The victim became suspicious and she went to the local authorities. Afterwards a personal meeting between the two happened in Las Pinas City and eventually the scammer got arrested.

You can watch the Tagalog language TV news video below.

Going back to the Department of Tourism, they said there are only select training centers that accredited to offer courses on putting up travel agencies and other tourism-related services. All travel agencies/ tour operators, including online bookings, are covered under the DOT Accreditation Law requiring accreditation before issuance of business permits, it stressed.

The DOT stated that entities with valid and existing accreditation with them have informative websites and/or online pages bearing the DOT’s Quality Seal and their corresponding Accreditation Number with validity.

For a complete list of DOT-accredited enterprises, the public are encouraged to visit the DOT’s website.

The lesson here is that you should not allow yourself to be fooled and tempted by those attractive holiday ads on social media as well as those transmitted via email or snail mail.

Always ask yourself if the seller is accredited by the DOT. Don’t forget to do a background check on the travel package and services seller.

Remember to be cautious and analyze the situation carefully before you proceed to book a vacation or avail any travel-related service. There are lots of scammers online and they are already making things hard not only for customers but also for the legitimate travel businesses.

My Observations: Orient Cable told by Optic Media Board to Explain Piracy of Avengers: Endgame

Orient Cable has been ordered by the Optic Media Board or OMB (the national government’s arm on regulating the production, use and distribution of recording media) to explain to them why they should not be charged over the piracy of the mega blockbuster film Avengers: Endgame.

According to a report by Philippines News Agency (PNA), a “show-cause order” was served by the regulator to the Dipolog City-based company on May 6. The action was the result of a formal complaint issued by Teatro de Dapitan, a movie house that was authorized to show Avengers: Endgame to paying customers.

Atty. Hywel Vergara of the OMB’s legal division was assisted by police officers when the order was served to Orient Cable. It was reported that the company’s officials were reluctant to receive the order.

“With it is an order for the owners (of Orient Cable) to attend hearings at OMB in Manila on May 7 and 14,” said Vergara, referring to the show-cause directive.

For his part, OMB Chairman Ansel Adriano warned establishments and individuals to respect the intellectual rights of the film industry, especially local productions.

The movie opened around the Philippines on April 24 along with many other countries that same day. There were people who claimed to have seen the illegal airing of Avengers: Endgame on April 25 through Orient Cable. Subsequently Teatro de Dapitan complained to the local police the same day the airing happened.

As of this writing, the management of the cable firm is still silent over the issue.

Whatever questions the OMB has for them, it would be nice for the cable TV operator to answer the following questions:

  1. Who within Orient Cable had the capability (or connections) of getting a pirated copy of the movie and make adjustments to show it publicly?
  2. Where did the pirated copy come from?
  3. What could the company gain from showing Avengers: Endgame in pirated form?
  4. How is the financial health of Orient Cable and just how many paid subscribers do they have now?

Check out my review of Avengers: Endgame here.

 

Carlo Carrasco’s Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame

I’ll just say it straight and clear – Avengers: Endgame is an epic superhero movie that, like its predecessor, is great to watch again and again although there are some noticeable differences.

For starters, the creative led by the Russo Brothers came up with a story that somewhat defied most people’s expectations in relation to the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. Considering what happened in the previous film, it’s too easy for moviegoers to anticipate another uniting of remaining superheroes to defeat the omnipotent Thanos who wields the Infinity Gauntlet.

Quite daringly, the filmmakers came up with a story that focused more on time travel and time paradox. Since Endgame is still a new film, I won’t spoil the plot details and will focus on the technical aspects as to why the film is great.

On time travel and time paradox, Endgame felt somewhat self-aware by referencing other popular movies that had time travel concepts. The inevitable time machine gets set up obviously and when the superheroes went their own ways through time, Endgame suddenly felt like The Empire Strikes Back mixed with elements of Back to the Future. What do I mean? What I’m saying is that character development ramps up when the superheroes go their separate ways (not individually but by pairs or small teams) and their time travel exploits brought moviegoers back to the past, especially the unexplored segments of what we saw in previous movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The good news here is that the Russo Brothers did a great job telling the story even though the concepts of time travel and time paradox were so challenging to execute on-screen. Clearly the co-directors did their research to ensure that the story still made sense. Of course, there is the expository dialogue designed to explain to readers the film’s time travel concept.

When it comes to performances, just about each member of the cast performed nicely on bringing to life their respective characters. I felt Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark/Iron Man is his best since Iron Man 3. Still, I think the standout performer of them all was Mark Ruffalo who proved to be creative not only with his smart Hulk but also managed to deliver the solid performance the movie script required from him. Personally, this cinematic Hulk is the best one yet and we can forget about the mindless, rampaging Hulk of years ago.

Josh Brolin returned as Thanos and his performance was great (as expected) but in order to understand this film’s version of his character, you need to watch the previous appearances of Thanos from the past years especially with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

When it comes to superhero spectacle, Endgame delivered the fun stuff – the flying, the energy blasts, powerful strikes, collateral damage, cosmic powers, futuristic sci-fi technology and the like. However, I felt that Infinity War was much more loaded with action, stunts, special effects and superhero spectacle. This is understandable because the first 30-45 minutes of Endgame was more about story build-up, heavy dialogue and character development delivered with little action. The good news is that the pace of the film ran faster when the time travel sequences started. Of course, there is also the anticipated giant battle near the end of the film. A very action-packed final battle indeed although I felt the darkness (lack of light on the setting) somewhat lessened the impact.

Overall, Avengers: Endgame is an epic superhero movie that must be seen and it also justifies replaying Infinity War. While both Endgame and its predecessor are epic movies heavily loaded with spectacle as well as a lot of heart in the story and character development, the major differences go like this – Infinity War carried more shock value while this new movie was more about the pleasant surprises related to time travel.

Does Endgame deserve its massive commercial success? Absolutely! More than that, this film is also the undeniable climax of the 11-year buildup of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that started with Iron Man.

Where the Marvel Cinematic Universe will go next after Endgame will most likely be another uncharted territory of superhero cinema.

Note: When watching Endgame, I highly recommend viewing it on an IMAX screen as it was filmed entirely with IMAX cameras. Go for it if you can afford it!


Thank you for reading. If you find this movie review engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

My Observations: Philippine Government Takes Action Versus Cable TV Company Over Avengers: Endgame Piracy

The national government of the Philippines, through its agency the Optic Media Board which is in charge of regulating the production, use and distribution of recording media, took action against Orient Cable for the illegal showing of Avengers: Endgame.

According to the CNN Philippines report, the Optic Media Board announced on May 2 that it has ordered the cable TV company in Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte to explain why it should not be charged over the alleged acts of piracy. In that particular province, movie house Teatro de Dapitan complained about Orient Cable’s illegal showing of the Marvel Studios film even as it was still playing in cinemas nationwide. Teatro de Dapitan is the lone theater licensed to show the movie to paying customers in the province.

The OMB added that Orient Cable could face administrative and criminal raps for violating Republic Act 9239 (the Optical Media Act of 2003), which carries a penalty of up to six years of imprisonment and a fine of up to ₱1.5 million.

According to Teatro de Dapitan owner Lovely Nice Custodio, Avengers: Endgame was played on channels 10 and 18 on Orient Cable.

As of this writing, Orient Cable still has yet to issue an official reaction to the charges and accusations of piracy.

It would be nice for the cable TV operator to answer the following questions:

  1. Who within Orient Cable had the capability (or connections) of getting a pirated copy of the movie and make adjustments to show it publicly?
  2. Where did the pirated copy come from?
  3. What could the company gain from showing Avengers: Endgame in pirated form?
  4. How is the financial health of Orient Cable and just how many paid subscribers do they have now?

As far as the Philippine government is concerned, piracy is a crime.

Stay tuned for more!