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  • New officials to be announced this week                   
    According to Senate President Franklin Drilon, President Aquino will be ready to issue ad interim appointments for the chairmen of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Commission on Audit (COA) – all constitutional bodies – before Congress resumes regular session on May 4. Sen. Drilon revealed that Pres. Aquino has chosen a candidate for the top Comelec post – former Justice Adolfo Azcuna, who worked as presidential legal counsel during the term of Pres. Aquino’s mother, the late Pres. Corazon Aquino, but Mr. Azcuna declined the offer. Sen. Drilon said the appointments will be made on ad-interim basis, which allows the appointees to occupy the positions even without a confirmation from the Commission on Appointments. Meanwhile, Sen. Drilon expressed his support to retain Commissioner John Philip Sevilla at the helm of the Bureau of Customs following reports of his resignation.
  • BIR zeroes in on small-scale miners                        
    The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is zeroing in on small-scale miners which are believed to be engaged in smuggling. According to government estimates, majority of small-scale gold production is being smuggled out of the country, thus depriving the Philippines of vitally needed tax revenues. Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares said the agency is looking into it as part of efforts to combat tax evasion. Mines and Geosciences Bureau Leo Jasareno said that illegal shipments continue to pervade in the country as some small miners sell gold in the underground market to avoid paying local taxes. Gold is mostly smuggled to China to private buyers who pay more than the government. Apart from this, some small-scale miners operate without the necessary permits.

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