#ThewRap: Things you need to know, August 3, 2017

Hello! Here are the stories you shouldn't miss this Thursday.

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Hello!

Good morning Rapplers!

It’s law signing day, in the Philippines and the United States, with one happily lending his signature, and the latter displaying his displeasure.

In Manila, President Rodrigo Duterte signs two laws that the Executive had willingly worked with Congress to pass: the provision of free internet in public areas across the country, and the extension of the validity of passports and drivers’ licenses. In Washington, DC, however, President Donald Trump is pushed to a corner to sign legislation that imposes new sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and Iran.

Groups are seeking the impeachment of Philippine Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, but they neither can find a congressman to endorse their complaints.

After two congressional hearings, questions remain about the controversial tax settlement that the government entered with Del Monte Philippines, where only P65.4 million was paid to settle 3 years of tax discrepancies valued at P8.7 billion.

Rappler also gives you a breakdown of how much a professional will have to shell out for continuing education, which is now required to renew their licenses under a new law.

Here are the stories you shouldn't miss.

Trump angry he has to sign off on new Russia sanctions

United States President Donald Trump reluctantly signed off on new sanctions against Russia Wednesday, August 2, bowing to domestic pressure and putting in peril efforts to improve ties with the Kremlin. Trump, in a statement, called the legislation "significantly flawed.” The legislation – which also includes measures against North Korea and Iran – targets the Russian energy sector, giving Washington the ability to sanction companies involved in developing Russian pipelines, and placing curbs on some Russian weapons exporters. It also notably constrains Trump's ability to waive the penalties.

Duterte signs 3 laws: Free internet, longer passport and driver's license validity

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, August 3, signed 3 laws: Republic Act No 10929 requires public places like public hospitals, transport terminals, and government offices to provide free internet in main congregation points. The Department of Information and Communication Technology is tasked to make sure that each user experiences a minimum internet speed of 2 Mbps or the speed requirement indicated in the National Broadband Plan, which Duterte approved last March.

The Philippine President also signed RA 10928, which extends to 10 years the validity of regular passports for citizens who are at least 18 years old, and 10930, which extends the validity of drivers’ licenses to 5 years.

No endorsers yet for complaints seeking to impeach Chief Justice Sereno

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Incorporated, as well as lawyer Larry Gadon, went to the House of Representatives Wednesday, August 2, seeking to start impeachment proceedings against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. They, however, have yet to find congressmen who would endorse their complaints. VACC and Vanguard’s complaint accuses Sereno of several instances of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Why did BIR settle for P65M instead of Del Monte's tax liability of P8.7 billion?

Big questions remain in the controversial tax settlement case between the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Del Monte Philippines Incorporated after two congressional hearings. A plunder case against top BIR officials, including Commissioner Caesar Dulay, has also been filed in relation to this. At the heart of the controversy is why the BIR accepted, swiftly, P65.4 million to settle 3 years of tax discrepancies valued at P8.7 billion.

Here's how much it will cost for professionals to meet new license renewal requirements

The Professional Regulatory Commission begins implementing Republic Act 10912 or the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016, which requires professionals to earn a specific number of units before their licenses are renewed. The units will be acquired through development programs, like seminars, graduate studies, and online courses, among others. They come with costs, of course. Here’s how much they will potentially spend on continuing education.

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