Aquino signs five measures into law

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd has signed five new laws, including measures requiring graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and allowing the full entry of foreign banks into the country.

According to Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Secretary Manuel Mamba said the President on Friday signed the new laws meant to boost consumer protection and economic growth.

“Maaaninag sa mga bagong batas na ito ang pagpapatuloy ng mga reporma sa larangan ng ekonomiya at kabuhayan, paglikha ng mas marami pang hanapbuhay, at pangangalaga sa kalusugan at kapakanan ng mga mamamayan [These laws would sustain the reforms in the areas of economy and livelihood, create more jobs, as well as promote public health and consumer protection],” Coloma said in an interview on dzRB radio on Sunday.

Under Republic Act (RA) 10643 or “An Act to Effectively Instill Health Consciousness through Graphic Health Warnings on Tobacco Products,” cigarette manufacturers must use half of the cigarette pack’s display to print vivid pictures showing the ill-effects of smoking. The warning will be placed at the lower portion of both sides of the cigarette packs.


Meanwhile, RA 10641 or “An Act Allowing the Full Entry of Foreign Banks in the Philippines,” states that foreign lenders seeking full entry into the Philippine banking system must be widely-owned and publicly-listed in their respective countries of origin.

The law will allow the Monetary Board to authorize foreign banks to operate here by acquiring, purchasing or owning up to 100 percent of the voting stock of an existing bank as well as investing in up to 100 percent of the voting stock of a new banking subsidiary incorporated under Philippine laws.

Coloma defended RA 10641, saying there are realities the country has to face with the integration of Asean economies.

Aquino also signed RA 10640, which introduces amendments to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and allows apprehending teams to have initial custody and control of dangerous drugs and instruments, among others.

To ensure the tight preservation of seized illegal drugs, the new law requires that the inventory of seized drugs must be held at the police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer or team of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. Two witnesses, an elected public official and a media or Department of Justice representative must also be present during the drug inventory.

Also signed by Aquino were the Anti-Lemon Law or RA 10642, which allows owners of new cars to secure a refund or replacement if repairs prove useless, and RA 10644 or an “Act Promoting Job Generation and Inclusive Growth Through the Development of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.”

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