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SAF 44, to be awarded Medal of Valor

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The Gallant 44 (SAF44) of the Oplan Exodus or the popularly known as the Mamasapano encounter on January 25, 2015. (PNP-SAF)

The Gallant 44 (SAF44) of the Oplan Exodus or the popularly known as the Mamasapano encounter on January 25, 2015. (PNP-SAF)

The bereaved relatives of the 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) who died during the bloody Mamasapano incident two years ago have one wish.

They wish to achieve: justice for the deaths of their loved ones; promised benefits which are yet to be given, and assurance that the persons involved in the questionable operation, Oplan Exodus, will be held responsible.

“Sir, President, ikaw po ang pinaniniwalaan naming makatutulong sa amin. Ikaw po ang pinaniniwalaan naming makapagbibigay sa amin ng hustisyang matagal na naming inaasam para sa pagkamatay ng aming mga mahal sa buhay. Sir, tulungan po ninyo kami. Alam ko pong matutulungan po ninyo kami,” pleaded Erica Pabalinas, widow of Senior Inspector Ryan Pabalinas.

“Ang ipinangako pong employment po ng members of families po na until now po, di pa po employed ang iba gaya ko po,” said the widow of PO3 Andres Duque.

WATCH: All involved in Oplan Exodus must be held accountable – PNP Chief Dela Rosa 

However, aside from this, they also want all the SAF 44 be given a medal of valor.

“Bakit, sa SAF 44 troopers, dalawa lamang ang nagawaran ng Medal of Valor? Ano ang pamantayan ng mamatay sa labanan, para ang isa ay magawaran ng medalyang yaon? Paano naman ang iba pang 42 troopers? Hindi ba sila namatay nang lumalaban? O dahil walang makapaglahad ng istorya?” asked John Anniban, father of Senior Inspector Cyrus Anniban.

Under the administration of former president, Noynoy Aquino, only two of the fallen 44 were awarded with medal of valor.

But this time, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa to complete within this month, all requirements needed for the granting of valor awards to the rest of the SAF members who died in the botched operation.

WATCH: Ombudsman files case against Purisima, Napeñas over Mamasapano encounter 

“Anyway all the records are there. There is no need for investigations. Look at the records of the Senate and everything. At kung sa tingin mo, bilang isang sundalo, na ang 44 SAF members ay karapat-dapat sa kagitingan, irekomenda mo. At ibibigay ko ito sa lahat na 44. Kasama no’n ang ilang pribilehiyo dahil sa pagkamatay ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay nang naglilingkod sa bayan,” said the President during his speech.

The medal of valor is the highest recognition that can be achieved by a member of the Philippine National Police.

The child of a medal of valor awardee will receive educational scholarship grants, while a P20,000 lifetime monthly pension will be given to surviving families.

Meanwhile, apart from the recognition, President Duterte spromised another thing.

“Magtatakda ako ng isang araw, at ito ay tatawaging “A Day of Remembrance for the SAF 44,” he said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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Duterte suspends business operations of Chuzon stores in Pampanga

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte visits quake-hit areas in Pampanga. | Photo from MPC Pool

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the suspension of business operations of Chuzon Supermarkets in Pampanga following the collapse of one of its buildings in the town of Porac during the magnitude 6.1 earthquake on Monday.

The President made the order during a situation briefing held at the Pampanga Provincial Hall on the effects of the strong temblor that rattled parts of Luzon.

“Well, in probability, the one who constructs the supermarket here could also be the one who constructed the others. I’d like to presume that, although I stand corrected,” Duterte said.

“So it would be a good time to just give them the advise to stop, cease and desist in doing business until such time that the clearance [is] given by government, whether city engineer or whoever is competent to review the planning, ” he added.

Duterte’s order came after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recommended the issuance of an order for the suspension of the supermarket chain’s business permit.

The President said it was “appalling” that the grocery branch collapsed, considering that the building was just four years old.

The earthquake hit Pampanga the hardest, although its epicenter was located in Castillejos, Zambales.

READ: Phivolcs explains why Pampanga was hit hardest by Luzon quake

Several structures and roads in the province sustained damages after an earthquake rocked parts of Luzon late Monday afternoon.

Earlier on Tuesday, Duterte visited the quake-hit areas in Pampanga, including the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac.

Based on the latest data released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday, 16 people were killed in Monday’s quake.

READ: Luzon quake death toll rises to 16

Of the 16 reported fatalities, 12 were from Porac, two from Lubao and one from Angeles in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.

The NDRRMC also said that 81 people were injured and 14 remain missing. — Robie de Guzman

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Duterte cancels work in Metro Manila gov’t offices

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the suspension of work in government offices in Metro Manila on Tuesday, April 23 following the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that shook parts of Luzon on Monday afternoon.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the announcement was based on the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“Per Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea as recommended by the NDRRMC and in order to ease up the load of the public transport system, work in government in the National Capital Region is suspended on 23 April 2019,” Panelo said in a statement.

Affected governors were also ordered to assess the damage to infrastructure in their respective areas and to take necessary safety measures.

“The President has directed the governors of the affected provinces to assess the damage sustained by their respective localities and take the necessary measures to ensure public safety,” Panelo said. – Robie de Guzman

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Andaya tells Malacañang: Bare vetoed parts in 2019 budget

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.

MANILA, Philippines – A leader of the House of Representatives on Monday urged Malacañang to bare the details of the provisions in the 2019 national budget that were vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. made the call after Duterte signed the 2019 General Appropriations Act but vetoed more than P95 billion items of appropriations in the details of the projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

READ: Duterte signs P3.7-T national budget for 2019

Andaya said the Palace should reveal the details of the vetoed provisions “in the interest of transparency and for the guidance of the public.”

“I urge Malacañang to release the President’s veto message in full immediately so that we can base our reaction on the official document,” he said in a statement.

The lawmaker also hinted that the Senate’s alleged pork barrel remains intact in the newly-signed 2019 budget, saying this could be the reason why Senators are in celebratory mood over the deletion of the House amendments amounting to P95.3 billion.

“My friends in the Senate are going to town claiming victory over the deletion of the House amendments. Does this mean that the Senate port remains intact? Could this be the reason for their celebratory mood?” Andaya said.

The solon also argued that the President’s veto on several items in the budget could be “conditional” in nature.

“I believe that the veto being speculated about is of the conditional kind.  As such, the appropriation remains but its release is subject to conditions,” he said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said in a text message on Monday that Duterte vetoed some parts in the budget that were not part of the administration’s “programmed priorities.”

Andaya has been insisting that the realignments they made were not post-ratification as these had been authorized by the bicameral conference committee report and did not exceed the expenditure ceilings of respective departments and agencies.

He also said that Senate President Vicente Sotto’s signing of the budget bill with strong reservations was ill-advised and baseless.

READ: Andaya hits Sotto’s “strong reservations” in signing 2019 budget bill 

Meanwhile, Senators have expressed relief with the signing of the budget and commended Duterte for vetoing the questionable insertions in the 2019 spending program.   

“I am relieved that the 2019 budget has finally been signed, primarily because further delay would have caused adverse effects on our macroeconomy,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement.

“The veto is proof that the Senate was right all along in saying that the changes made were unconstitutional,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also lauded Duterte’s move, calling the signing of the “pork-free” national budget a “victory for Filipino taxpayers.”

“If there is one act of PRRD (President Rodrigo Duterte) that is worthy of admiration, this veto message is on top of my list,” Lacson added.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also believes that Duterte’s decision to reject the P95-billion items of appropriations is constitutional.

“The President’s line item veto is based on legal and constitutional grounds, and not because the President sided with the Senate,” Drilon said.

Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, urged her colleagues and the public to be alert to ensure that the taxpayers’ money will be spent accordingly.

“Magbantay tayo para matiyak na ang huling piso ay sa kapakanan ng taumbayan mapupunta,” she said.

(We should be on guard to ensure that the last peso will be spent on the public’s welfare.) – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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