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ConCom eyes submission of final draft of new Constitution on July 9

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2018

The Constitutional Commission


MANILA, Philippines – The Consultative Committee (ConCom) for amending the Constitution targets to submit its final draft to President Rodrigo Duterte on July 9; weeks ahead of  the President’s third state of the nation address (SONA).

The consultative body is still finalizing three more articles on federated regions, transitory provisions, and some amendments.

The draft of the new Constitution will then be voted upon in an en banc session on June 14.

Meanwhile, members of the ConCom will soon move for the regional presentation and consultation with the Presidential Management Staff Office of the Regional Concerns, representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG,) the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO,) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

They will be in Dumaguete City from June 17 to 19; Butuan City and Legazpi City from June 21 to 23; and in Baguio and Tacloban City from June 25 to 27. – Mai Bermudez

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Malacañang calls on Congress to respect Duterte’s prerogative over Sec. Diokno

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2018

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (December 12) called on both houses of Congress to respect the authority of President Rodrigo Duterte over each member of the Executive branch amid calls for Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to resign.

On Wednesday (December 11), the Lower House adopted House Resolution No. 2365 “which urges the Office of the President to reconsider the appointment of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno” after the congressmen grilled him in a joint session over alleged insertions in the proposed 2019 National Budget.

President Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement said, while the Executive branch respects the Legislative branch’s decision to act against Diokno, Panelo explained that: “Secretary Diokno’s record in the government service, to the mind of the Chief Executive and of the rest of his Cabinet, is unblemished. As one of the Administration’s economic managers, PRRD considers him as one of the best and brightest in his official family. Sec. Diokno’s reputation as an upright, competent and honest public servant stays solid up to this day.”

Panelo noted that it is the Congress who has the authority under the Constitution “to scrutinize the budget and even has the power to revise or amend proposals found in it.”

The Presidential Spokesperson said the Congress should at least show respect to the Chief Executive’s prerogative of choosing his own officials the same way that the President respects the same privilege the Lower House congressmen enjoy.

“Should it feel that there was irregularity in the allocation of the budget, it can always correct it apart from having the option of recommending the filing of charges against those they deem are responsible for the transgressions should the same amount to a crime.  In the same manner that the President doesn’t tell Congress who it will choose as its officers and how to go about it, we wish that its members return the same courtesy,” Panelo concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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LGU preps for tighter security as Duterte confirms attendance in Balangiga bells’ turnover

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2018

The Balangiga bells have finally arrived at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at 10:35 a.m. December 11, 2018.

MANILA, Philippines – After skipping the arrival and handover ceremony of the historic Balangiga bells in Villamor Air Base last Tuesday (December 11), President Rodrigo Duterte finally decided to attend the formal turnover of the bells to the people of Balangiga in Eastern Samar on Saturday (December 15).

In a statement released Thursday (December 13), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President’s “change of mind” was due to the “persistent requests” from the locals of the town of Balangiga where the historical artifacts were originally installed.

Panelo said: “The President has made changes in his schedule of activities to join the Filipino community in welcoming the return of the bells.”

“While the President considers his physical presence at the ceremonial turnover an added attraction to the event, he gives more importance to the fact that after 117 years, the Balangiga bells, which symbolize the bravery and patriotism of the Filipinos who refused to be subjugated by a foreign power and shed blood to assert the sovereignty of our country, have been returned to their origins where they properly belong. The bells are now indeed home,” Panelo added.

Meanwhile, the program is all set for the return of the bells to their hometown in Balangiga.

Based on the local government’s historical accounts, the two bells which were confined in the US are now 155 years old while the third bell from South Korea is already 129 years old.

Residents couldn’t contain their excitement noting that the bells had been away from the town for more than a century.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa tumulong kung sino man sila. Hindi pa nga kami mga tao noong mga kauna-unahan pa. Malaki talaga ang aming pagpapasalamat kung sino man ang tumulong para maibalik sa amin,” said Letecia Cabanilla, as resident of Balangiga.

According to Serafin “Lentoy” Tybaco, the parish priest assigned in Balangiga, the formal turnover will be held inside the Church of San Lorenzo de Martir, the bells original house before they were taken by U.S. soldiers in 1901.

In the evening of Saturday, the bells will be on display outside of the church for public viewing and photo opportunity.

“Pagdating ng bells dito muna para sa formal ceremony. Mayroon tayong platform na ginawa ngayon at after ilalagay na doon sa landscaping para sa display. After ng display mag-uusap pa ang local government at simbahan kung ano ang plano para sa pormal na paglalagyan doon sa bell tree sa kanyang bell tower kung saan kinuha ang mga Balangiga bell,” Tybaco explained.

A short program after the turnover ceremony will be held at the municipal gymnasium to give thanks to the people who have been instrumental for the return of the bells.

The local government, meanwhile, vows to provide support even financial assistance for the maintenance of the bells.

Meanwhile, security measures are now in place in and around Balangiga town as President Duterte is expected to grace the occasion.

“May pagkakakilanlan, may ID system na kailangan rin for security reasons kasi ang perimeter natin hindi basta-basta na kung sino-sino na lang ang pupunta, papasok at lalabas. May mga procedures tayo na pina-follow. Nakikiusap kami sa lahat ng ating mga bisita na pupunta na mag cooperate tayo sa ating mga procedures na ipapatupad,” appealed Balangiga Mayor Randy Graza.

The local government also reminds non-residents in Balangiga that the town has not much commercial facilities for visiting tourists. Mayor Graza advises arriving visitors and tourists, however, to ask local residents for short-term accommodation while they join the festivities.

Mayor Graza said that if they wish to, tourists may book for accommodation in the nearby town of Tacloban. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Jenelyn Gaquit)

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Ex-AFP chief Carlito Galvez is the new presidential peace adviser

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Former AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez who just retired, has yet another role to play in the Duterte government.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Tuesday (December 12) at the AFP’s 83rd Anniversary and Change of Command ceremony that Galvez will be replacing former presidential peace adviser, Jess Dureza who previously resigned after two of his subordinates were accused of being involved in corruption.

“By the way, before I forget, si General Galvez will join the Cabinet next week as the Secretary of the Peace Process Office,” Duterte said to the audience.

The President added that Galvez is the 9th military man to be appointed under his administration.

His most notable accomplishment as the 50th AFP chief of staff is the strengthening of internal security operations.

“Upon assuming command, he supervised our internal security operations and the implementation of martial law in Mindanao. This led to the neutralization of more than two thousand terrorists, the recovery of thousands of firearms, and the clearing of seven guerrilla fronts,” the President said.

Replacing Galvez as AFP chief of staff is the current head of Eastern Mindanao Command, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal.

Madrigal’s appointment coincides with the establishment of a new division of the Philippine Army in Jolo, Sulu and the formation of a national task force that will combat the armed insurgency of the communist rebels.

“We now shift to a new civilian-led approach that will tap other government agencies and other private sectors in bringing basic services and other development interventions that will address the root cause of the communist movement,” the President said during his speech.

Duterte has ordered Madrigal to continue the good work that his predecessors have started in achieving lasting peace for the country.

“General Madrigal, you are now tasked with the responsibility of preserving peace and ensuring order as we shift to this new approach. Sustain the progress of those who came before you and create a legacy that will cause ripples of positive change in the years to come,” President Duterte said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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