Creation of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, unconstitutional and redundant – critics

admin   •   October 6, 2017   •   5092


MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo party-list Rep Gary Alejano believes the creation of Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, is unconstitutional and redundant.

The lawmaker argued that such a commission will only be used for the president’s benefits.

“This is a clear threat and intimidation to what the Ombudsman is doing. And this is also an assault on the independence of the Ombudsman,” said Alejano.

Members of the Liberal Party (LP) also criticized the said proposal of the president.

Senator Franklin Drilon said the president might use the said executive order to impose discipline, or possibly control over the officials of other branches of the government like members of the Congress, Judiciary, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections, Commission on Human Rights, and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Drilon explained that the creation of a presidential anti-corruption commission would violate the constitutional independence stated under the Constitution.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Bagulat, meanwhile said the plan of the president is a clear intimidation to the Office of the Ombudsman and aims to harass the critics of his administration.

On the other hand, administration ally Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the chief executive has the authority to create a separate organization.

He said the Executive branch should be able to detail the functions of the said commission.

“Let’s assume then that there is corruption in the Office of the Ombudsman, below the Office of the Ombudsman, where will the people go to? The Ombudsman? And if you were the president and you always hear such a complaint, will you just let it be? So I agree with the organization of commission but be conscious of the limits of its functions,” said Pimentel.

“They should know the extent of the power or limits of their power, the executive branch cannot discipline the ombudsman,” he added. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

 

No more written career service exams for the rest of 2020 – CSC

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Civil Service Commission (CSC) on Thursday (June 18) announced that it will not be conducting any written career service examinations for the rest of the year in view of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The CSC noted the implementation of public health standards particularly physical distancing, reduced capacity of public transportation, and restriction on mass gatherings, prompted the cancellation of the following civil service examinations via the pen-and-paper test (PPT) mode:

  • Fire Officer Examination, Penology Officer Examination, Basic Competency on Local Treasury Examination scheduled on 21 June 2020;
  • Career Service Examination (CSE) PPT (Professional and Subprofessional Levels) scheduled on 9 August 2020;
  • Intermediate Competency on Local Treasury Examination, Pre-Employment Test, Promotional Test, Ethics-Oriented Personality Test scheduled on 11 October 2020.

Likewise, the conduct of the professional and subprofessional CSE-PPT initially set for March 15 shall be reset for 2021, the agency said, and a separate advisory for the said rescheduled exam will be released by the CSC.

Drilon opposes Philhealth bid to delay implementation of Universal Health Care Law

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has opposed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (Philhealth) appeal to postpone the full implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law even amid the slump in collections this year due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Drilon said the UHC law is “critical” in the fight against COVID-19, and delaying its implementation is wrong.

“To halt the implementation of a law that would promote access to affordable care, strengthen our primary health care and make our people healthy to fight the virus is a step in the wrong direction,” he said.

“If COVID-19 taught us one thing, it is that we need to keep people healthy and we have to prepare for the next pandemic. UHC is the key,” he added.

While Drilon recognized the need to address Philihealth’s precarious position for it to be able to sustain its funding, he said it should not be at the expense of the people who are relying on the UHC for their health needs.

He added that the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the weaknesses and inequity in the current healthcare system, which the law seeks to address.

The Senate Minority Leader also expressed his concern that postponing the full implementation of the UHC could “discourage poor people from seeking hospital treatments or primary health care even if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.”

Drilon said the implementation of UHC is sourced from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, premium contribution of members, annual appropriation of DOH under the General Appropriations Act, and National Government subsidy to Philhealth.

Drilon said he has already called on the Department of Budget and Management to increase funding for the health sector in the National Expenditure Program for 2021.

“If we learned anything about the onset of the pandemic, it is that the health sector must get a big part of the budgetary pie,” he said.

The health of the people is the State’s responsibility,” he added.

Drilon, Lacson urge DOH to drop proposed P11.7-B fund for contact tracing, adopt other effective solutions

Robie de Guzman   •   June 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon called on the Department of Health (DOH) to be resourceful in its contact tracing and to drop its proposed P11.7 billion funding for the hiring of 130,000 individuals for the project.

In a statement on Tuesday, Drilon said government agencies should exercise prudent judgment in the use of public funds in consideration of the country’s growing budget deficit due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“Mag-ingat po tayo sa paggasta ng pera ng taumbayan lalo sa panahon ng krisis,” Drilon said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Given the increasing budget deficit, which is projected to reach P1.56 trillion or 8.1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product this year, this P11.7 billion should better be put to good use,” he added.

Drilon also backed Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s call to the DOH to divert the fund for contact tracing to the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

He said the health agency should stop insisting on its plan when it can find other ways “to do contact tracing without hurting the government coffers.”

The senator reiterated his proposal for the DOH to tap around 400,000 barangay health workers and parent-leaders from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to carry out contact tracing to save the government huge amount of money.

“Since they are already organized, they can be quickly mobilized as contact tracers,” he said.

“Our objective to prevent the virus from spreading is based on our ability to efficiently identify the infected and notify those he or she has made contact with. Hence, contact tracing is a must and should never be neglected,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson urged the DOH to adopt cheap, yet effective contact tracing solutions of local government units (LGU).

He cited for example the LGU of Carmona, Cavite which developed an app that can track users’ location history using a mobile phone’s GPS. It also allows uses to log interactions with other people and do self-assessment if they experience symptoms.

“In just a few days of implementation, the local government has already signed up 42,000 out of the municipality’s 97,557 residents,” Lacson said.

“For those without smartphones, the local government’s barangay and police personnel can input the information for them,” he added.

The senator also cited Baguio City’s contact tracing scheme, which relies on the geographical information system platform to plot the areas where possible COVID-19 carriers live

“With these technologies, we can potentially save P11.7 billion being asked by the Department of Health for contact tracers. I share Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s sentiment that there are more practical uses for the amount,” he said, noting that the budget could be used for livelihood programs for those severely affected by community quarantine triggered by the COVID-19 crisis.

The DOH earlier said it is planning to hire more than 95,000 contact tracers to meet the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of one tracer in every 800 people.

The proposed fund will be used to hire these contact tracers for three months.

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