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DND: Phl and Russia yet to have military alliance

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016. (Photo courtesy: Reuters)

Russia is aggressive in offering the Philippines assistance to fight international terrorism and piracy.

However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified that there is no military alliance yet between the country and Russia.

“Very aggressive sila na makipag-ano tayo sa kanila relationship na military. Hindi naman alliance pero exchange lang ng mga estudyante, mga personnel, participation sa exercises, kumbaga observer lang sa exercises muna,” Sec. Lorenzana explained further.

(They are very aggressive in intensifying our relationship with them in terms of military. But it’s not alliance. It’s more of providing exchange students, personnel, participation in exercises, or providing observer in exercises.)

President Rodrigo Duterte plans to visit Russia in April or May.

Meanwhile, US State spokesperson John Kirby said there won’t be any effect on how the United States views the importance of its bilateral relationship with the Philippines.

The statement was made after reports of planned maritime exercises and intensified defense ties between Russia and the Philippines.

“And so again, I would leave it to both of their governments to discuss it. What I can promise you is that it won’t affect how we view the importance of our bilateral relationship with the Philippines,” Kirby said.

Two Russian navy ships are currently docked in the country for a goodwill visit and they will remain in the Philippines until Saturday.

Kirby also gave assurance that the defense relationship of the US and Philippines remains strong.

“The first thing I would say is that the defense relationship between the United States and the Philippines remains very, very strong. We do have security commitments, alliance commitments that we take very, very seriously.”

Pres. Duterte has already invoked independent foreign policy creating a bit of a tension with America in connection with his controversial war on drugs.

The president also explained his plans to intensify the relationship of the country to other world power such as Russia and China not for military alliance but for economic alliances. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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DND defends SAP Bong Go on the issue of Philippine Navy’s frigate acquisition project

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, January 19th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana (left) and SAP Bong Go (right) seen beside Pres. Duterte during the declaration of the liberation of Marawi City from terrorists (Presidential Photo)

Department of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has denied that Special Assistant to the President Bong Go intervened in the acquisition of frigates by the Philippine Navy.

The Defense Chief claims the DND did not receive any guidance or hint from Malacañang or from Secretary Go himself to manipulate the frigate acquisition.

Lorenzana noted the frigate acquisition project has a contract and that the Philippine Navy is strictly implementing the conditions under the said agreement.

“Nakalagay sa document (note on the document says) ‘Given to me by Bong Go’, I assumed galing ito sa kanya (I assumed it came from him). Hindi naman sa kanya galing (It did not come from him) personally but it came to me while I was in Malacañang,” Lorenzana said.

“According to some people in my office, kasama ito sa (it was included in a)brochure actually submitted to the Defense Acquisition Office. I don’t know how it happened, how it got itself dito sa (into) Malacañang. – UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang to conduct information campaign on TRAIN Law

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, January 5th, 2018

President Duterte’s ratings, expected

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines —  President Rodrigo Duterte wants the public to understand everything about the provisions and the purpose of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law.

This, following a series of increases in prices of goods and services in the country.

In line with this, the government will conduct an intensified information dissemination about TRAIN.

“I also know that PCOO is working double time to embark on a dissemination campaign on the salient features of TRAIN. Likewise, the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) will not hesitate to prosecute individuals who will take advantage of price hikes invoking TRAIN as a legal basis,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque also assured that government agencies like the DTI will not allow businessmen to exploit the system for their own gains.

“Ang excise tax naman po pinapataw hindi dun sa old inventory kundi sa mga bagong inventory. So walang dahilan para tumaas ang presyo on day 1 of the effectivity of the law (The excise tax is imposed not on the old inventory but on the new inventory. Therefore, there is no reason to increase prices on day one of the effectivity of the law),” Roque said.

Meanwhile, the government will improve the cash transfer fund in order to ease the burden of poor families.

“We already have a list of beneficiaries on the conditional cash transfer. It would be the same population that will benefit from this cash mitigation which is a provision of the Tax Reform Act or TRAIN,” the spokesperson added. —  Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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Lawmakers oppose possible term extension for President Rodrigo Duterte

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, January 5th, 2018

FILE PHOTOS: (Left-Right) Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Rep. Edcel Lagman

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s term will end in 2022.

However, owing to the proposed shift to a federal form of government, Senate President Koko Pimentel noted the possible extension of the chief executive’s term to pave way for the transition period.

With this, opposition senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan expressed concern that changing the Constitution and the system of the government will not only extend the term of the president but also give him more powers.

The senator noted one of these powers might be the creation of laws that would no longer need the approval of Congress.

According to Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, the President can manipulate the decision of the constituent assembly to implement the changes he wants in the Constitution.

Lagman explained this is because of the existing administration-allied supermajority in Congress.

On the other hand, Malacañang strongly denied the alleged term extension of the chief executive.

“I would like to repeat, the President does not want his term to be extended. In fact, he wants to shorten it,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez clarified the issue on the alleged possibility of a ‘no-election’ scenario. Alvarez said it might happen in the 2019 senatorial polls and not in the 2022 presidential elections.

He explained, should the charter change push through to pave the way for federalism, the structure of the government will change.

The House speaker said it might affect the senators whose term will end in 2025, noting it is practical to not hold an election in 2019 so that all senators will simultaneously end their terms in 2022.

Alvarez added that election for local positions and lawmakers in the House of Representatives might push through in 2019. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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