Duterte allots P40 million for building of new clinic in quake-hit Batanes

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2019   •   786

Ruined houses left at the wake of the 5.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Batanes on July 27, 2019 | Courtesy: Sen. Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has assured to provide P40 million to Batanes for the reconstruction of a local hospital in Itbayat town that was damaged by earthquakes that rattled the area over the weekend.

Duterte made the commitment when he met with local officials in the province’s capital town of Basco on Saturday afternoon for a situation briefing.

“I’ll give you the P40 million…I hope you’d put it to good use,” the president said, instructing local officials to build a small clinic until the hospital is repaired.

Prior to the situation briefing, Duterte conducted an aerial surveillance of the quake-hit areas in Itbayat.

The chief executive also ordered local authorities to ensure that supply lines in Batanes are working to respond to affected villagers’ needs.

On Saturday, two earthquakes jolted the northern islands. The first one, with a magnitude of 5.4, struck at 4:16 a.m. at a depth of 12 kilometers northeast of Itbayat.

The second quake, registered at magnitude 5.9, hit a few hours later at around 19 kilometers off Itbayat.  

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that at least five villages were heavily hit by the temblor.

Eight people were killed, one was reported missing while 63 others were injured. At least 3,000 residents were affected by the quake and are currently staying at the Itbayat Plaza. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte orders stricter road safety checks after South Cotabato mishap

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 20, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered stricter implementation of road safety checks after a private truck fell into a ravine in South Cotabato on Tuesday (September 17).

Based on reports, 21 people were killed while 14 others were injured due to the South Cotabato mishap.

According to the Department of Transportation (Dotr), officials from several departments had a meeting with the president on Wednesday (September 18).

The chief executive has ordered to intensify roadworthiness checks, improve driver’s licensing requirements, periodic drug testing, and financial capability checks for operators.

“The chief executive pushed for the urgent nationwide implementation of the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) to improve the level of safety and security of passengers,” the Dotr said in a statement on Facebook.

Duterte has also emphasized that private vehicles used beyond their legitimate purpose should be banned.

Vehicles should also have proper road safety equipment and facilities while operators who do not have the financial capability for safety improvements should cease to operate.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the department will improve on road safety through various programs including Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS).

“Ilang buhay na naman ‘ho ang nawala sa atin. Itigil na ang kawalan ng disiplina. Itigil na ang pagiging pabaya sa kalsada. Sa utos ng ating Pangulo, sisikapin naming masiguro na tanging mga roadworthy vehicles lang ang bibiyahe sa kalsada, at lahat ng driver ay may sapat na kaalaman at disiplina sa pagmamaneho, (Several lives have already been lost. Let us stop the lack of discipline. Stop recklessness on the road. According to our President’s order, let us strive to ensure that only roadworthy vehicles should operate and all drivers should have discipline in driving),” Tugade said.—AAC

Duterte orders revamp at BuCor due to corruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the revamp of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Wednesday (September 18) due to alleged corruption.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has confirmed that the president plans to remove all the officials and employees at BuCor.

“It’s total revamp. He’ll remove all of them there,” he said. Panelo explained that BuCor officials and employees will be placed on floating status.

“Because of the corruption there. He [Duterte] wants to stop it,” he added.

BuCor is currently facing corruption allegations after 1,914 heinous crime convicts were released through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

During the Senate hearing, several BuCor officials also admitted other irregularities including the “hospital pass for sale” scheme.

The revamp, Panelo said, would give way for the newly appointed BuCor chief Gerald Quitaleg Bantag to freely select the people he would want to work with in BuCor.—AAC

Duterte certifies passage of 2020 national budget as urgent

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget as urgent.

According to his letter dated September 17 addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives, he wants the immediate passage of the proposed national budget to “maintain continuous government operations.”

“Ensure the budgetary preparedness that will enable the government to effectively perform its constitutional mandate,” the letter stated.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the president certified the proposed 2020 national budget as urgent to avoid a repetition of last year’s delay which affected several economic programs of the administration.

“He [Duterte] wants the members of Congress [to know] the importance of passing the budget on time to avoid a repeat of last year’s delay of its passage that wreak havoc in the economic program of the administration, and affected the delivery of basic services to the people,” he said in a statement.—AAC

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