Duterte calls on Congress to pass remaining priority economic, public service bills

Robie de Guzman   •   June 17, 2021   •   174

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has urged lawmakers to prioritize the passage of the remaining economic and public service measures that are included in his administration’s legislative agenda.

Duterte made the call during the re-enactment of the signing of several laws that were already enacted in May.

“I hope that when both houses of Congress resume sessions this year, priority will be given to the remaining flagship programs of my administration,” he said in a speech at the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday.

These bills include the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act.

Duterte said he wants to sign these measures “at the earliest possible time.”

During the ceremony, the president also thanked members of Congress for their efforts in ensuring that his administration’s legislative agenda will be translated into relevant policies and programs that will improve the lives of Filipinos and revive the country’s economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Duterte described Wednesday’s event as a testament to the “fruitful collaboration between the legislative and executive branches of government.”

“These laws – which open more opportunities for our people to serve in government and enable some of our LGUs to render more efficient and inclusive service – are part of our vision of bringing government closer to the people,” he said.

The president expressed optimism that more government agencies cooperate as the country takes more concrete steps to revive the economy and help the people recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“Now, more than ever, we need to follow the whole-of-nation approach in ensuring an inclusive and seamless response to the current challenges facing the nation,” he said.

“To the Filipino people, let me assure you that your government will continue to pursue measures that will improve and enhance your way of life,” he added.

Duterte also expressed confidence that with the help of Congress, his administration can pursue its legislative agenda that will improve and enhance the lives of Filipinos and promote the nation’s progress.

Among the recently signed laws that the President ceremonially signed were Republic Act (RA) 11549 or An Act Lowering the Minimum Height Requirement for Applicants of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor); RA 11544 or An Act Converting the Municipality of Calaca in the Province of Batangas Into a Component City To Be Known as the City of Calaca; RA 11545 or An Act Reapportioning the First Legislative District of the City of Caloocan Into Two Legislative Districts; and RA 11546 or An Act Reapportioning the Province of Bulacan Into Six Legislative Districts.

Congress will resume session on July 26 when the president delivers his final State of the Nation Address.

PNP to deploy 15,000 cops to secure Duterte’s final SONA on July 26

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy around 15,000 police officers to secure President Rodrigo Duterte’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 26.

PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar said the National Capital Region Police Office has finalized the security preparations and deployment plans for the SONA.

“Handang-handa na ang inyong Philippine National Police sa SONA ng ating Pangulong Duterte sa darating na Lunes,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Nakalatag na ang mga security plan at nakaantabay na rin ang sufficient number ng ating kapulisan para sa deployment at iba pang contingency measures,” he added.

Eleazar said the PNP has not monitored any threat to the SONA but assured that all personnel are ready to respond to any eventuality.

Police officers will also use body-worn cameras to help monitor the movements of suspicious persons who may be planning to disrupt the SONA, he added.

Eleazar asked for the public’s cooperation and urged groups planning to stage mass actions to conduct their activities online amid the threat of the more infectious Delta COVID-19 variant.

“Sa ilan nating mga kababayan na patuloy pa ring nagpa-plano para sa isang rally, nagpapa-alala ang inyong PNP na lubha pang delikado ang ganitong klaseng pagtitipon lalo na at may kumpirmasyon na ng local transmission ng Delta variant ng COVID-19,” he said.

“Mas ligtas na makinig at manood na lang tayo ng SONA sa ating mga tahanan,” he added.

8 senators to physically attend Duterte’s SONA on July 26 – Sotto

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Only eight senators will physically attend the final State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 26.

Based on the list shared to the media, the following senators will physically attend Duterte’s SONA which will be held at the Batasang Pambansa Complex:

  • Senate President Vicente Sotto III
  • Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri
  • Senator Ronald dela Rosa
  • Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
  • Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go
  • Senator Imee Marcos
  • Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.
  • Senator Francis Tolentino

Sotto said senators who have not manifested their intention to attend the SONA physically will be hearing Duterte’s address virtually.

The Office of the Senate Secretary earlier said that lawmakers and their staff who will attend Duterte’s SONA should be fully vaccinated and should yield negative results for COVID-19 RT-PCR and antigen tests.

Attendees will be required to present their vaccination cards indicating that they have completed their doses two weeks prior to the president’s SONA.

They are also required to undergo RT-PCR tests two days before the event, and antigen tests on Monday at the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

SONA attendees will also be required to wear Presidential Security Group-prescribed face masks, and face shields embedded with QR codes while inside the Plenary building.

Duterte’s political plans for 2022 won’t be mentioned in last SONA — Roque

Robie de Guzman   •   July 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The political plans for 2022 of President Rodrigo Duterte will not be included in his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 26, his spokesperson said Thursday.

“Siguro po, hindi mapapasama ang kaniyang mga planong pulitikal,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said at a Palace briefing.

“Importante po is the roadmap for his last year in office,” he added.

Duterte earlier said he is open to seeking the vice presidency in the next elections.

Roque on Wednesday said Duterte’s SONA will look back into the past five years of his administration and will focus on measures, such as infrastructure programs, that will help the country bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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