Duterte eyes ban on use of plastic

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2019   •   162

Plastic along coastline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti | REUTERS

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to ban the use of plastics in a bid to mitigate the effects of climate change, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president mentioned the idea during a discussion on climate change in a Cabinet meeting last Wednesday.

“The president floated the idea to ban the use of plastics, which according to him would require legislative action,” Panelo told reporters but said he is not sure if Duterte was referring to single-use plastics.

There are bills filed in Congress seeking to ban the use of single-use plastics that are currently pending at a committee level.

These measures seek to prohibit food establishments, stores, and markets from issuing single-use plastics, and task manufacturers to control the circulation and disposal of these materials. It also encourages consumers to instead use reusable or other alternative materials.

The Philippines has been listed in a 2015 report as one of the biggest sources of plastic leaking into the oceans, after China and Indonesia.

A recent study by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) revealed that Filipinos use more than 163 million plastic sachet packets, 48 million shopping bags and 45 million thin film bags daily.

The report called “Plastics exposed: How waste assessments and brand audits are helping Philippine cities fight plastic pollution,” used data from household waste assessments and brand audits conducted by Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) in six cities and seven municipalities across the country in the past five years.

The organization extrapolated the data to calculate daily and yearly plastic usage throughout the country in order to provide new quantitative evidence about plastic pollution in the Philippines.

GAIA said that findings in the report show how cities and municipalities in the Philippines are struggling against plastic residuals despite efforts of many localities to institute Zero Waste programs.

With the projected increase in plastic production worldwide, including in the Philippines, the group said that national governments, as well as local government authorities need robust data and effective strategies to address the looming plastic pollution crisis.

It also called on manufacturers to regulate, and stop producing, single-use plastics.

“We would appreciate kung ang Pangulo will tell Congress na iprioritize nga itong bill on single-use plastic,” Beau Baconguis, an Asia Pacific Plastics Campaigner of GAIA said.

“Dapat hindi lang tignan as a waste disposal issue at waste management issue pero titingnan ang buong life cycle ng plastic at buong problemang kaakibat ng different stages ng production ng plastic,” Baconguis added.

The House of Representatives, for its part, assured it will continue to conduct inquiries on proposals to ban the use of plastics in the country.

“There will be a hearing before the committee level, all the stakeholders shall be heard, and ultimately we shall decide the course,” Cavite Fourth District Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, said.

“The decision of the President will carry much weight in so far as the action of the House of representatives is concerned,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte says he ordered dismissal of 3 cops in body camera extortion case

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 21, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (November 20) said that he ordered the dismissal of three police officers involved in the body camera extortion case.

The three police officers were allegedly involved in extorting around P5 million from a bidder of body cameras.

“In the police, I—the three majors were working on a body camera and they were arguing because maybe of—because of money. What else? Because of corruption. And so I said, ‘Fire them, dismiss them,'” he said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa identified the police officers as Police Major Emerson Sales, Police Major Rholly Caraggayan and Police Major Angel Beros. 

Gamboa also said that he will sign the dismissal papers by Monday (November 25).—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace tells Robredo, Aquino: “Trust is earned”

Robie de Guzman   •   November 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – “Trust is earned.”

This was Malacañang’s response to Vice President Leni Robredo and her ally, former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino after they questioned President Rodrigo Duterte’s lack of trust in the vice president despite her appointment as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

In a statement issued on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Robredo must “understand that one’s election to the Vice Presidency does not automatically clothe the occupant with trustworthiness.”

“Trust is earned. The missteps of the VP did not inspire confidence in the matter of keeping to oneself classified information,” he said.

“Her job in leading the agencies involved in the anti-illegal drug campaign requires competence and creativity. Trust comes into play only as regards the non-transmission of state secrets that imperils the safety of the Filipino people and the sovereignty of the country,” he added.

Panelo also said that the president’s expressed remark should not stop Robredo from performing her new task.

“Since she will not be given access to privileged communication, she should not be bothered by the expressed lack of trust by the appointing power with respect to the confidentiality of state matters requiring secrecy,” he said.

“After all, she is tasked to help end the illegal drug trade in the country and not to get secret information of the government to share the same with her foreign and local peers,” he added.

The Palace official also reiterated that despite her being a member of a political opposition group, she was still given the job to co-lead the government anti-drug body to help address the country’s drug problem instead of “endlessly voicing criticisms.”

“Her designation is a call of duty coming from the Chief Executive to end the illegal drug trade in the country, a rare chance given to her, despite her being in the opposition, to help in the campaign against illegal drugs, instead of being a rambunctious critic who cannot see anything good on the war on drugs initiated by this administration,” he said.

Panelo also asked Aquino to focus on his case still pending before the Sandiganbayan, as well as taking care of his health, instead of “touching on a matter related to the dreaded drug menace that he never gave the attention and importance it deserves during his six-year presidency.”

The Palace official earlier claimed that the country’s drug problem “ballooned in magnitude” due to neglect during Aquino’s presidency. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte issues ultimatum to state offices to finish paperwork by December 15

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 21, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an ultimatum to state agencies to finish their paperwork by December 15.

The chief executive also expressed disappointment over the continuous red tape in the government despite his several warnings.

“It seems that things are moving very slow and that is why it is still a source of corruption. The longer you sit on the paper or nothing at all—either you are not working,” he said.

“Even the Cabinet members, they have one month to decide. I must have your decision on the papers before you. And I said last night, it has to be December 15. It’s been so many months now. Papers that are on your table must be out with a decision. If it’s for approval, good; if it is for denial, fine. But let it out,” he added.

Duterte also said military and government officials who are too slow in performing their duties should be removed from office.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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