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Duterte makes surprise visit at NAIA

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 10th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte makes a surprise visit at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday morning made a surprise visit at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) following reports about delays and cancellations of several local and international flights.

Duterte made rounds at the NAIA Terminal 2 in Pasay City around 2 a.m., according to a news release from the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

He was accompanied by officials from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

During his visit, the President asked airline officials about the flight cancellations and diversions, and if affected or inconvenienced passengers were given proper assistance.

He also discussed how flight aberrations could be minimized, as well as a long-term solution to address the problem.

“The President apologized for the inconveniences to the public because of the delays, and I understand, the head of the NAIA committed to the President they are doing something about the problems in NAIA,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.

On Sunday, more than 50 international and domestic flights at NAIA were canceled and diverted to Clark International Airport in Pampanga after ramp operations were suspended due to the inclement weather.

Airport operations were suspended for about three hours, from 6:40 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) issued a red lightning alert due to bad weather.

A red lightning alert is a safety measure taken to prevent any untoward incident from happening when flashes of lightning are prevalent in the immediate area and may endanger personnel, passengers, and even flight operations.

MIAA said the lightning alert was later downgraded to yellow, which was considered as a normal alert status.

Authorities earlier apologized to passengers affected by flight delays and cancellations.

Airport operations have since returned to normal. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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Tugade allays flooding concerns amid construction of Sangley Airport

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

File photo: DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday allayed fears of flooding amid the ongoing construction of the Sangley Airport in Cavite.

During an inspection led by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade at the construction site, he said there was no trace of flooding in the area despite rains that occurred overnight.

“Umulan ng malakas kagabi hanggang kaninang madaling araw, pero kita niyo naman, walang baha dito sa airport,” Tugade said in a statement posted on Facebook.

IN PHOTOS: DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade led the inspection on the construction progress of Sangley Airport in Cavite…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Thursday, 13 June 2019

He also assured that the airport development will continue despite inconveniences to meet the operational timeline set by President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: DOTr orders 24/7 construction of Sangley airport

Tugade earlier ordered the 24/7 construction of Sangley Airport to expedite the transfer of domestic flights to reduce congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“Let us not see shadows when there is no sun. If we are all to answer the ‘perhaps’ and the ‘maybes,’ nothing will happen in this country,” he said.

“We should not stop development simply because we are afraid of future inconveniences. Bear in mind that the price of development is an inconvenience,” he added.

During Friday’s inspection, Tugade checked the completed asphalt overlay of the runway, as well as the ongoing construction of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB), the drainage system, and the hangars.

He also inspected an area for the landing berth of the ferry operations.

The DOTr reported that the construction of additional facilities at the Sangley Airport, which started last year and is now at 48.68% completion rate.

The inspection was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy.

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Too good to be true — Duterte on investment scams

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte again urged the public not to join any investment scheme operations reportedly similar to Kapa Community Ministry.

“If it is too good to be true, then it is really wrong,” he said. “Maniwala kayo sa akin kasi abogado ako, presidente niyo ako. Kung kung totoo pa iyan, porbida ako na magsasabi ‘sige’ pati ako sasali na. Huwag kayo pumasok diyan, panloloko iyan (Believe me because I am lawyer, I am your president. If it were legitimate, I would be the first to say yes; I’ll even join one. But it’s a scam, so don’t enter into one).

“I’m sorry. The operation will be stopped or shall stop immediately,” he added.

The chief executive also reiterated his order to stop the operation of Kapa Community Ministry and the arrest of the officials as well as its founder.

“Ang sinabi ko sa NBI at police, hulihin. Kasi iyang estafa sa batas natin na ginawa ng Congress, large scale estafa in non-bailable, hindi ka makakapyansa. (I told the NBI and police to arrest [the officials]. Because that is large scale estafa which is non-bailable)” he said.

Duterte also warned the members of Kapa that they might get arrested if their names were listed as members of the organization.

Meanwhile, Kapa Community Ministry Official Lecturer Rene Catubigan insists that their group is not an investment scheme.

“Pumirma po kasi ang member ng deed of donation kaya I would like to correct the term na hindi po investment ang kanilang inilaan kundi donation. Iyong interes hindi namin tinatawag na interes iyon kasi ang tawag naming doon ‘love gift’ or ‘blessing’ (The members signed a deed of donation so I would like to correct the term. It is not an investment but a donation. The interest is not called an interest but a ‘love gift’ or ‘blessing’),” he said.

Kapa members held a prayer rally on Thursday (June 13) in General Santos, however, founder Joel Apolinario did not attend due to fear of arrest.—(with reports from Janice Ingente)

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Thousands of Kapa members join Gensan rally against gov’t crackdown

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Members of the Kapa Community Ministry International on Thursday gathered in a prayer rally in General Santos City in Mindanao to appeal against the government’s crackdown on the group’s alleged investment scam.

Thousands of the group’s members coming from different areas in Luzon and Visayas arrived at the Sports Complex, Calumpang since Wednesday to join the event.

The rally was held after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered an intensified crackdown against the group’s alleged operation of investment scams.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier said criminal complaints will be filed against the officials of Kapa Ministry for operating a fraudulent investment scheme.

READ: SEC: Criminal raps to be filed vs Kapa Ministry\

SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino said Kapa Ministry solicited what it called “donations,” promising returns as high as 30 percent per month without the appropriate secondary license for investment products.

The commission already issued an advisory against Kapa’s activities in March 2017 and a cease-and-desist order in February 2019.

The Court of Appeals (CA) earlier ordered the freezing of several bank accounts and other assets linked to Kapa upon the petition of the SEC and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

Amid the crackdown, some of Kapa members belied that their investment scheme was a scam.

Kapa president and co-founder, pastor Joel Apolinario has yet to show up in the group’s gathering in General Santos City.

He, however, sent a message explaining to his members that he chose not to attend Thursday’s rally to avoid any chaos should authorities try to arrest him during the event.

Rene Catubigan, an official lecturer of Kapa Ministry, claimed that Apolinario will meet with Duterte when he arrives in Davao City later Thursday. The president is scheduled to travel to General Santos City on June 13 to attend a public engagement.

Catubigan said Apolinario is likely to personally explain Kapa’s investment scheme and appeal to the president to stop the crackdown against their group.

“Ang mga representative ng Kapa, if not the founder himself, pupunta sa Davao at makikipagkita sa ating mahal na pangulo,” he said.

“Hindi siguro ako ang right person [to say it] pero my speculation is that they will be talking about the legalities of Kapa if there are any changes,” he added.

Kapa Ministry members hope that the president will listen to their plea. (with details from Janice Ingente)

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