Duterte makes surprise visit at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   June 10, 2019   •   3189

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.)

Duterte signs into law higher taxes on alcohol, e-cigarette

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 23, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law imposing higher taxes on alcohol, e-cigarettes, and other vapor products.

The Republic Act no. 11467 was signed to raise additional funds for the government’s Universal Healthcare Law.

Under the newly signed law, taxes on distilled spirits shall increase to P42 per proof liter this year and will increase by 6% every year starting 2025. There will also be an ad valorem tax imposed on the products which is 22% of the alcohol prices.

Meanwhile, taxes of wine and beer products will increase by P50 and P35 per liter respectively. These products will also be subjected to a 6% tax increase every year starting in 2025.

For vapor products, a pack of heated tobacco will have an excise tax of P25 this year. Salt nicotine products will have excise taxes set at P37 per milliliter while cigarette taxes are set at P45 per pack this year.

Taxes of all vapor products will increase by 5% every year in the succeeding years.

The law, meanwhile, exempts medicine for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol in value-added tax.

By 2023, the law will also exempt value-added tax on prescription drugs for cancer, mental illness, tuberculosis, and kidney disease.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has vetoed section 5 of the Republic Act.

“The sin tax law that has been approved, there’s one provision that was vetoed, section 5, regarding the authority of the court to first grant seizure of properties as well as searching,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

SWS: Duterte’s satisfaction rating hits new record-high

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte’s satisfaction rating has reached a new record high, according to the recent survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS).

Based on the 4th Quarter 2019 SWS Survey, Duterte got a 72% excellent net satisfaction rating, which is seven points higher compared to his September rating of 65%.

Malacañang welcomed the survey result saying President Duterte still has the support of the people.

“This means that the President has the support of the people, for which he is very thankful. But more than that, the people support him because they feel his legacy of real change,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar .—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte creates inter-agency task force on zero-hunger

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 16, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order creating an inter-agency task force to end hunger in the country.

Based on Executive Order no. 101, an inter-agency task force on zero-hunger will be created which will be chaired by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

“Involuntary hunger, food security, undernutrition and child wasting, stunting, and mortality continue to be serious concerns in the country,” the executive order reads.

The task force aims to assure that all government policies, programs and projects are centered in maintaining zero-hunger in the country.

“There is a need to carefully coordinate, rationalize, monitor and assess the efforts of concerned government agencies and instrumentalities to ensure a whole-of-government approach to eradicating hunger and achieving food security,” it further reads.

The members of the task force include the secretaries of agrarian reform, budget, education, environment, health, labor, interior and local government, trade, science and technology, communications, National Economic and Development Authority director-general, and the head of the Commission on Higher Education.

The fund for the task force will be taken from the allotted budget of the members.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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