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Duterte signs law abolishing Road Board

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has finally signed the law abolishing the controversial Road Board.

The Republic Act 11239 was enacted on March 8, according to the document released by Malacañang on Tuesday (March 19).

The newly-signed law abolishes the Road Board which previously managed the road user’s tax or Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) for repair and maintenance of roads.

Under the measure, the monies collected from the MVUC will now be remitted to the National Treasury Bureau under a special account in the General Fund.

The law states that the collected fund “should be earmarked solely for the construction, upgrading, repair and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, and road drainage to be included in the yearly General Appropriations Act.”

A Congressional Oversight Committee will also be established to monitor the implementation of this act and the use of special funds.

The committee shall be composed of five members each from the Lower House and Senate to be appointed by the Speaker of the House and Senate President, respectively.

The panel must have one member each from the minority groups and will be jointly chaired by a designated member of the House of Representatives and a Senator.

The law stated that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) shall, as needed, absorb the employees of the abolished Road Board Secretariat, without diminution of their salaries and other benefits.

Employees who are separated from the service as a result of the abolition of the Road Board and its secretariat shall receive separation benefits provided that those who are qualified to retire under existing laws shall be allowed to retire and receive retirement benefits to which they may be entitled under applicable laws, rules and regulations.

The law also mandates the transfer of Road Board rights, records, assets and liabilities to the DPWH, including the unexpended appropriations or allocations.

The Secretaries of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) shall craft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) within 30 days from the effectivity of this act.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been pushing for the abolition of the Road Board, calling the agency a “milking cow” of corrupt government officials.

In 2018, the Commission on Audit flagged Road Board’s billions of pesos worth of unobligated projects and millions of pesos of excessive costs and overpayment. – Robie de Guzman

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ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines—Duterte

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and the ISIS flag | Courtesy : PCOO

President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines.

During his speech in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday (April 9) in commemoration of the Day of Valor, he said that the government is close to crushing violent extremism and is pleased with the military efforts against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“Your efforts have brought us even closer to our ultimate objective of totally crushing the violent extremism at its roots. With this, I can confidently declare that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines,” he said.

ISIS-linked militants held Marawi City hostage back in 2017. The military was able to retake the city after five months killing almost 900 insurgents including Isnilon Hapilon, considered leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

The Chief Executive assured that he will continue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while he is still in office. He will also provide assistance to the military and their families.

He committed to release P500 million fund for the military.

“I will continue to release 500 more and 500 more millions to my soldiers who do something for their country. I will see to it that you will have funds when you retire and that your school—your children and their schooling will be assured even if we are no longer there either by natural or by any other means of saying goodbye to this world. I have your back covered,” the president said.

The Chief Executive is eyeing on appointing former military officials to government posts. However, he denied using the military to empower himself.

He said that he prefers the military because he has seen failure and corruption in the bureaucracy.

“Hindi ako sabihin na pinapalakas ko ang sarili ko sa (I am not empowering myself using the) military because I do not need that. The people elected me. But I have a special fondness for the military for being fundamentally honest at (and) industrious. Kaya as you would see, the next few officials coming in would be military guys,” he added.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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PNP on RevGov: We adhere to the rule of law

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is prepared to adhere to the rule of law should a revolutionary government be declared in the country.

According to PNP Pcol. Bernard Banac, it is the mandate of the national police to maintain peace and order in the country.

“Sineseryoso ng PNP ang lahat ng banta sa seguridad, at peace and order, base sa aming mandato (Based on our mandate, the PNP is taking all threats seriously, and [maintaining] peace and order). The PNP shall always stand behind the flag and uphold the Constitution. We adhere to the rule of law and obey legal orders of the duly constituted authorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the President’s threat about forming a revolutionary government is due to his frustration on what is happening in the country.

“What I know though, is that he is getting exasperated by and frustrated with endless roadblocks to his attempts to protect the people’s interests,” he said in a text message.

He added that the President knows the limitations of his authority.

“As a lawyer the president knows the scope and limitations of his constitutional powers and he will act in accordance therewith,” he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also said that the President’s statement on forming a revolutionary government is out of frustration in all of the country’s problems including illegal drugs, corruption, and rebellion of communist groups.

Malacañang also clarified that the President’s warning in declaring a revolutionary government is not against the public but against the government’s enemies.

“It was more of an exasperated expression and I to put on notice against the transgressors that he will not just sit idly, and watch them do their illegal things,” Panelo said.

Meanwhile, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) President Edre Olalia said the President’s warning has no legal basis and does not follow logic.

“First of all, there is absolutely no legal, constitutional, & factual basis to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Secondly, his reaction to the cautionary criticism of the opposition is non-sequitur,” he said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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Duterte seeks suspension of ‘doble plaka’ law

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, April 8th, 2019

Thousands of motorcycle riders on March 24, 2019, staged a protest along EDSA to express their opposition to the implementation of double plates on motorcycles.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking the suspension of the ‘doble plaka’ law saying, bigger license plates can be dangerous for motorcycle riders.

In a speech on Saturday (April 6), Duterte said he will talk to Senator Richard Gordon about the proposition to amend several provisions in the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.

He will first convince the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to suspend the implementation of the double plates.

“Kasi it is not good. It is dangerous to place another gadget, lalo na may kanto. May kanto iyang plate number. It could be a plastic or it could be an aluminum but still with an impact, tutusok iyan sa helmet mo. Delikado. Anything that is sharp there, hindi maganda [Because it is not good. It is dangerous to place another gadget especially if there are corners. Plate numbers have corners. It could be a plastic or it could be aluminum but still with an impact, it will stab your helmet. Anything that is sharp is not good],” Duterte said.

The President suggested that instead of using double plates, it would be better to just increase the size of the current plates by 1/4 in order for it to be more readable.

He also wants to amend the fines imposed on violators. From P50,000, he wants to lower it to P10,000 to P15,000.

“Fifty thousand is mas mahal pa sa motor. Ano na lang sir, i-compromise siguro. Ako, I’m willing P10,000 to 15,000, okay na iyan [Fifty thousand, that is more expensive than the motorbike. Maybe there should be a compromise. I’m willing [to impose] P10,000 to P15,000, that is okay],” Duterte said.

The LTO is currently drafting the implementing rules and regulation of the new law, but it might still be subject to change depending on the President’s amendments.

Meanwhile Senator Richard Gordon has appealed to the President to give the implementation of the new law a chance before opposing it.

He said that the implementation can truly determine if the new law is effective or not.

He added that he is prepared to explain the law to the President and is also open to discussing the concerns the Chief Executive has raised.

President Duterte said he signed the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act on March 8 based on the recommendation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Motorcycle riders lauded the President’s measure to temporarily suspend the implementation of the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act.

According to Atoy Cruz, president of the Motorcycle Federation of the Philippines, they are happy because the President understands their concerns.

However, Cruz clarified that they only want amendments on some of the provisions of the law and not its full abolition. —Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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