Duterte wants OFW department up by December

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2019   •   1248

One-stop service for Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs in side the POEA biulding in Ortigas.

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte wants the establishment of a separate Department of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) by December this year to address the persistent woes with illegal recruiters and other concerns.

Duterte said the proposed department’s power will include strict regulation of Philippine-based recruitment agencies.

“Kaya apurahin ko ‘yang Department of OFW. Bawal na ang recruitment sa abroad — sa labas. Kung gusto nila, diyan sila maglagay ng mesa. So, under the supervision of government at walang horrendous charges. Hindi ako papayag ng ganun ‘pag natayo ‘yan,” the president said in a speech during the Araw ng Pasasalamat for OFWs ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo last Friday (July 12).

Duterte said he wants the framework for this proposal be completed by the second week of August.

He also warned illegal and abusive recruiters to shape up as they will no longer operate without direct government supervision once the proposed department is created.

“Kaya kayong mga recruitment, bilang talaga ang araw ninyo… ‘Pag hindi ko kayo nadala sa usapan na maganda, brasohan tayo. ‘Pag nag-brasohan tayo, kayo ang matatalo. Sigurado ‘yan,” he said.

In line with this, former special assistant to the president and now Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go filed the Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.

Go’s proposal seeks the creation of the said department to serve as the umbrella agency to address all concerns of Filipinos working overseas.

The measure will also create an Overseas Filipinos Assistance Fund to provide financial aid to Filipino migrants in distress and provide livelihood loans for OFWs returning to the Philippines for good.

Once approved into law, the department will absorb the functions of the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, the International Labor Affairs Bureau and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.

Currently, Filipinos wanting to work abroad need to go to different departments to secure necessary documents and present other concerns such as employment and technical education.

The neophyte lawmaker believes the president will certify the measure as urgent to swiftly hurdle the Congress before the year ends.

“I think it’s possible and doable naman po by December. Maybe the president will certify it as urgent. At ang gusto na mangyari ng presidente [ay] maiwasan ang illegal recruitment or maging biktima ng illegal recruitment,” he said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte warns water concessionaires: I will order the AFP to take over

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 13, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Maynilad and Manila Water that he will order the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take over water distribution operations.

“I will order the Armed Forces to operate the water, ‘Sige, sundalo, take over kayo’ (Soldiers, go take over). And I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus but only against economic sabotage,” he said during the birthday celebration of former Senator Manny Villar on Thursday (December 12).

The Chief Executive has previously threatened the two water concessionaires with “economic sabotage” due to alleged irregular water deals.

In a letter, the two companies revoked their compensation claims prompting the government to pay almost P11 billion, as ordered by an attribution court in Singapore.

They have also offered to revisit the contracts in order to come up with possible amendments.

However, Malacañang said the President is still reviewing the said letter and has yet to decide on his next action on the issue.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has advised the two water concessionaires that the President will strive to enforce the law.

“The concessionaires are put on notice that the Chief Executive will not renege from his constitutional duty of enforcing the law. Neither will he be swayed nor enticed into accepting a compromise. Dura lex sed lex,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to give incentives to SEA Games athletes on Dec. 18

Marje Pelayo   •   December 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – All athletes who participated in the recently concluded 30th South East Asian Games (SEA Games) will be awarded and will get additional incentives from President Rodrigo Duterte.

The ceremony will be held at the Malacañang on December 18, Senator Bong Go told reporters.

The former Special Assistant to the President said the President is also giving the Order of Lapu-Lapu Award to all the athletes.

“Lahat ng gold medalist, silver medalist at ang bronze medalists ay makakatanggap ng Lapu-Lapu Award mula sa Pangulo (All gold, silver and bronze medalists will receive the Lapu-Lapu Award from the President),” Go said.

Among the recipients will be the ‘hero’ surfer Roger Casugay for exemplifying the Filipino value of bayanihan and showing the true spirit of sportsmanship when he chose to save his Indonesian competitor over his quest for a gold medal.

Go said the incentives and the awards are on top of what the athletes deserve to receive as mandated by law. – MNP (with inputs from Dante Amento)

Duterte meets with Filipino SEA Games ‘hero’ surfer, surfing team in Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 11, 2019

President Rodrigo (left); hero surfer Roger Casugay (center) with the rest of the Philippine surfing team at Malacañan Palace

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday met with the members of the Philippine surfing team, including Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Roger Casugay, who recently went viral for his heroic act of saving his Indonesian rival during their event.

Casugay and the rest of the team paid a courtesy call to Duterte in Malacañang, based on photos released to media on Wednesday morning.

Casugay earned praises after he rescued Indonesian surfer Arip Nurhidayat who was swept by rolling waves after he broke his leash in the middle of men’s longboard open surfing competition in La Union. 

The 25-year old surfer eventually won the gold medal after the event between the two was rescheduled on Sunday.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday expressed his appreciation for Casugay for personifying sportsmanship in the ongoing biennial meet.

The Senate also adopted a resolution commending the athlete for displaying an act of heroism and courage.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Casugay will be conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu by the President in a Palace ceremony next week.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu is bestowed upon individuals who are recognized for their invaluable service in relation to a campaign or advocacy of the President.

Casugay was earlier chosen to be the country’s flag bearer in the SEA Games closing ceremonies to be held on Wednesday at the New Clark City in Tarlac.

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