Full Cabinet meeting set on October 12 sans VP Robredo

Marje Pelayo   •   October 8, 2020   •   336

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet will have an all-member meeting on Monday (October 12) at Malacañan Palace.

But Vice President Leni Robredo is not invited to the meeting and Malacañang has an explanation for that.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the President wants a serious discussion with his Cabinet about the government’s plan for the full reopening of the country’s economy and matters on how to resolve the shortage of public transportation as the situation returns to normalcy despite the looming threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Nagkaroon po kasi ng briefing si Secretary Dominguez at saka si Secretary Chua tungkol sa epekto ng pandemya sa ekonomiya at ipinakita nila na dahil sa pandemya ay humina ang ekonomiya na nagresulta sa mas maraming nagugutom, mas maraming bata ang malnourished, [Sec. Dominguez and Sec. Chua gave a briefing on the economic impact of the pandemic where they confirmed the weakening of the economy that resulted in more people suffering from hunger and more children becoming malnourished],” Roque explained.

So ang kanilang solusyon ay buksan pa ang ating ekonomiya dahil kaya naman nating mabuhay na naririyan sa kabila ng COVID-19, [So their solution is to further open the economy seeing that we can survive even in the presence of COVID-19],” he added. 

Roque clarified that the reason why Rodrebo isn’t invited is because she is not an official member of the Cabinet.

Although she has given her suggestions on how the government should respond to the current COVID-19 situation, Roque said, there is nothing new in her recommendations that the government could adopt.

“Saka sinasabi ko naman po na lahat ng suhestiyon niya pinakikinggn natin kaya lang wala pong bago. Kung meron siyang bagong suhestyon I am sure ikokonsidera po yan, [As I have said all her suggestions are being heard however, nothing is new. If she has suggestions that are new then, I’m sure, that will be considered],” Roque concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte declares Nov. 2, Dec. 24 & 31 ‘Special working days’ for this year

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a proclamation amending some dates that have long been traditional holidays in the country and making them now ‘special working days.’

Under Proclamation No. 1107, the president declared the following days as ‘special working days’ for the year 2021:

  • November 2 – All souls’ day
  • December 24 – Christmas eve
  • December 31 – New Year’s eve

These dates were previously classified as special non-working days under Proclamation No. 986 s. 2020.

“For the country to recover from the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to encourage economic productivity by, among others, minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead,” Duterte said in his order.

The coronavirus pandemic has plunged the country’s economy into a slump last year due to a lockdown that affected many businesses and workers.

Duterte designates NBI as sole body to probe PNP-PDEA ‘misencounter’

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has designated the National Bureau of Investigation to be the sole agency to investigate the alleged misencounter between cops and operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Malacañang said Friday.

“Nagdesisyon po ang ating president na tanging NBI lang po ang mag-iimbestiga duon sa putukan na nangyari sa panig ng mga kapulisan at PDEA diyan po sa Quezon City,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The shooting incident involving policemen and PDEA operatives occurred on Wednesday afternoon near a mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. Four individuals – two cops, a PDEA agent and an informant – were killed in the gun battle.

The PNP and PDEA earlier said that a joint Board of Inquiry has been created to look into the incident.

But due to Duterte’s order, the joint probe will have to be discontinued.

“’Yung mga binuong joint panel para imbestigahan yan, na binuo po ng PNP at PDEA ay di na po magtutuloy sa kanilang imbestigahan,” Roque said.

Both PNP and PDEA assured to work with the NBI in compliance with Duterte’s directive. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to personally welcome first batch of Sinovac vaccines on Feb. 28

Marje Pelayo   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to witness in person the arrival of the Philippines’ very first batch of COVID-19 vaccines scheduled on Sunday (February 28) at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed in a message that the event on Monday is part of the President’s schedule.

He is expected to be joined by other government officials in welcoming the shipment of the much-awaited 600,000 doses of CoronaVac of the pharmaceutical firm Sinovac donated by China.

A total of 100,000 doses of the CoronaVac will be reserved for members of the military.

Once the vaccines arrive, the government is expected to kick-off the nationwide vaccine rollout on Monday (March 1) which will prioritize frontline health workers, uniformed personnel, and senior citizens among other sectors.

The vaccine turnover rite was also confirmed by China through its envoy to the Philippines, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian.

“It is a fine tradition between China and the Philippines to help each other in trying times. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The donation of vaccines is another testament to the solidarity as well as profound friendship and partnership between our two peoples and two countries,” Ambassador Huang said on Facebook.

“I want to thank all those who have worked so hard in order to make this happen! I hope the vaccines will help kick off Philippines’ mass inoculation campaign to curb the pandemic and allow Filipinos’ life to return to normal at the earliest,” he added.

Meanwhile in a post on Twitter, the Chinese Embassy refuted claims that Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be given to health workers who have high exposure to positive cases.

The Embassy said the pharma company’s first trial inoculation on health workers in Brazil yielded positive results.

“Even under such extremely challenging conditions, the vaccine has show 100% protection to prevent fatal cases or severe cases that need hospitalization, 80% protection to prevent mild case which don’t need any medical intervention,” it said.

Thus, the Embassy said, “the Sinovac is good for medical workers with exposure to COVID-19.”

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