MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III confirmed on Wednesday (November 7) the appointment of Senator Gringo Honasan as Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
The appointment papers of the senator may be possibly released on November 12.
Sotto said that Honasan is a huge loss to the Senate. However, the Senate president believes that the senator can contribute greatly to the DICT particularly in national security.
“I think he will be an asset sa DICT. Ang nakikita lang natin sa DICT yung communications. Hindi pero ang laking factor dun ng national security, even the entry of third telco,” said Sotto. — UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday said a fresh investigation should be conducted into the alleged corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) following the resignation of one of its officers.
“There must be a full blown Senate investigation. Allegations and denials abound therefore diligence is necessary,” Sotto said in a statement.
“Where there is smoke, there is fire!” he added.
Lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith resigned from his post in PhilHealth citing “widespread corruption” in the agency as one of his reasons for quitting. He also said in his resignation letter that the mandatory payment of PhilHealth contribution by overseas Filipinos workers was “unconstitutional” and against his personal values to let OFWs “pay for the spillages” of the agency.
He also claimed that there is rampant and patent unfairness in the agency’s promotion process, and that his salary and hazard pay has not been on time since he started investigating Philhealth officers as its “anti-fraud legal officer.”
According to Senator Panfilo Lacson, he is now drafting a resolution seeking for an inquiry into the issue.
“I am now drafting a resolution calling for a Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry. As expressed by SP Sotto to me last night, this inquiry will be one of the Senate’s top agenda after our session resumes on Monday,” Lacson said in a separate statement.
Reports quoting sources said that corruption claims were the topic of an online meeting that led to a shouting match between Philhealth officials on Thursday evening.
“That such corruption occurred amid the COVID-19 crisis makes it more disgusting and abominable,” Lacson said.
“Nakakasuya na sobra. Needless to say, there is urgency that the Senate has to act on the matter immediately, as part of its oversight mandate, having passed the Universal Health Law,” he added.
Last year, the Senate launched a probe into alleged conflict of interest between PhilHealth and the Department of Health. The investigation also covered DOH contracts that went to pharmaceutical firms owned by relatives of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales earlier denied claims of widespread corruption in the agency and called on Keith to substantiate his allegations. He also said that Keith only raised the issue after his application for another post at the agency was turned down.
Morales also denied the alleged resignation of two other PhilHealth officers due to corruption allegations. He said his head executive assistant resigned to pursue his doctoral studies while a corporate counsel denied any news of quitting his post. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines – The net satisfaction ratings of Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano rose in the last quarter of 2019, based on the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released on Tuesday, March 3.
The survey, conducted from December 13 to 16, 2019, revealed that 59% were satisfied and 23% were dissatisfied with the performance of Robredo.
Robredo’s rating increased by three points for a “good” +36, an improvement from her previous +33 in September 2019.
Meanwhile, Sotto got a “very good” +62 net satisfaction rating after 73% of the respondents said they were satisfied with his performance as Senate President while 10% expressed dissatisfaction.
Sotto’s rating is one-point higher than his previous +61 in September 2019.
Cayetano also got a “very good” +53 rating as 67% of respondents said they were satisfied with his performance while 15% said they were not satisfied.
The House Speaker’s score is up by four points from his previous rating of +49.
The survey also showed that 40% of respondents were satisfied with the work of Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta while 19% said they were dissatisfied.
Peralta’s first net satisfaction rating was a “moderate” +21, the SWS said. He assumed the post in October last year.
The December 2019 survey also revealed that the net satisfaction rating of the Senate stayed “very good” +62 which is up from +56 in September; while the House of Representatives climbed from “good” to “very good” +51 from the previous +43.
The Supreme Court’s net satisfaction rating also remained “good” +49, up from +41 in September while the Cabinet as a whole stayed “good” at +45 rating, a 10-point increase from its previous +35 rating.
The Fourth Quarter 2019 SWS Survey was conducted from December 13-16, 2019 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide.
Please visit the link for additional information about the survey.
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang believes there is nothing wrong with the location of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) hubs near military camps following concerns about its possible risk to national security.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Chinese-dominated POGO hubs’ will be better protected if these are near military installations.
“Military camps? Eh di lalong magaling kung military camps dahil binabantayan sila ng military for their protection,” he told reporters in an interview.
However, Panelo said he would defer to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperson to assess any security issue being posed by foreign operated online gaming operations.
“The Palace will always defer to the National Security Adviser on matters of security in the country,” he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, for his part, said that providing protection to POGO hubs by the military is a “very valid suggestion,” but this is not part of their mandate.
However, he assured they are ready to help when their assistance is requested.
“That’s a very valid suggestion. But it is not the job of the military to watch or protect the POGO workers,” Lorenzana said.
“That is the job of the Bureau of Immigration, Police, DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. If our assistance is requested, we will assist,” he added.
Esperon has yet to issue any comment on the issue as of this posting.
Several lawmakers earlier raised a concern about Chinese-dominated POGO hubs near military camps and other vital installations, saying these pose risk to the country’s security.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) earlier defended its decision to situate POGO hubs and its foreign workers in areas near military camps for their security and rights protection.
Pagcor chairperson and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo said hubs for online casinos and self-contained communities were mainly created to provide basic needs and ensure the safety of foreign workers employed in POGO hubs. She added that POGO workers are free to go wherever they want to.
Domingo’s statement came after the Embassy of China in the Philippines raised concern over the creation of self-contained communities as this might violate Chinese workers’ liberties.
“So, if their liberties are not restricted and according to them, ginagawa nga nila iyon to protect them, so, kung ganoon naman ang essence noong paglagay sa kanilang lugar, I don’t think that will be a violation,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.