Hugpong ng Pagbabago endorses Ungab for House Speaker post

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2019   •   1335

Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab

MANILA, Philippines – Regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), led by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, on Wednesday endorsed Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab for the speakership post in the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress.

The party’s endorsement of Ungab comes after the announcement of Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte of his possible speakership bid amid a tight race in the lower House’s leadership.

“We understand if President [Rodrigo] Duterte, because of delicadeza, will not accept the intent of our brother from Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, Congressman Paolo Duterte, to resolve the conflict among candidates,” the party said in a statement released on Wednesday.  

“Therefore, we are endorsing the bid of Congressman Isidro Ungab for Speaker,” it said.

The party said Ungab is a four-term congressman and the only lawmaker to hold the chairmanships of both Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees.

“We suggest that Cong. Alan Peter Cayetano take the Majority Leader position, Cong. Lord Alan Velasco to take the Appropriations Committee, and Cong. Martin Romualdez to head the Accounts Committee,” the party said.

“We earnestly hope that everyone can see the light in this option and move forward with urgency in serving our country,” it added.

Nine out of 13 senatorial candidates endorsed by Duterte-Carpio’s political party won in the May Midterm polls.

She was also reported to be the one behind the ouster of former speaker, Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez before President Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2018. (with details from Grace Casin)

Cayetano suggests hiring financial forensic experts to investigate corruptions in gov’t agencies

Marje Pelayo   •   August 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano suggests hiring of financial forensic experts to help investigate irregularities in government transactions and to hold accountable any official involved in corruption. 

Dahil pagdating sa paper trail na at sa white collar na type of crimes, what we need is not the street type of investigators pero yun nga yung mga forensic, financial forensic,” Cayetano said.

[Because when it comes to the paper trail and white-collar type of crimes, what we need is not the street type of investigators but those who are financial forensics.]

This was his proposal in relation to the Senate and the House of Representatives’ hearing on the alleged corruption inside the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

“I’m a little bit concerned that if it can happen to PhilHealth, what about the other government financial institutions who obviously get billions or hundreds of billions in budget. We have to have an effective watchdog,” the House Speaker noted.

Cayetano assures the support of Congress when it comes to the budget that will be needed should the Commision on Audit (COA) and the Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) decide to hire such experts.

The said financial forensic experts will not concentrate on PhilHealth alone but to other agencies and departments in the government.

Marikina Representative Stella Quimbo, meanwhile, expressed her agreement to Cayetano’s proposal saying these experts will be a big help in scrutinizing important documents that can be used as evidence to unveil widespread corruption in a specific government agency. 

“Agree po fully kay Speaker. Importanteng malaman ang [I fully agree with the Speaker. It’s important that we determine the] extent and patterns of fraud through the financial records,” she explained.

“This will facilitate investigation and evidence gathering in a systemic way. Otherwise, piecemeal ang approach. The financial forensics will show kung talamak ang fraud,” she added.

READ: Duterte wants probe on alleged PhilHealth anomaly

State insurer PhilHealth is currently in hot water after reports of alleged corruption among its executives particularly the ‘overpriced’ IT equipment and projects. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Davao City gov’t intercepts LSIs allegedly trying to skirt protocols vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

Locally-stranded individuals (LSI) allegedly attempting to enter Davao City using a different airport or via land travels to avoid cumbersome protocols against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been intercepted by the Task Force Davao (TFD), the city government said.

In a statement, the city government said that as of July 28, Tuesday, the TFD reported having intercepted a total of 175 LSIs at the city’s three major entry points – Lasang, Sirawan, and Lacson.

TFD commander Colonel Consolito Yecla said that of this figure, at least 87 were residents of Davao City while the remaining 88 were just passing by for their destination provinces.

“Those who are residents of the city were escorted to the testing center for their swab tests while the non-residents were escorted toward the boundaries,” he said.

“We escorted them to the boundaries to ensure that they will not make a stop in the city, we treat everyone as a carrier so it will be vital if they make a stop,” he added.

On Wednesday the TFD also intercepted a person who failed the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) in Trento, Agusan del Sur.

The patient was immediately brought to the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC).

Some LSIs are allegedly trying to skirt an earlier order of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, requiring those entering the city to provide negative results of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) taken at least 72 hours before boarding their flights.

The order was later modified and testing is now being done as plane passengers leave the Davao International Airport.

Contract tracing was among the main issues in the past when LSIs tested positive for the disease.

With the exit testing, contact tracing will now be easier, the city government said.

Sara Duterte to skip father’s 5th SONA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said she will not be attending the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte which is set to be held on Monday, July 27 at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio on Wednesday, Duterte-Carpio said she is skipping this year’s SONA because she wants to avoid the cumbersome health requirements like going through swab testing and 14-day mandatory requirement as imposed on Davao-bound passengers to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Hindi pa ako dumadaan sa RT-PCR testing and of course, pag ganyan babalik na naman ako sa pagho-home quarantine ng 14 days. It’s not something na I want to do again kay dumaan na ako sa ganyan,” she said referring to the time she underwent home quarantine last March after her meeting in Manila with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who came in contact with a COVID-19 patient.

Mayor Sara also said she would rather stay in Davao City than travel to Manila to witness her father address the nation.

She also advised the public to watch the president’s SONA to hear about his administration’s accomplishments and other plans before his term ends in 2022. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marisol Montaño)

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