Japan firms to support PH transport infra projects

Robie de Guzman   •   May 31, 2019   •   4961

MANILA, Philippines – Various Japanese firms have committed to support the infrastructure projects and programs of the Duterte administration following a series of meetings in Tokyo, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s four-day working visit in Japan, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade met with several heads of Japanese companies and organizations to discuss partnerships for the government’s infrastructure projects.

He was joined by DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Garry de Guzman in the meeting where Japanese firms confirmed their commitment to support various Philippine transport initiatives.

DOTr officials also met with senior leaders of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to discuss the implementation of Japanese-funded transportation infrastructure projects in the Philippines.

In a meeting with Taisei Corporation Chairman Takashi Yamauchi, Taisei Corporation President Yoshiyuki Murata, and D.M. Consunji Inc. (DMCI) President and COO Jorge Consunji at the Taisei Corp. Headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Tugade discussed the completion of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) Clark Phase 1 project.

He urged the Taisei Corporation and DMCI to fast-track the project’s target date of completion to the last quarter of 2021 from 2022.

Once operational, the rail segment is expected to cut the current one hour and 30 minutes travel time from Manila to Bulacan to just 35 minutes.

The transportation chief also met with officials from Sumitomo Corporation to discuss rehabilitation and maintenance updates on the Manila Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3).

The DOTr said Sumitomo has already ordered major parts and components for the MRT-3 and negotiated with its suppliers for faster delivery. Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) parts will arrive in July, while tracks and signaling components are set to be delivered in August.

Secretary Tugade also met with Toyota Motor Corporation for its possible participation in the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

Meanwhile, the Marubeni Corporation gave a letter of intent to support the Philippines’ maritime projects. The company committed to aiding the development of the country’s maritime safety capability, through the provision of maritime expertise, particularly on the design and construction of ships.

“Armed with the expertise of our Japanese partners, we are working double time to deliver our projects so that Filipinos can experience a comfortable life through enhanced mobility and connectivity,” Tugade said.

Robredo’s ICAD position not a Cabinet rank – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo’s role as co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD) is not a Cabinet-level position, Malacañang said.

In a message to reporters on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Robredo is not a member of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet and that the post she was recently given was not a Cabinet rank.

“The post she was appointed to is not a Cabinet level. The discretion to appoint her as a member of the Cabinet, in addition to her appointment as the anti-illegal drug czar lies with the President,” he said.

Early this month, Robredo accepted the task to co-lead the government’s campaign against drugs, which the Palace previously said is a Cabinet-level position.

However, Panelo earlier said that Robredo will be invited to attend Cabinet meetings if the issue to be discussed will be about the government’s war on drugs.

Robredo earlier said she will only attend Cabinet meetings if she is invited, adding that it was not specified whether her new task is a Cabinet position when she received the appointment.

Prior to Panelo’s message, Duterte said in an interview with GMA on Monday that he did not designate Robredo as part of his Cabinet.

“I have not signed an appointment designating her as a cabinet,” the president said. “You know why? Early on she was talking right and left that she would talk to this and talk to that.”

“In the Cabinet meeting, we talk about what’s happening. Eh kung marinig nya yan dyan tapos dadaldal niya sa labas?” he added.

“Unang-una, Leni hindi tayo magka-partido. Hindi ako suspetsoso pero kung may makita ka diyan para ibuhos mo sa akin o ibigay mo doon sa iba para ibuhos sa akin… ‘Yan ang problema. Kung kapartido tayo, walang problema,” he said.

Robredo earlier gave assurance she would not divulge any classified information on the government’s war on drugs.

“Iyong assurance naman, lahat ng sensitive information hindi idi-disclose,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Palace: Duterte is now in the ‘green of health’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 18, 2019

Malacañang has announced that President Rodrigo Duterte is experiencing sickness due to old age and is now in the “green of health”, not pink.

On Sunday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president, who is now 74 years old, is “not normal” when it comes to his health.

“Hindi siya normal kasi nga, ang dami niyang nararamdaman. Kumbaga, kung sinabi ko noon na (He is not normal because he has a lot of illnesses. It’s like, if I said then) he was ‘in the pink of health’, ngayon (now) I think he is now ‘in the green of health’,” he said.

However, Panelo said despite these illnesses, Duterte continues to do his duties as the chief executive.

“If you will notice, kahit na ganyan siya, may nararamdaman, iyong kaniyang schedule ganoon pa rin, hindi pa rin nagbago (Even if he is experiencing illnesses [due to old age] his schedule remain unchanged), not only does he survive but he does it well,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Robredo: Majority of illegal drugs in PH came from China

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 15, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo who is also the co-chairman of the government’s anti-illegal drug program, said that the majority of the illegal drugs in the country came from China.

After the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) Enforcement Cluster Meeting on Thursday (November 14), Robredo said this is based on the reports they currently have.

“Kasi iyong pinaka-report talaga sa atin ngayon, karamihan sa supply na pumapasok dito, galing China. Pati iyon mga nahuhuli sa ma nago-operate within the Philippines, karamihan Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese national (Because based on the reports we have, most of the supply entering the country came from China. Even those who are arrested for operating in the Philippines, most of them are Chinese nationals or Filipino-Chinese nationals),” she said.

The vice president also said she wants to collect more data and review the information they have gathered regarding the supply of illegal drugs entering the country.

However, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aaron Aquino the drugs entering the country came from the Golden Triangle Drug Syndicate.

The Golden Triangle, Aquino said, is an area on the border of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

Aquino added that due to the crackdown of illegal drugs in China, drug syndicates in the said country opted to get their supply from other places instead of manufacturing it.

Meanwhile, Robredo also plans to coordinate with other countries including the United States regarding the drug war in order to strengthen the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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