Lacson, Sotto test negative for illegal drugs

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021   •   335

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo Lacson and running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday (November 22) underwent voluntary drug testing at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) office in Diliman, Quezon City, and tested negative for drug use, a statement from the Partido Reporma said.

Earlier in the day, Sotto said: “Magkaalaman na kung sino matatapang”.

The Lacson-Sotto tandem said their move was to show that they are drug-free and fit to run in the 2022 national and local elections.

Sotto earlier said that ordinary drug tests only determine “shabu” or  “marijuana” use.

However, the PDEA test that they took, he said, is a ‘’multi-drug one-step immunometric assay for the detection of drugs of abuse in urine.’’

In the statement, Lacson said he and Sotto took a multi-drug screening procedure, which is capable of detecting all types of illegal substances in a human body. They both tested negative for illegal drugs.

The tandem went through all the protocols from the signing up of forms to the submission of their urine samples where an attending physician monitored them closely to ensure the authenticity of the tests.

Last Friday, Lacson suggested Friday conducting a random drug test to candidates following President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement on an unnamed presidential candidate who was into cocaine.

“I have never been addicted to drugs all my life, so I have no problem with that. In fact, we should all undergo random testing to make it more credible,” he said.

Meanwhile, in an ambush interview in General Santos City, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go who is also running for president, reiterated that, although it is not mandatory, he is willing to undergo drug testing any time of the day.

“Ako naman po willing magpa-drug test anytime of the day. Anytime po kung kakailanganin,” Go said.

“Though hindi mandatory, pero just to prove lang po sa Pilipino kung sino yung fit na mamuno sa ating bansa ay willing po akong magpa-drug test, any time of the day po,” he added. —/mbmf

Duterte visits Cebu, Bohol; facilitates rescue, recovery efforts

Maris Federez   •   December 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday (December 19) visited the provinces of Cebu and Bohol to lead the rescue and recovery efforts and ensure immediate restoration of essential services in areas battered by Typhoon Odette.

The President was joined by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go in an aerial and site inspection of areas in the two provinces.

In a statement sent by Senator Go to reporters, he said that he and the President, “together with key officials, flew to Argao, Cebu to assess the extent of damage caused by the typhoon and provide aid to evacuees at the Argao Sports Complex”.

They also facilitated a situational briefing with key national and local leaders in the area.

The President’s team then proceeded to Inabanga, Bohol, to likewise assess the situation, meet with local leaders, and provide help to typhoon victims, he said.

“Kahapon naman ay binisita namin ni Pangulong Duterte ang bayan ng Argao sa Cebu at Inabanga sa lalawigan ng Bohol. Nakipagpulong kami sa mga opisyal doon upang masigurong matutugunan ang mga pangangailangan ng mga biktima, lalo na pagdating sa pagkain, tubig, gamot, kuryente, at telecommunication services,” Go said.

Go, in the statement, also echoed Duterte’s directives, stressing the need to restore power and telecommunications to aid field personnel in making timely and accurate coordination with their respective agencies as well as allowing victims to get in touch with their worried families and loved ones.

The statement added that the President enjoined concerned agencies to coordinate with key players from the private sector particularly energy and telecommunication companies, as well as other stakeholders, for the immediate restoration of essential services that had been disrupted by the typhoon.

The President also directed the National Housing Authority to exert all efforts possible to rebuild communities by providing housing materials and other assistance to repair damaged homes or build new ones.

“Nagbigay rin ng dagdag na directives si Pangulong Duterte sa mga ahensya, katulad ng paggamit ng mga Quick Response Funds nila,” Go said.

Duterte also instructed government finance managers to ensure the availability of funds for agencies involved in the response and rehabilitation efforts as well as to provide additional calamity funds to the affected local government units, the statement added.

“Agarang nagpahanda ang Pangulong Duterte ng dagdag na pondo para sa mga ahensya na pangunahing tumutugon sa krisis at pati rin sa mga apektadong LGUs. Hangad ng Pangulo na pabilisin ang restoration of normalcy as soon as possible,” Go said.

Go said that based on the meetings conducted with key officials, the President assured that the government is ready to respond to the crisis.

The senator emphasized however that a whole-of-nation approach is necessary to fast-track the recovery efforts.

Presidential aspirants launch relief assistance to areas affected by Typhoon Odette

Maris Federez   •   December 17, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao has called on his fellow aspirants to join forces in extending assistance to areas affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

Pacquiao made the appeal through his Facebook and Twitter accounts, asking other candidates in the 2022 national elections to set aside politics and join together to help the typhoon victims.

Vice President Leni Robredo, in her reply via twitter, signified her support to Pacquiao’s call.

Pacquiao thanked the vice president and offered the cargo plane he chartered to bring assistance to those affected by Typhoon Odette.

The two candidates committed to having close coordination to implement the said activity.

Meanwhile, VP Robredo said she also personally lead in receiving in-kind donations and preparing the same for distribution to the typhoon victims.

“Para mas mapabilis ang pagkilos natin, nandito po ako ngayon sa ating Campaign Volunteer Center sa Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, which we will be converting into a relief hub. We also convened our operations center dito,” Robredo said.

“Starting today, puwede na pong mag-drop off ng mga in-kind donations dito,” she added.

Robredo also appealed for volunteers to help them in repacking the goods. Details of this, she said, will be posted on their official FB page.

Meanwhile, Labor leader Leody de Guzman also responded to Pacquiao’s call.

He volunteered his group to help in the distribution of the relief goods.

“Tama yun. Napapanahon yung ganyang panawagan. Yung maraming pera, yung may bilyon bilyon 3-5 billion na uubusin na eleksyon ay maganda yung kalahati niyan ibigay sa mga taga Mindanao dahil sa nangangailangan sila duon. Katulad ko at Rj nakahanda kami sa makinarya sa distribusyon ng kanilang ipamimigay,” de Guzman said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, said that should Senator Pacquiao made his appeal personal through private communication, he could have acquiesced and joined the call.

He said he will also send his reply privately and will offer his resources.

But since, Lacson said, the appeal was made through social media, responding to it will violate his principles, saying ‘calamity politics’ is the lowest form of campaigning.

“Since it was done through media – it goes against my principled belief that ‘calamity politics’ is the lowest form of campaigning. In fact, I consider it abominable,” Lacson said.

As in the past, he and his friends and supporters send help to those affected by calamities without media coverage.

“As in the past calamities, my Senate office, as well as friends and supporters, assisted without fanfare and without any media coverage. We did it in Cagayan Valley, and Bicol region, and some other areas hit by strong typhoons,” he said.

He emphasized that election or no election, his team is always ready to help.

For his part, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno asked the city council led by its Presiding officer Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna to hold a special session and pass a resolution to allocate funds to be used in sending help to families affected by Typhoon Odette.

“I have already asked the presiding officer of the City Council, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, to immediately hold a special session and a resolution be passed allocating a certain sum of money for the typhoon victims in the Visayas and Mindanao,” Mayor Isko said.

Moreno’s camp has also launched a donation drive and urged the participation of all who can help and coordinate with his office.

Meanwhile, the tandem of former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio used their volunteers in distributing relief goods in areas hit by Typhoon Odette.

The BBM-Sara Uniteam prepared relief packs containing 5 kilos of rice, canned goods, milk, and coffee.

On his Facebook page, Marcos thanked all who sent help to his office and their headquarters.

“Marami pong salamat sa lahat ng nagparating ng agarang tulong sa ating mga tanggapan at headquarters. Mahalagang maitawid ito sa ating mga kababayan sa lalong madaling panahon,” Marcos said.

“Ipakita natin ang pagbabayanihang Pilipino na siyang magbabangon sa atin mula anumang sakuna,” he added. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Bong Go on presidential bid: ‘A matter of destiny’

Maris Federez   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — After more than a week since he launched his presidential bid, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go on Thursday said that running for the country’s highest office “is a matter of destiny.”

“At present, I continue to seek guidance from the Divine Being for I believe that the Presidency is a matter of destiny.  Kung para sayo yan, para talaga sayo yan,” Go said in a statement.

He felt that perhaps it is not yet time for him to push through with his sudden decision to run as president in the 2022 national and local elections.

“Running for the Presidency is something I have never dreamed of. Iniiwasan ko ang posisyon na ito, but fate — as I said — has a way of turning things around. Nagdesisyon ang partido at si Pangulong Duterte and I accepted the challenge.”

“Pero sa ngayon, baka hindi ko pa po panahon. Ako yung taong handang magsakripisyo para wala nang maipit, masaktan at mamroblema,” the senator said.

Go stated that days after he filed his certificate of candidacy, he came to a realization that his heart was not in it even as he considers other people around him, especially his family and President Rodrigo Duterte.

“But in the past few days po, I realized that my heart and mind are contradicting my own actions,” Go said. “Talagang nagreresist po ang aking katawan, puso at isipan. Pati po ang aking pamilya ay nahihirapan.”

“Ayoko na pong mahirapan si Pangulo at yung mga supporters natin. Mahal ko po si Pangulong Duterte. Matanda na rin po siya at ayaw ko siyang bigyan pa ng dagdag na problema,” he added.

Go said he is leaving his fate to God and is willing to sacrifice for the good of the country.

“Having said this, I leave my fate to God and the Filipino people as I vow to do my best every day to serve selflessly and tirelessly. I am willing to make the supreme sacrifice for the good of our country, and for the sake of unity among our supporters and leaders,” he said.

The lawmaker also said that no matter where his fate will take him, he commits that he will continue to do provide due service to the Filipino people in his own capacity.

“Marami namang paraan upang makatulong sa ating kapwa Pilipino. Ako naman, kahit saan man ako ipadpad ng aking tadhana, patuloy po akong magseserbisyo. Kung anuman ang aking magiging desisyon, ipapasa-Diyos ko na lang ang lahat alang-alang sa kung ano ang makakabuti sa bayan,” Go said. —/mbmf

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