Lacson urges netizens: Stop sowing hatred against NCRPO chief over ECQ birthday get-together

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2020   •   576

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday appealed to some social media users to stop sowing hatred towards Metro Manila’s police chief who was embroiled in controversy after allegedly violating quarantine protocols during a “mañanita” held for his birthday last week.

Lacson said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Major General Debold Sinas has already “apologized and regretted his indiscretion,” and that he has been “bashed, criticized and pilloried both on social media and mainstream media” for the incident.

“Whichever way one looks at it, NCRPO chief Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas set a bad example in committing what he did during his birthday ‘mañanita’ or whatever he wants to call it,” he said in a statement.

“Certainly, he should get the punishment he deserves even as the appropriate authorities are already investigating him,” he added.

“However, we may also want to take into consideration his long law-enforcement service to the country and the Filipino people, and his present efforts in supervising the checkpoints all over Metro Manila to make us safe from the coronavirus threat,” he further stated.

But Lacson clarified that his statement is “not to suggest forgiveness or absolution” for Sinas.

“Rather, it is an appeal to concerned netizens not to rub salt to injury by going to the extent of posting out-of-date photos to sow more hatred towards Sinas by exploiting the naïveté of certain individuals to join the bandwagon of hate towards the police officer,” he said.

Sinas earlier apologized for what transpired during his birthday, saying he did not intend to disobey protocols related to the implementation of the ECQ to contain the spread of COVID-19.

He also said that some of the photos circulating online were “edited and grabbed from old posts” and do not define the totality of what really happened.

The photos, earlier posted on the NCRPO Facebook page, showed Sinas handing cakes and roses during the event. A photo also showed Sinas sitting at a table with guests.

The photos were said to be taken during a party held for Sinas to celebrate his birthday. Police officers gave him a mañanita, a traditional early morning serenade, where they dine together.

The said event was met with criticism for allegedly breaking quarantine rules.

Philippine National Police chief General Archie Gamboa said he already ordered a probe into the incident.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also said that Sinas, as a police official, should serve as an example in following protocols especially those related to the containment of COVID-19.

Mas maluwag na general community quarantine, umiiral sa Metro Manila —Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Mas marami na ang maaaring lumabas ng bahay ngayon at pinalawig pa ang kapasidad ng pampublikong transportasyon sa kabila na nananatili ang banta ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Hinihikayat na rin ng pamahalaan ang pagsasagawa ng business activities upang maka-engganyo ng mas maraming customers bukod pa sa mas maraming negosyo ang pinahihintulutan nang magbukas.

“Tama po kayo, mas maluwag na general community quarantine ang pinaiiral ngayon sa Metro Manila,” sagot ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque sa mga mamahayag nitong Lunes (October 19).

Ang pagluwag ng quarantine restrictions ay upang makabawi ang ekonomiya sa bansa mula sa epekto ng pandemya.

Samantala, ayon sa kalihim, may mga sang-ayon sa mungkahi ng Metro Manila Mayors na palawigin na ang general community quarantine (GCQ) sa National Capital Region (NCR) hanggang buwan ng Disyembre.

Subalit, naka-depende pa rin ito sa desisyon ng policy-making body ng gobyerno laban sa COVID-19.

“Iyan po ang parang nabubuong concensus, pero siyempre po hindi ko po pwedeng pangunahan because it is a collegial decision,” pahayag ng opisyal.

“Pero ang nangyayari po kasi ngayon, bagaman naka-GCQ ang Metro Manila, nagkakaroon po tayo ng mas malawak na pagbubukas ng mga industriya,” dagdag nito.

Inaasahang bago magpalit ng buwan, isasapubliko ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang panibagong quarantine classification sa NCR para sa Nobyembre.

Giit ng opisyal, posible ang anumang quarantine classification sa NCR subalit mananatiling iisa ang posisyon ng pamahalaan – ang pahintulutang makapag-hanapbuhay na ang mga mamamayan habang ipinatutupad pa rin ang minimum health standards. MNP (sa ulat ni Rosalie Coz)

LTFRB opens 44 new PUJ routes, allows 4,820 more jeepneys on Metro Manila streets

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has opened additional 44 routes of the traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJ) on Tuesday (October 13). 

Aside from this, the agency also allowed 4,820 PUJ units to ply routes in Metro Manila as stated in the Memorandum Circular 2020-058 dated Saturday (October 10).

Overall, a total of 27,016 traditional PUJs are now operating on 302 routes across Metro Manila since the government opened transportation with the implementation of General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

The agency said it is working on opening more routes for PUVs to address the need for mass transport as business further reopen. 

This was after public transport capacity was limited amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) unit breakdown in Metro Manila since operation started on June 1, 2020:

Traditional Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ)

  • No. of routes opened: 302
  • No. of authorized units: 27,016

Modern Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ)

  • No. of routes opened: 48
  • No. of authorized units: 845

Public Utility Buses (PUB)

  • No. of routes: 34
  • No. of authorized units: 4,016

Point-to-point buses (P2P)

  • No. of routes opened: 34
  • No. of authorized units: 387

UV Express

  • No. of routes opened: 76
  • No. of authorized units: 3,263

Taxi

  • No. of authorized units: 20,927

Transport Network Vehicles Services (TNVS)

  • No. of authorized units: 24,356

Provincial Public Utility Bus (PUB)

  • No. of routes opened: 12
  • No. of authorized units: 286

Modern UV Express

  • No. of routes opened: 2
  • No. of authorized units: 40

Lacson urges Cayetano to resume House plenary session to pass 2021 budget

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday called on House leaders to resume plenary sessions and approve the proposed 2021 national budget this month to avoid having a re-enacted spending plan next year.

Lacson said the House of Representatives is supposed to transmit the General Appropriations Bill to the Senate between Oct. 12 to 14 but House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano suspended the sessions this week amid the chamber’s speakership row.

The senator said he has already reached out to Cayetano to suggest the resumption of sessions to pass the budget bill on third and final reading.

“I have just suggested to the Speaker if it’s possible for him to resume their session, which is merely suspended and not adjourned, before All Saints’ Day just to approve on third and final reading the House version of the budget measure and thereafter transmit the same to us,” Lacson said.

The budget proposal was approved on second reading prior to the suspension of sessions.

Cayetano insisted that the abrupt suspension would only delay the transmission of the budget bill to the Senate for a day which was disputed by senators.

“Between Oct. 12 and 14 when the Senate is originally scheduled to receive the transmittal of the General Appropriations Bill from the House of Representatives, and Nov. 17 when the Speaker said they will be able to transmit the same to us, is definitely not a one-day difference as claimed by Speaker Cayetano,” Lacson said.

“I also told him the senators, especially the finance committee vice chairpersons, need at least one week to study the House version and submit to the mother committee our reports. Another week will be needed for the finance committee to consolidate everything and file its committee report,” he added.

Lacson said that in doing so, the Senate will be able to start floor debates immediate when it resumes session on Nov. 16.

Under the law, the House must first approve on final reading the budget bill before the Senate can tackle the measure.

Congress needs to pass the bill and transmit it for the president’s signature before the current government spending expires on Dec. 31.

“That is the only way we can ensure the timely passage of the budget measure. We cannot afford an impasse involving the most important piece of legislation that Congress has to pass: the national budget,”

If no new appropriations plan will be passed, the government will be forced to operate on a re-enacted budget that does not provide for COVID-19 response projects.

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