MANILA, Philippines — The Lower House of Congress has released its version of a proposed federal form of government.
Based on the said proposal, the country will be called the Federal Republic of the Philippines which will have a parliamentary form of government with the president as head of state.
The president will still have the oversight power over all agencies of the government and will remain as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
However, in the Lower House’s proposal, there will be no vice president.
The Lower House will serve as a federal assembly which will be led by the House speaker himself, while the Senate will remain and will be led by the Senate president.
The Senate and federal assembly will elect a prime minister.
The prime minister will prepare the proposed yearly funds of agencies that will be in charge of contracts and loans of the country.
He or she will also have the power to appoint and remove heads of executives offices, Cabinet members, and police officials.
Under the proposed federal form of government, the Philippines will be divided into five states.
These will be Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and Metro Manila. Each will have three state senators.
Party-list representatives will remain to represent marginalized sectors.
The president, prime minister, senators, members of the federal assembly, local government official and state officials will be in power for five years and may seek re-election.
The proposal also includes having a two-party system. The first election under the proposed new constitution will be held in may of 2022.
Aside from the office of the president, the lawmakers also propose the abolition of the Office of the Ombudsman and Judicial Bar Council (JBC).
The House of Representatives’ version also limits the freedom of the press, speech, and expression.
Meanwhile, when asked if President Duterte could still run for president under the new proposal, the committee on constitutional amendments chairman Rep. Mercado said,“Yes, he still can because he’s still in the first term. It can be as long as it’s in accordance with the Constitution.” — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue
1 year free MRT-3 rides for soldiers
Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3)
Soldiers are given a year of free train rides, courtesy of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3.
This is in line with a memorandum of agreement to be signed Wednesday by the Department of Transportation (DOTr,) MRT-3 and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP.)
The project is a small gesture to acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices of the members of the military in order to maintain peace and national security.
For its part, the AFP in return will offer medical assistance and allow the use of its service ambulance in time of crisis and emergencies.
Last year, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) inked a similar agreement with the AFP which takes effect until December 2018. — Asher Cadapan Jr. | UNTV News & Rescue
DOJ junks rebellion charges against Najiya Maute
Mug shot of Najiya Maute (CIDG-ARMM)
MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed complaints against the wife of one of the leaders of the terror group Maute-ISIS.
Based on the resolution penned by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, there is no sufficient evidence to file rebellion charges against Najiya Maute, the wife of Mohammad Khayyam Maute.
The DOJ explained that Najiya’s supposed delivery of food to members of the Maute group at a mosque in Marawi City is not a proof that she was involved in the rebellion.
The DOJ initially dismissed the complaints filed against her due to lack of evidence.
The agency gave the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) the chance to submit additional evidence, but they failed to attend the hearing last February. — UNTV News & Rescue
AFP verifies report of 23 armed groups joining forces under ‘ISIS Philippines’
FILE IMAGE: A screenshot of a video in the internet showing some allegedly Filipinos signifying alliance with the ISIS terrorist group.
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the remaining terrorists are still recruiting and strengthening their forces.
Twenty-three armed groups are believed to have joined forces under the so-called “ISIS Philippines”.
However, the AFP is still verifying the said information.
The military is also looking into intelligence reports that a certain Abu Dar replaced Isnilon Hapilon as the emir of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.
Abu Dar, a Maranao, was able to flee the clashes in Marawi City and is believed to have brought with him a huge sum of money.
“We are trying to confirm the veracity of that information. Yesterday, informal reports came in regarding the matter and I’m telling it to the intelligence community, operations and people on the ground we are trying to confirm that,” AFP spokesperson BGen. Bienvenido Datuin said.
The AFP noted that terrorists continue to recruit new members, organize, and re-train themselves.
The military and the police are also verifying a circulating text message, saying terrorists are planning to bomb six cities.
The said text message states a leaked copy of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region X in Cagayan de Oro City.
“We are closely monitoring them to make sure that they will not conduct or execute any atrocities or terroristic actions within the metropolis or any urban areas,” said the AFP spokesperson.
“This is being validated, but this should not be a cause of panic or alarm among our citizens. If we are talking about Mindanao, so we could protect the people there. Here in our area, in Visayas and Luzon, the security forces, the military, the intelligence community and the PNP are on top of the situation. We are doing our part in seeing to it that our people will be protected,” said PNP spokesperson PCSupt. John Bulalacao. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue