Malacañang asks private sector to adopt alternative work arrangements

Marje Pelayo   •   June 2, 2020   •   187

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has appealed to the private sector to adopt alternative work arrangements to help their employees as public transportation remains limited even when Metro Manila is placed under general community quarantine (GCQ).

On Monday (June 1), thousands of workers were caught stranded, some were forced to go back home because there were no available vehicles to ferry them to their workplaces.

Malacañang suggests to private companies to adopt the 50% operational capacity in their workplaces and have the other 50% of their employees work from home.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque explained that such work arrangement is effectively being adopted in the Executive Branch and this can be applied to the private sector as well.

“Ang pakiusap po natin ay bagaman tayo ay GCQ na subukan pa rin nating mag-50-50, at least [Our appeal is to, at least, try the 50-50 work arrangement although we are already under GCQ],” Roque appealed to private companies.

“Hindi po talaga sapat ang transportasyon natin kung papasukin natin ang 100 percent ng ating workforce [Our transportation will not suffice if we will have a 100% workforce returning to their workplaces],” he added.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also asked private companies to provide their employees with shuttle service since they were requiring their workers to return to their workplaces.

“Kailangan iyong mga employer ay mag-provide ng ways of communication and transportation kagaya ng shuttle bus [Employers should provide ways of communication and transportation such as shuttle buses],” he said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Malacañang leaves people’s initiative on ABS-CBN franchise to Supreme Court

Maris Federez   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Sunday (July 12) said it will leave the issue of granting a franchise to media giant ABS-CBN Corporation to the Supreme Court.

This, after several groups said that a people’s initiative to revive the company’s franchise bill could possibly happen, invoking Republic Act 6735 to grant a franchise for ABS-CBN, after a House committee rejected the network’s franchise application.

RA 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act provides that the public can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof as passed by Congress.

In a statement released on Sunday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang will defer to the Supreme Court should it decide on the issue.

“We also take note of the discussions around using the mechanism of the people’s initiative to grant ABS-CBN a franchise,” he added.

He said it is up to the Supreme Court to rule on whether a people’s initiative will be applicable to the case of ABS-CBN despite, as he said, what was clearly worded in Republic Act 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Act.

“Whether the franchise of ABS-CBN may be granted through a people’s initiative despite the clear wording of R.A. 7925, whether it matters that a franchise bill is a private bill that must ‘originate exclusively in the House of Representatives’ in accordance with Article VI, Section 24 of the Constitution — these and related questions we leave to the Supreme Court, as the final arbiter of the appropriate interpretation of these provisions in the Constitution and our laws,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released last Saturday showed that three out of 4 Filipinos want Congress to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.

The survey said that 57 percent of adult Filipinos “strongly” agreed that the network should be granted a fresh franchise, while 19 percent “somewhat” agreed. e, 13 percent are not in favor of granting the media giant a fresh franchise while 10 percent are undecided on the issue. — /mbmf

Palace on petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Law: Leave it to Supreme Court

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang will leave the Supreme Court (SC) to decide on petitions filed against the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Law.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace will abide by whatever the ruling of the SC will be on petitions questioning the constitutionality of the measure.

“The Palace will leave it to the SC to decide on these petitions and will abide by whatever the ruling is,” he said in a statement Sunday.

The Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last Friday, July 3 despite strong opposition from various groups over concerns of possible violations of human rights.

On Monday, various groups physically trooped to the Supreme Court to urge it to stop the enforcement of the new law, claiming that the measure contained provisions that are in possible violation of the Philippine Constitution.

On Saturday, a group of lawyers and educators submitted the first petition against the controversial law.

Malacañang earlier said that prior to its signing, the measure underwent thorough review by the chief executive and his legal team.

Nevertheless, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said groups opposing the law have the right to lodge their petition against the law.

“Iyong sa pagkuwestiyon nila sa ating Anti-Terrorism Law sa Supreme Court ay karapatan nila; hindi natin pipigilan iyan at we’ll even encourage them,” he said.

Esperon also reiterated that the measure aims to stop those who threaten, proposed and incite terroristic acts, and not people who abide by the law or those who express dissent.

He likewise stressed that the law clearly defines who are those considered as terrorists, and this does not include activists or people who only voice out their concerns and criticisms over social injustices.

“Itong ating law-abiding citizen ay walang dapat ikatakot dahil itong Anti-Terrorism Law ay para sa kapakanan at para sa seguridad ng mga law-abiding citizens. Ito ay ginawa para labanan natin ang terorismo. Ngayon, kung sino ang nagsasabing ito ay para sa kanila at tahimik naman sila eh huwag silang mababahala,” Esperon said.

The Anti-Terrorism Council is set to convene to review the law and draft its implementing rules and regulations, which will be submitted to Congress. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Enrolment sa mga pampublikong paaralan, pinalawig hanggang July 15 – Malacañang

Robie de Guzman   •   June 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pinalawig hanggang Hulyo 15 ang enrolment sa mga pampublikong elementary at high school sa bansa.

Inanunsyo ito ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque sa isang televised press briefing ngayong Martes, June 30.

“Ang mabuting balita po mga magulang extended ang enrollment until July 15, pero pwede ba po na huwag na natin hintayin ang July 15,” ani Roque.

“Pwede ba ho ngayon kapag pupuwede na, i-enrol na natin ang ating mga anak. Huwag naman natin pong hayaan na matigil ang proseso ng edukasyon ng ating mga anak bagamat mayroon pong COVID-19,” dagdag pa niya.

Ngayong araw sana matatapos ang schedule ng enrolment sa mga paaralan para sa School Year 2020-2021 ngunit mas pinahaba ito upang mabigyan pa ng pagkakataong mag-enrol ang ibang mga mag-aaral.

Batay sa datos ng Department of Education (DepEd) na naitala bandang alas-8 ng umaga ngayong June 30, aabot sa 15,907,786 ang kabuuang bilang ng mga estudyante na nakapag-enrol para sa darating na pasukan.

Nasa 15,222,315 sa mga ito ang papasok sa public schools habang 672,403 naman sa private schools.

Ayon sa DepEd, 57% lamang ito ng kabuuang bilang ng enrollees noong nakaraang school year na umabot sa mahigit 27 milyon.

Umaasa ang kagawaran na madaradagan pa ang bilang na ito dahil hindi pa nakokolekta ang ibang enrolment forms na drop boxes, particular na sa mga liblib na lugar.

Sinabi rin ng DepEd na pati ang enrolment sa private schools ay papayagan ring ma-extend ng lagpas sa Hunyo 30.

Tiniyak naman ni DepEd Undersecretary Jess Mateo na papayagan pa rin naman ang late enrolment kahit walang extension alinsunod sa umiiral na polisiya.

“Ang patakaran natin kasi, as long as they comply with the 80 days calendar days na requirement. So, since ang pagbubukas naman ng paaralan natin ay sa August 24 pi-pwede pa silang mag-late enrollees,” ani Mateo.

Samantala, sinabi rin ng DepEd official na pinagtutuunan nila sa ngayon ang paghahanda sa mga guro para sa gagawing blended learning delivery.

“Madami pa hong gagawin eh, tapos kung saka-sakali ihahanda pa natin yung mga teachers kaya nga patuloy yung mga training natin sa mga guro,” ani Mateo. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Dante Amento)

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