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Malacañang condemns killing of 9 farmers in Negros Occidental

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2018

A soldier inspects the crime scene where armed men were reported to have stormed a makeshift tent of farm workers inside Hacienda Nene in Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City on Saturday (October 20).

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines –  Authorities are investigating the recent massacre of sugar farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

Armed men stormed a makeshift tent of farm workers inside Hacienda Nene in Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City on Saturday (October 20).

Among the victims were women and some minors.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said: “The Palace is deeply perturbed to learn about the incident and the Philippine National Police (PNP) has already been ordered to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation on this dastardly act.”

“The Office of the President adheres to the principle that the right to life shall remain unthreatened by proprietary interests, and this extends to agrarian settings. Families of the victims of this extremely cruel act can count on the government that it will enforce the full wrath of the law against its perpetrators,” Panelo added.

Police investigation is ongoing. – UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacanang details vetoed line items in 2019 budget

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the 2019 General Appropriations Act at the Malacañan Palace on April 15, 2019. (King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo)

Malacanang has released the details of the line items in the 2019 national budget that were vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

This, after the Chief Executive signed the Republic Act 11260 or the P3.757 Trillion General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019 on Tuesday, April 16.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the President did not approve the last-minute insertions made by the House of Representatives in the national budget.

The vetoed provision of the budget are the line items under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects worth P95.374 billion, which Malacanang said violates the constitution.

The Palace pointed out that such projects are not in the priority program of the Duterte Administration.

“Those are the so-called insertions/ riders. They are not part of the program by the DPWH; hence, it violates the constitution. It’s violative of the constitution,” Panelo said.

Read: Andaya tells Malacañang: Bare vetoed parts in 2019 budget

Senator Panfilo Lacson has earlier disclosed that last minute realignments had been made in the budget for the benefit of several lawmakers who are allies of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Sec. Panelo reiterated what he calls as a very clear message by the President in signing the national budget.

“The message is you always follow the constitution. Any deviation from the constitution will not be approved by the President or will not be tolerated,” said Panelo.

Aside from the vetoed items, other provisions in the national budget shall be subjected to “conditional implementation in order to ensure conformity with existing laws, rules and regulations.”

Among them are the allowance and benefits of teachers and creation of teaching positions, construction of evacuation centers, funding for foreign-assisted projects, revolving fund, and lump-sum appropriations for capital outlays, as well as financial assistance to local government units and funding requirements of the country’s foreign service.  – Maris Federez (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Andaya tells Malacañang: Bare vetoed parts in 2019 budget

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.

MANILA, Philippines – A leader of the House of Representatives on Monday urged Malacañang to bare the details of the provisions in the 2019 national budget that were vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. made the call after Duterte signed the 2019 General Appropriations Act but vetoed more than P95 billion items of appropriations in the details of the projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

READ: Duterte signs P3.7-T national budget for 2019

Andaya said the Palace should reveal the details of the vetoed provisions “in the interest of transparency and for the guidance of the public.”

“I urge Malacañang to release the President’s veto message in full immediately so that we can base our reaction on the official document,” he said in a statement.

The lawmaker also hinted that the Senate’s alleged pork barrel remains intact in the newly-signed 2019 budget, saying this could be the reason why Senators are in celebratory mood over the deletion of the House amendments amounting to P95.3 billion.

“My friends in the Senate are going to town claiming victory over the deletion of the House amendments. Does this mean that the Senate port remains intact? Could this be the reason for their celebratory mood?” Andaya said.

The solon also argued that the President’s veto on several items in the budget could be “conditional” in nature.

“I believe that the veto being speculated about is of the conditional kind.  As such, the appropriation remains but its release is subject to conditions,” he said.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said in a text message on Monday that Duterte vetoed some parts in the budget that were not part of the administration’s “programmed priorities.”

Andaya has been insisting that the realignments they made were not post-ratification as these had been authorized by the bicameral conference committee report and did not exceed the expenditure ceilings of respective departments and agencies.

He also said that Senate President Vicente Sotto’s signing of the budget bill with strong reservations was ill-advised and baseless.

READ: Andaya hits Sotto’s “strong reservations” in signing 2019 budget bill 

Meanwhile, Senators have expressed relief with the signing of the budget and commended Duterte for vetoing the questionable insertions in the 2019 spending program.   

“I am relieved that the 2019 budget has finally been signed, primarily because further delay would have caused adverse effects on our macroeconomy,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement.

“The veto is proof that the Senate was right all along in saying that the changes made were unconstitutional,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also lauded Duterte’s move, calling the signing of the “pork-free” national budget a “victory for Filipino taxpayers.”

“If there is one act of PRRD (President Rodrigo Duterte) that is worthy of admiration, this veto message is on top of my list,” Lacson added.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also believes that Duterte’s decision to reject the P95-billion items of appropriations is constitutional.

“The President’s line item veto is based on legal and constitutional grounds, and not because the President sided with the Senate,” Drilon said.

Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, urged her colleagues and the public to be alert to ensure that the taxpayers’ money will be spent accordingly.

“Magbantay tayo para matiyak na ang huling piso ay sa kapakanan ng taumbayan mapupunta,” she said.

(We should be on guard to ensure that the last peso will be spent on the public’s welfare.) – Robie de Guzman (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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2 Neg Occ towns under state of calamity due to drought

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Hectares of dried-up rice fields affected by 2019 El Niño

A state of calamity was declared in Murcia and Isabela, Negros Occidental because of the severe effects of El Niño phenomenon.

80% of the rice field of A and G Esteban Farmers Association in Barangay San Miguel, Murcia, Negros Occidental is affected by El Niño phenomenon.

The president of the association Rosie Alit said they had no choice but to feed the affected crops to their buffaloes because they no longer have a use for it.

“Hindi na iyan namin mapapakinabangan basta nasa booting stage at milking ang matamaan sa palay wala nang pag-asa, hindi na iyan maka-recover, (We no longer have any use of it. As long as booting stage and milking [stage] were affected in the crops, there is no hope to save it.)” she said.

In the country, around 30 areas, which include 5 provinces and 25 cities/municipalities, are under a state of calamity due to the effects of El Niño.

READ: Albay under state of calamity due to El Niño

Agricultural damage brought by the severe drought reached to over P5 billion with more than 164,000 farmers affected.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) already began their cloud seeding operation in affected areas.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Lalaine Moreno)

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