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Malacañang: Duterte opposes proposal to postpone 2019 polls

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2018


A voter shading his ballot


MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will not support any motion seeking to defer the upcoming elections, according to Malacañang.

In a press briefing earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said that the chief executive is cold towards the bid to cancel the national elections in 2019 to give way for the deliberations on the proposed charter change.

Roque added that he directly asked the president on his thoughts on the issue recently floated by House Leader Pantaleon Alvarez, who believed that this would help lawmakers to focus more on the proposal to rewrite the Constitution.

“I and President Duterte talked about this. I will quote the president, ‘I will not have any hand in that, he is really against the so-called no elections scenario for charter-change’,” the spokesman said.

According to Roque, the chief executive even directed the Consultative Committee (ConCom) which drafted the federal charter to include in the transitory provisions the conduct of an election of the transition president and vice president; and to ban president Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo from running for any public position in may 2022.

Roque noted that through this action, President Duterte wants himself to be an example for his allies.

“He has asked the Consultative Committee to include the provision that would ensure that he will not benefit from charter change. He would like to see all his allies do the same thing, not to benefit from charter change,” Roque said.

Meanwhile, the Palace official said that the administration is not concerned about VP Robredo’s term of office in response to allegations that the government is pushing for federalism to cut short the term of the vice president.

“We are not giving much important to the career of the vice president. It is her concern. Our main concern is the leadership of president Duterte,” Roque said. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang awaits word from HOR on blocked budget

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018


QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The sudden suspension of the budget hearing in the Lower House of Congress for the proposed 2019 National Budget raised questions from Malacañang on the kind of relationship that the Executive branch has with the Legislative body.

This, despite having the Lower House’s “super-majority” or the large number of solons allied with the Duterte administration.

Though Malacañang stressed it is not blaming anyone, the Palace admitted it has yet to hear anything about the issue from House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Let’s just say with the budget being rejected by Congress, we don’t know what ties we have with the House now. We’d like to think that they continue to be important allies of the President, but apparently the change of leadership has also brought in a different kind of relationship,” explained Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

For now, the Palace regards this as a simple misunderstanding. Still, it would let the Congress explain about the issue.

But Roque said President Duterte does not believe Congress will reject the proposed national budget.

 “As of now, I think he’s giving the Congress the benefit of the doubt. He does not actually want to accept that for the first time, Congress does not want to enact on his budget,” the Spokesperson added.

Malacañang is also firm on the use of cash-based budgeting system for next year.

However, if Congress rejects the proposal, the government will be compelled to have a re-enacted budget for 2019.

Under the cash-based budgeting system, government agencies will only propose projects to be funded and implemented within the fiscal year.

The Congress has earlier expressed concerns that under this system, the “Build, Build, Build Program” of the Duterte administration will suffer, though the economic managers have said otherwise. – Rosalie Coz / Marje Pelayo

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Malacañang unperturbed by fall in GDP growth

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, August 10th, 2018

Despite the increase in prices of commodities, the Philippine economy grew by 6% in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of this year.

This performance puts the country in the third spot among the countries in Asia following Vietnam and China.

However, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippine economy slowed down due to some policy decisions, like the Boracay closure last April.

“For the first quarter tourist arrival by 14%. Second quarter tourist arrival increased by 5%. So lumaki yung drop but it’s still positive,” said NEDA Usec. Rosemarie Edillon.

“There are also multiplier effects of the closure of Boracay, not just on the economy of that island itself but it also has other effects,” Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Ernesto Pernia.

Philippine Statistics Authority Usec. Lisa Grace Bersales also said that the agriculture performance also contributed to the economic slowdown.

“Yung atin palang palay farmers usually nag-haharvest sila ng second quarter. Ang ginawa nila nag-harvest na pala sila sa first quarter. Kaya yung performance nila na-capture sa first-quarter economic growth,” said Bersales.

The official added that the control of mining companies over metal productions like nickel, is also a factor.

Tobacco consumption also decreased due to the effect of sin tax law.

Though the country’s economic growth is still looking sound, Bersales said, it will take time for the common citizens to feel its impact.

“Anong mga sector ang apektado? Yung agriculture sector. Yung mga Boracay area for tourists. doon yung mararamdaman nila talaga na nag slowdown,” said Bersales.

Malacañang, meanwhile, remains unperturbed over the fall in the GDP growth.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this rate is still high, reiterating that the administration’s policy does not only rely on economic and financial aspects.

“The President, of course, will exercise the powers of the state — the police powers to protect also the environment and he has given higher priority to the protection of the environment and he makes no apology for it. If GDP will further fall because of the desire of the President to protect the environment, so be it. We are investing in the future and not just in the present.” — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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Fiscal risks of federalism delays cha-cha

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2018


QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Senate has maintained that deliberations on the proposed federal charter will not be rushed despite calls from the Lower House to fast track discussions.

According to Senate committee on constitutional amendments chairman Francis Pangilinan, there are several questions to be addressed in the campaign for charter change.

These include the warnings of the Duterte administration’s economic managers on the possible threats of federalism on the country’s economy.

“Hindi biro ang usapin ng charter change na dapat magkaroon na ng charter change dahil baka ang maging resulta nito ay man-made calamity, both political and economic disaster,” said Pangilinan.

At the Senate hearing on Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez cited the possible fiscal risks of implementing the proposed federal charter.

He said country’s investment-grade credit ratings of the country which allows the country to borrow money with lower interest rates “will go to hell” if the proposed shift to a federal government pushes through.

According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), a total of P120 billion is needed by the government to make the shift.

Due to the issues raised, senators urge for more serious discussions on the matter.

“Bakit hindi na lang after May 2019 na mag-ConCon para magkaroon ng separate na halalan para mabusisi ng husto ang revision ng ating Saligang Batas,” said Pangilinan.

Until now, senators have yet to decide on how to amend or revise the Constitution despite its progress in the lower chamber. — Nel Maribojoc

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