Malacañang hopes for Congress’ approval of proposed budget for “all” gov’t agencies

admin   •   September 15, 2017   •   4639

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is still hopeful that Congress will approve its budget proposal for all government agencies despite the controversial pushing of P1,000 budget for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) by the Lower House.

Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Office of the President (OP) have submitted the more than P600-million fund for CHR.

The budget approval will also undergo various processes, thus the P1,000 CHR budget is not yet final.

“When the DBM and the OP submitted the budget to Congress of more than P600 million for CHR, it’s there. The MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses), the personnel salaries, the projects, it’s all there. So that by itself, it’s in the proposed GAA (General Appropriations Act), is already symbolic that the Executive respects all of its branches, including its constitutional commissions’ budgets,” said Ablan. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

Duterte takes blame for lack of vaccine supply in early 2021

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte has taken the blame for the Philippines’ vaccine shortage in the early months of 2021.

During his weekly public address on Monday evening (October 11), Duterte lamented that it was difficult to get vaccines back then especially when the country has no vaccine manufacturing company. He said that the country had to fight with other nations just to get supplies.

Duterte added that he deserves the blame since he is the one seated in office.

Iyan ang nakabigay ng problema sa akin at kung mayroon man nagkasala diyan, aminin ko na lang. Kasi wala rin ako magawa, gusto ko bumili, wala naman ako mabilihan,” he said.

However, the chief executive said the vaccine supply in the country has improved which helped bring down the number of cases.

He reported that the weekly average of new COVID-19 cases has dropped to less than 10,000 while the current reproduction rate of the virus has gone down to .77 percent.

“If we continue to ramp up the vaccination of our people, along with our consistent practice of mask and there is gradual resumption of our economic activities, then we can hope for a better and truly merry Christmas,” he said. AAC

Politicians, gov’t officials mourn Gascon’s passing

Maris Federez   •   October 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon died of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to his brother Miguel via Facebook Saturday, October 9. He was 57.

Politicians and officials in the government and the military mourn Gascon’s passing, remembering his relentless fight in upholding people’s rights.

Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, in a statement, extended his and the department’s sympathies to Gascon’s family.

“We at the Department of National Defense extend our sincerest condolences to the family of CHR Chairperson Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon,” Lorenzana said.

“The DND recognizes the great work done by the CHR under Chairman Gascon in the implementation of human rights laws. He will be missed,” the secretary added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, through its spokesperson, Col. Ramon Zagala, has also extended its sincerest condolences to Gascon’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Zagala remembered the late human rights champion’s “tireless work as a human rights champion and the watchful eyes of the CHR further pushed the AFP to advocate and abide by the principles of human rights and International Humanitarian Law.”

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who said she has been devastated by the news of Gascon’s death, laments that the country has “lost a human rights champion”.

“Chito understood the valuable link between human dignity and democracy. His activism stretched more than 30 years and I have personally witnessed him fight the good fight: defending human rights, fighting for democracy, and working for government reforms that promote accountability and the rule of law,” Hontiveros said.

Karapatan group also offered its condolences to Gascon’s family, recalling how the human rights advocate stood by them in their call for justice.

The group vowed to honor Gascon’s memory “by continuing to defend and uphold people’s rights and the struggle for just and lasting peace in the Philippines.” —/mbmf

Duterte won’t withdraw memo barring gov’t officials from Pharmally hearings

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night (October 6) defended his memorandum order barring government officials from attending the Senate investigation on the government’s management of pandemic funds.

During his regular public address, Duterte slammed senators who were calling for the withdrawal of the memo directing government officials and employees to no longer attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings.

“Kayo ang nag-umpisa nito eh. Kayo ang nag-umpisa nitong lahat (You’re the ones who started this. You started all of this), he said referring to the panel.

READ: DOJ chief defends Duterte memo barring Cabinet execs from attending Senate panel probe

The committee is currently conducting investigation on alleged irregularities in the government’s procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies last year.

“I have to protect the Executive department from the incessant and steady dose of insults coming from the senators,” Duterte said. “There ain’t no way that I will withdraw it. You can do your worst and I will do mine,” he added.

The Chief Executive said government employees, including Cabinet members, should be focused on addressing the  pandemic instead of participating in Senate hearings. The President also slammed Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan for threatening government employees.

“I’m told that it was Pangilinan who said that ‘the worst is yet to come’ to mga empleyado (the employees). Who are you to threaten or even to intimidate government workers?” Duterte said. AAC

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