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Malacañang: No need to issue executive order for Panglao, El Nido rehabilitation

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018


Aerial shot of Panglao, Bohol | UNTV Drone

PALAWAN, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will not issue an executive order to shut down the islands of Panglao in Bohol and El Nido in Palawan to give way to rehabilitation efforts.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, this was agreed during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (December 4).

“On the rehabilitation of Panglao Island in Bohol and El Nido in Palawan, the Cabinet agreed that there is no need to issue an executive order,” Panelo said.

Unlike Boracay island which was ordered totally closed for six months for rehabilitation, Panglao and El Nido islands will remain open amid rehabilitation works.

The government is preparing for more clean-up efforts after inspecting El Nido last week. – UNTV News and Rescue

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Progressive groups in Davao, Butuan slam martial law extension in Mindanao

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2018

(file photo)

Some progressive groups in Mindanao have denounced Congress’ move to approve the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the implementation of martial law in the region for the third time.

According to Carlo Olalo of Kilusang Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao chapter, extending martial law will not stop atrocities but will only further embolden state forces to suppress and oppress the masses.

Olalo said that in Compostella Valley alone, there are more than 100 cases of political killings since the implementation of martial law in May 2017.

Olalo believes that imposing military rule will not help in addressing security threats in Mindanao.

“Ang kining martial law sa Mindanao dili para sa pagdepensa sa security sa katawhang Pilipino kung dili mas gipundar kini kay tungod gusting protektahan ang mga agreements nga musulod diri sa Mindanao. Ilabinanga naay Build Build Build program ni Pres. Rodrigo Duterte nga gipondohan sa Chinese government,” Olalo said.

(The martial law in Mindanao is not meant to protect the Filipino people but to protect the agreements that will enter Mindanao.  Among these is the Build Build Build program of President Rodrigo Duterte which is being funded by the Chinese government.)

The KMU-Southern Mindanao chapter also claims that implementing martial law in Mindanao is Duterte’s way of putting his plans into gradual action, such as his proposal to shift into a federal form of government.

Jay-R Aypag of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao also claims that cases of human rights violations in the region have soared since the imposition of martial law. Aypag also slammed the move to close down community schools for Lumads, especially in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

“Ang pinaka recent na hinahawakan naming ngayon ay yung mismong pagpapalayas at pagpapasara ng Lumad schools sa Talaingod.  In fact, ito yung pinaka common narratives sa mga Lumad at peasant na talagang nagkakampo sa kanilang mga komunidad na wala silang karapatan dahil mayroong martial law declaration sa isla ng Mindanao,” added Aypag.

Isaias Geñorga, a representative of the group PISTON-Caraga, fears that the government will only use martial law to silence its critics.

“Ang critic sa mga progrisibo, dili gusto rehiming Duterte ni ini, suko siya ni ini, ang unsa man nai critic nimu sa rehiming Duterte…..unsa mabdiay gusto ipasabot?  Ang gusto badiay ipasabot nga ang tanan niya nagginahimu ang tanan niyang ginaplano sakto? Pasalamat ngani sya adunay mga kritiko,”Geñorga said.

(The Duterte regime hates to hear the criticisms of progressive groups. What is he trying to say? That everything he does and all his plans are always right? He should be grateful he has critics!)

The left-leaning groups believe that martial law is not the answer to the growing security problems in Mindanao and that the president should just focus on addressing the country’s pressing problems such as providing quality education, high unemployment rate and food sufficiency. — UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang calls on Congress to respect Duterte’s prerogative over Sec. Diokno

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2018

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (December 12) called on both houses of Congress to respect the authority of President Rodrigo Duterte over each member of the Executive branch amid calls for Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to resign.

On Wednesday (December 11), the Lower House adopted House Resolution No. 2365 “which urges the Office of the President to reconsider the appointment of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno” after the congressmen grilled him in a joint session over alleged insertions in the proposed 2019 National Budget.

President Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement said, while the Executive branch respects the Legislative branch’s decision to act against Diokno, Panelo explained that: “Secretary Diokno’s record in the government service, to the mind of the Chief Executive and of the rest of his Cabinet, is unblemished. As one of the Administration’s economic managers, PRRD considers him as one of the best and brightest in his official family. Sec. Diokno’s reputation as an upright, competent and honest public servant stays solid up to this day.”

Panelo noted that it is the Congress who has the authority under the Constitution “to scrutinize the budget and even has the power to revise or amend proposals found in it.”

The Presidential Spokesperson said the Congress should at least show respect to the Chief Executive’s prerogative of choosing his own officials the same way that the President respects the same privilege the Lower House congressmen enjoy.

“Should it feel that there was irregularity in the allocation of the budget, it can always correct it apart from having the option of recommending the filing of charges against those they deem are responsible for the transgressions should the same amount to a crime.  In the same manner that the President doesn’t tell Congress who it will choose as its officers and how to go about it, we wish that its members return the same courtesy,” Panelo concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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LGU preps for tighter security as Duterte confirms attendance in Balangiga bells’ turnover

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2018

The Balangiga bells have finally arrived at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City at 10:35 a.m. December 11, 2018.

MANILA, Philippines – After skipping the arrival and handover ceremony of the historic Balangiga bells in Villamor Air Base last Tuesday (December 11), President Rodrigo Duterte finally decided to attend the formal turnover of the bells to the people of Balangiga in Eastern Samar on Saturday (December 15).

In a statement released Thursday (December 13), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President’s “change of mind” was due to the “persistent requests” from the locals of the town of Balangiga where the historical artifacts were originally installed.

Panelo said: “The President has made changes in his schedule of activities to join the Filipino community in welcoming the return of the bells.”

“While the President considers his physical presence at the ceremonial turnover an added attraction to the event, he gives more importance to the fact that after 117 years, the Balangiga bells, which symbolize the bravery and patriotism of the Filipinos who refused to be subjugated by a foreign power and shed blood to assert the sovereignty of our country, have been returned to their origins where they properly belong. The bells are now indeed home,” Panelo added.

Meanwhile, the program is all set for the return of the bells to their hometown in Balangiga.

Based on the local government’s historical accounts, the two bells which were confined in the US are now 155 years old while the third bell from South Korea is already 129 years old.

Residents couldn’t contain their excitement noting that the bells had been away from the town for more than a century.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa tumulong kung sino man sila. Hindi pa nga kami mga tao noong mga kauna-unahan pa. Malaki talaga ang aming pagpapasalamat kung sino man ang tumulong para maibalik sa amin,” said Letecia Cabanilla, as resident of Balangiga.

According to Serafin “Lentoy” Tybaco, the parish priest assigned in Balangiga, the formal turnover will be held inside the Church of San Lorenzo de Martir, the bells original house before they were taken by U.S. soldiers in 1901.

In the evening of Saturday, the bells will be on display outside of the church for public viewing and photo opportunity.

“Pagdating ng bells dito muna para sa formal ceremony. Mayroon tayong platform na ginawa ngayon at after ilalagay na doon sa landscaping para sa display. After ng display mag-uusap pa ang local government at simbahan kung ano ang plano para sa pormal na paglalagyan doon sa bell tree sa kanyang bell tower kung saan kinuha ang mga Balangiga bell,” Tybaco explained.

A short program after the turnover ceremony will be held at the municipal gymnasium to give thanks to the people who have been instrumental for the return of the bells.

The local government, meanwhile, vows to provide support even financial assistance for the maintenance of the bells.

Meanwhile, security measures are now in place in and around Balangiga town as President Duterte is expected to grace the occasion.

“May pagkakakilanlan, may ID system na kailangan rin for security reasons kasi ang perimeter natin hindi basta-basta na kung sino-sino na lang ang pupunta, papasok at lalabas. May mga procedures tayo na pina-follow. Nakikiusap kami sa lahat ng ating mga bisita na pupunta na mag cooperate tayo sa ating mga procedures na ipapatupad,” appealed Balangiga Mayor Randy Graza.

The local government also reminds non-residents in Balangiga that the town has not much commercial facilities for visiting tourists. Mayor Graza advises arriving visitors and tourists, however, to ask local residents for short-term accommodation while they join the festivities.

Mayor Graza said that if they wish to, tourists may book for accommodation in the nearby town of Tacloban. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Jenelyn Gaquit)

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