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Malacañang on fishing rights in Scarborough Shoal: ‘We do not concede’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018



Secretary Harry Roque with three of the fishermen who had encounters with the Chinese coast guard


MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang called the incidents in Scarborough Shoal between Filipino fishermen and some Chinese coast guard, not a barter trade but a form of “fish thievery.”

Filipino fishermen reported that some members of the Chinese Coast Guard have been taking the best of their catch in exchange for noodles and drinking water.

“So for lack of a better word, let’s call it ‘pangongotong’ in Tagalog, which is fish thievery. I have never really addressed it as a barter,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque.

Malacañang in previous interviews said the incident has already been reported to China, and which the latter assured is being investigated.

For the local government of Masinloc, Zambales, fishermen seem to pay China a toll-fee for fishing in Panatag Shoal which belongs to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.

“Iyon nga parang may toll-fee sa gitna ng karagatan. Ang mga Masinlokenyos po ay mga mababait na tao iyan. Ayaw po nila ng gulo. Ayaw nila makiaway kaya okay na lang na magbigay sila kaysa bawalan po sila,” said Mayor Arsenia Lim of Masinloc, Zambales.

Following the incident, the local government of Masinloc is appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte to make sure Filipino fishermen can still fish freely and safely in Panatag Shoal.

Meanwhile, Malacañang stands firm that the Philippines has the sovereign rights over Scarborough Shoal and that the territory is not owned by China.

This is in reaction to the statement of the  Chinese Foreign Ministry that they let Filipino fishermen fish in the area out of goodwill.

Asked if the Philippines concede fishing rights in Scarborough shoal, Roque firmly said, “We do not concede.” – Rosalie Coz / Marje Pelayo

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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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Malacañang dismisses Deputy Ombudsman Carandang over corruption

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018


Dismissal order of Overall Deputy Ombudsman for the betrayal of public trust and graft and corruption

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang issued on Wednesday (August 1) a dismissal order against overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang.

The order, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, states that Carandang’s dismissal was due to the administrative complaints filed against him including graft, corruption, and betrayal of public trust filed against him.

The complaint stemmed from Carandang’s expose of the alleged fabricated bank records of President Rodrigo Duterte and his family.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said: “Carandang’s acts of making public statements about allegations in an ongoing investigation were in breach of his duty to protect confidential information.”

“The Office of the President found that the same acts demonstrated manifest partiality and violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” he added.

Roque said the decision was reached after giving Carandang the appropriate opportunity to respond to the charges made against him. – Rosalie Coz

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