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Malacañang to release executive order on water shortage

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2019

People queuing for rationed water

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is drafting an Executive Order (EO) to address the ongoing water supply woes that hit parts of Metro Manila and Rizal Province since last week.

In a statement released Wednesday (March 13), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Economic Cluster headed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, and the Cabinet Assistance System (CAS) were already reviewing the proposed EO that would help the government better address issues.

“The proposed EO aims to address the fragmentation in the water sector by providing the framework for an integrated and coordinated effort in planning and implementing the programs and projects to address all issues in the water sector,” Nograles said.

The Palace official said the inter-agency efforts were prompted by water management issues that were flagged in the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

“If you go through the PDP, you will see that it admits that despite the country’s abundant water resources, there are issues in the development, utilization and management of water-related services,” Nograles added.

The issues include limited implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in many of the country’s river basins and watersheds, which results in the resources’ sub-optimal use and wastage, and uncoordinated plans, projects and programs and access to safe water supplies due to the uneven distribution of freshwater sources.

Nograles also mentioned the lack of updated and consolidated data on water resource availability, water stress levels, over/underutilization of resources, groundwater pollution, land subsidence and saltwater intrusion.

Nograles said that even before water supply issues hit Metro Manila, they had been working already on the order to resolve water-related issues.

“The administration knows that these issues have to be addressed and we know the fundamental challenges involved. Our priority now is to provide the President with a way to resolve these issues, and we should be threshing out the details in the next few days,” the Palace official said.

At least 32 agencies are involved in the water sector, with different offices involved in the various aspects of IWRM.

“The components include water supply, sewerage and sanitation, irrigation, flood management, watershed management, financing, policy formulation and coordination. Obviously, we need a whole-of-government approach to water, and that is on the agenda in the next CAS meeting,” Nograles added.

The next CAS meeting is scheduled to be held in Palo, Leyte on Friday.

Nograles said the EO is expected to be released next week. – Robie de Guzman

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Gov’t to issue guidelines on foreigners seeking jobs in PH

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Foreign employees working at the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT)

MANILA, Philippines – The government of President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to issue a new set of guidelines for foreign nationals intending to work in the Philippines, Malacañang said on Tuesday (June 11).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the issuance of new rules for foreign workers was discussed during their Cabinet meeting on Monday after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported on the status of foreign employees in the country.

Panelo said the joint memorandum circular (JMC) will be issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Finance, Department of Justice, Bureau of Internal revenue, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Professional Regulation Commission, Bureau of Immigration and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

He said the issuance of the JMC is requested to harmonize policy guidelines for foreign nationals seeking jobs in the Philippines.

“Through this JMC, foreign nationals shall first secure an alien employment permit, a working visa, and a tax identification number before they can be permitted to work in the country,” the presidential spokesman said.

The top foreign nationals working in the country, according to Panelo, are Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. They are mostly working in administrative support, offshore gaming operations, and business process outsourcing.

The Palace official’s statement follows concerns raised by several lawmakers over the surge of Chinese workers in the Philippines who allegedly do not have legal work permits and have entered the country using tourist visas.

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Palace: Pilot testing of PH ID system to start in September

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The pilot testing of the national identification system will begin on September, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and National Statistician Dennis Mapa reported about the implementation of the Philippine ID system (PhilSys).

“There will be a pilot testing which will run from September to December 2019 to register a substantial number of Filipinos nationwide,” Panelo said in a statement.

“By the end of the President’s term in 2022, one hundred seven million Filipinos are targeted to be registered,” he added.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier said the registration for the national ID system will be open to Filipinos and resident aliens aged five and above. Indigents, persons with disabilities and government workers will be the first to be registered.

READ: PSA assures national ID for 6M Filipinos

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act 11055 or the PhilSys Act in August last year. The law, which covers Filipino citizens and foreign residents, seeks to harmonize, integrate and interconnect the redundant government-issued IDs by establishing a unified ID system.

The national ID will contain the cardholder’s PhilSys number and full name as well as facial image, sex, date of birth, blood type, and address; biometric information, including fingerprints, iris scan, will also be in the card.

Information on marital status, mobile number and email address will be optional.

The PSA said that by 2022, around 100 million cards will be issued to Filipinos and resident aliens.

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Palace: Duterte eyes revamp of airport officials

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Courtesy : Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is considering a revamp of airport officials following reports of flight delays and cancellations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that during their lengthy Cabinet meeting on Monday, the President hinted at a revamp after expressing dismay over what he found during his surprise visit at the NAIA Terminal 2.

“He shared to the Cabinet Secretaries what he found out in his surprise visit at the NAIA. He expressed dismay and hinted at its revamp,” Panelo said in a statement.

He added that the President is also mulling the transfer of domestic flights to Sangley airport in Cavite to reduce congestion at NAIA.

He said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade mentioned the testing of ferries that can operate from the Mall of Asia to Sangley within 18 to 24 minutes.

“The President directed the operations in Sangley Point to start immediately,” Panelo said.

Panelo said that during the meeting, Duterte also voiced his preference for a single entity, either from the military or civilian force to handle concerns on airport security.

“On security concerns, President Duterte prefers that airport security be handled by a single entity, either from the military or civilian force,” he said.

“Sec. Tugade will be preparing an appropriate executive order for the President’s consideration,” he added.

READ: Duterte makes surprise visit at NAIA

On Monday morning, made a surprise visit at the NAIA following reports about flight delays and cancellations caused by the inclement weather. He apologized to affected air passengers and vowed to draw up plans to immediately resolve airport problems. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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