Marcos scion now unopposed in Ilocos Norte after Fariñas’ withdrawal from race

Marje Pelayo   •   May 3, 2019   •   2369

(L-R) Marcos’ grandson, Matthew Manotoc and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas

MANILA, Philippines – Marcos scion Matthew Manotoc is now awaiting proclamation as the successor of his mother, incumbent Governor Imee Marcos in Ilocos Norte.

This, after the withdrawal of candidacy of the family’s arch-rival, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas on Monday (April 30).

The former House majority leader filed his notice of withdrawal before the provincial office of Commission on Elections (Comelec).

 “I did not really want to run for any office as I want to retire on June 30, after 39 years since I started as Laoag City mayor on March 3, 1980 at the age of 28,” he told House reporters on Tuesday (May 1) through a chat message.

“58 days na lang, FREEDOM!” the lawmaker declared. – Marje Pelayo

Marcos pushes for Citizen Program Bill seeking choice of military, civic training for students

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 25, 2019

A proposed bill has been filed in the Senate which offers a choice of military or civic training for students.

Senate Bill 413 will push Citizen Service Program from grade school to college. According to Senator Imee Marcos, who filed the bill, “there are other ways to love and serve our country besides fighting wars.”

“[The bill] still accommodates President Duterte’s call for military training for the youth but allows college students the choice of training instead in community service, disaster preparedness, and environmental protection to develop a sense of ‘bayanihan’, which is embodied in Filipino culture and history,” she adds.

The bill also ensures free health insurance and medical services to students who opt for ROTC training, while officers will earn stipends.—AAC

Senator-elect Marcos to prioritize laws on poverty alleviation, agriculture

Marje Pelayo   •   June 1, 2019

Imee Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – If Senator-elect Imee Marcos were to be asked, she would choose to chair the Senate Committee on Social Welfare as she wants to focus on crafting bills that would help alleviate poverty.

“Gusto ko sana social welfare,” the incoming senator said during an interview with the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon on Friday (May 31).

“Titingnan natin ang 4Ps kasi dapat i-expand iyong work tapos ibabagsak ang presyo, importante iyon,” she added.

But in consideration of the more senior senators, Marcos said it will depend on the decision of Senator Joel Villanueva who currently chairs the Social Welfare Committee if he would give up the chairmanship.

Nevertheless, the senator-elect said she is still okay with the Senate Committee on Local Government as it also fits her credentials having years of experience in local governance.

Despite the controversies thrown against her and her family, Marcos ranked eight in the 2019 senatorial race with over 15,800,000 votes.

When the 18th Congress begins, Senator-elect Marcos said she would prioritize measures on lowering poverty incidence in the country, land reform, and peace and order or the anti-terror bill among others.

“Land reform agad-agad. Iyong wala nang utang utang (kundi) ibigay na ang lupa. Hahanap tayo ng Sistema dyan,) she noted.

Marcos also wants to amend the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and push for more Cash-for-Work programs instead of the ‘dole-out’ scheme.

She said she supports the establishment of a Department of Water to address the country’s water problem as well as measures for agricultural development and lowering the price of basic commodities.

She also wants to amend the current Solo Parent Law and push for more benefits for single parents.

“Dahil walang masaydong benepisyo ang mga nanay na mag-isa. Mahirap kasi. It’s hard to bring up kids by yourself,” she explained.

Marcos admitted she is against the Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC), a preference contrary to the Duterte administration.

She would support, however, measures that would establish a mandatory citizenship service instead of mandatory military service.

“Citizenship training na hindi pinipilit na maging military dahil hindi po pwedeng pilitin ang tao na maging sundalo,” she explained.

“I can bring another perspective to the issue. Hindi pwedeng pilitin ang bata (na maging sundalo) pero iyong citizenship ng isang Pilipino, iyong pagiging makabayan, iyon kailangan at agree ako na gawing mandatory iyon,” she added.

She wants an increase in tobacco and other sin taxes; reinstate the death penalty for drug-related crimes; extend the term of barangay officials and synchronize elections with the national level; benefits for retiring local officials; reform Sangguniang Kabataan system; and, the establishment of the Department of Overseas Filipino Worker.

When asked if she would revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a known legacy of his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the incoming senator said it is not necessary as there are alternative sources of energy similar to the windmills of Ilocos Norte. – (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Senate President Sotto still enjoys support of colleagues in 18th Congress

Maris Federez   •   May 31, 2019

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

With the opening of Congress on July 22, new faces in the Senate and the House of Representatives will have their mettle tested in the world of politics.

Neophyte senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Christopher “Bong” Go, Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino, who form part of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago-PDP bloc, are ready to set foot in the Senate.

Amid rumors of division in the Senate on committee chairmanship, Senator Cynthia Villar’s name has been floating to be the bloc’s bet for Senate Presidency.

Majority of the incumbent senators, however, have signified their support to the current leadership of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

 “I think Sen. Sotto will keep the Senate presidency,” said Senator Richard Gordon.

In a text message, Senator-elect Bong Go, stressed that he doesn’t know of any move that is pushing anyone in the Senate leadership, particularly that of Senator Villar.

Even Senator Villar, herself, said that she is not interested to become the Senate president.

Senate President Sotto, on the other hand, stated that even the mentioned incoming senators have also expressed their support to him.

He admitted that the support of his colleagues in the Senate is very crucial in his leadership.

“The Senate presidency is always at the pleasure of the members of the majority,” he added.

Other names floating to possibly replace Senator Sotto in the Senate leadership are that of Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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