MWSS: No need for emergency powers to solve water woes

Marje Pelayo   •   June 24, 2019   •   1130

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte in April this year castigated executives of the government’s water agency Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its concessionaires for the widespread water crisis that affected residents in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Despite this, water problems have not been solved.

Instead, they have worsened as water service interruptions affect not only customers of Manila Water but even the clients of Maynilad as Angat Dam continues to dry up.

But according to MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco, there is no need for another meeting with the President to solve the current issue.

“Kahit anong gawin natin, kahit na saan tayo mag-meet, kahit saan, ang kritikal dito ay ang tubig, (Whatever we do, wherever we meet, what’s critical here is water),” noted PDDG. Reynaldo Velasco, the MWSS Administrator.

“(Madadagdagan) ba ang tubig sa Angat? Kahit na sinong superman dito kung hindi talaga uulan walang kakayanin iyan (Can we add water to Angat? Even superman cannot do it unless rains come pouring down),” he added.

The official noted that there is no need to grant the President emergency powers to resolve the problem though such authority can be used to expedite the construction of government projects such as water dams.

“Kung manghihingi tayo ng emergency power, saan tayo kukuha ng tubig? (If we ask for emergency power, where do we get water?) In case we need some emergency power, (it) is for the future, ” Velasco said.

Dams which are under construction include the Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal and Kaliwa Dam in Tanay.

The projects are now facing hurdles especially the bidding process.

The MWSS, meanwhile, appeals to the two water concessionaires to religiously implement the schedule of water service interruptions while it also asks consumers to conserve water and as much as possible store only the enough volume.

“Kasi kapag nag-ipon sila ng sobra doon baka naman maapektuhan ang reservoir ng ating mga concessionaire, (If you store more than enough water, it might affect the supply in concessionaires’ reservoirs,)” Velasco concluded. – with details from Rey Pelayo.

Duterte orders stricter road safety checks after South Cotabato mishap

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 20, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered stricter implementation of road safety checks after a private truck fell into a ravine in South Cotabato on Tuesday (September 17).

Based on reports, 21 people were killed while 14 others were injured due to the South Cotabato mishap.

According to the Department of Transportation (Dotr), officials from several departments had a meeting with the president on Wednesday (September 18).

The chief executive has ordered to intensify roadworthiness checks, improve driver’s licensing requirements, periodic drug testing, and financial capability checks for operators.

“The chief executive pushed for the urgent nationwide implementation of the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) to improve the level of safety and security of passengers,” the Dotr said in a statement on Facebook.

Duterte has also emphasized that private vehicles used beyond their legitimate purpose should be banned.

Vehicles should also have proper road safety equipment and facilities while operators who do not have the financial capability for safety improvements should cease to operate.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the department will improve on road safety through various programs including Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS).

“Ilang buhay na naman ‘ho ang nawala sa atin. Itigil na ang kawalan ng disiplina. Itigil na ang pagiging pabaya sa kalsada. Sa utos ng ating Pangulo, sisikapin naming masiguro na tanging mga roadworthy vehicles lang ang bibiyahe sa kalsada, at lahat ng driver ay may sapat na kaalaman at disiplina sa pagmamaneho, (Several lives have already been lost. Let us stop the lack of discipline. Stop recklessness on the road. According to our President’s order, let us strive to ensure that only roadworthy vehicles should operate and all drivers should have discipline in driving),” Tugade said.—AAC

‘Tracker team’ all set for deployment as Duterte’s surrender deadline for heinous crime convicts passes

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte’s surrender deadline for heinous crime convicts freed through the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) will be until midnight of Thursday (September 19).

After which, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy its tracker team to chase those who refuse to yield to the President’s call.

According to National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) Chief Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar, out of 1,914 heinous crime convicts released under GCTA, a total of 202 reside in Metro Manila.

From that number, only 26 surrendered.

Therefore, a total 176 convicts remain at large and they are the target of the NCRPO’s tracker team.

“All the tracker teams natin of the 176 targets in Metro Manila, they will start their manhunt at 12 o’ clock. They are distributed in the 26 police station,” Eleazar said.

“Within 6 hours from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock all the 176 addresses, lahat iyon ay pupuntahan ng tracker teams natin, (They will all be chased by our tracker teams,)” he added.

Eleazar said they want to arrest their targets alive as much as possible.

“We want to get them alive, but kung mayroong (but in the event of) aggressive behavior on their part, of course, we have to defend ourselves,” he explained.

The official warned to file appropriate charges against those convicts who would refuse arrest.

Earlier today, four convicts surrendered to the NCRPO though their names were not included in the list of GCTA-freed convicts of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

All they wanted, they said, was to make sure their lives are safe.

They are now under the custody of the BuCor. – MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte certifies passage of 2020 national budget as urgent

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget as urgent.

According to his letter dated September 17 addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives, he wants the immediate passage of the proposed national budget to “maintain continuous government operations.”

“Ensure the budgetary preparedness that will enable the government to effectively perform its constitutional mandate,” the letter stated.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the president certified the proposed 2020 national budget as urgent to avoid a repetition of last year’s delay which affected several economic programs of the administration.

“He [Duterte] wants the members of Congress [to know] the importance of passing the budget on time to avoid a repeat of last year’s delay of its passage that wreak havoc in the economic program of the administration, and affected the delivery of basic services to the people,” he said in a statement.—AAC

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