New PH law requires free internet, clean restrooms in terminals

Robie de Guzman   •   June 19, 2019   •   1430

MANILA, Philippines – Transport terminals in the country are now required to have clean sanitary facilities and free internet services for passengers after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act 11311.

Duterte signed the law on April 17, a copy of which was released by Malacañang on Wednesday.

The law mandates the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and other concerned stakeholders, to ensure that free internet services are provided in land transportation stations and roll-on/roll-off (RORO) terminals.

Terminal owners, operators or administrators are also ordered to have separate restrooms for persons with disabilities, male and female passengers, as well as lactation station for breastfeeding mothers.

The law also states that collecting fees from passengers for the use of regular sanitary facilities is unlawful. A passenger must also show the paid bus ticket for the day in order to avail of the free use of sanitary facilities.

The measure, however, does not cover well-appointed or deluxe sanitary facilities that are operated solely for commercial purposes and for the convenience of passengers who require and prefer such terminal facilities.

Terminal operators and administrators who fail to comply with the law shall be fined with P5,000 for each day of violation; another P5,000 each day for collecting fees from passengers for the use of sanitary facilities.

Another P5,000 fine each day will also be imposed if operators fail to provide and maintain a lactation station in transport terminals.

The fines will be subject for review every five years by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). Any necessary adjustments on the amount will be subject to the approval of the DOTr Secretary.

The measure mandates the DOTr, in coordination with the DICT, LTFRB, Department of Health, the Philippine Ports Authority and other stakeholders, to release the implementing rules and regulations within 60 days that the law has become effective.

Duterte to attend Japan Emperor enthronement

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte will fly to Japan on Monday (October 21) to attend the enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito on Tuesday (October 22).

Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1 this year after his father, former Emperor Akihito abdicated a day before due to health reasons. Akihito is the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in 200 years.

This will be Duterte’s fourth visit to Japan. The Chief Executive also said Japan is among the countries that continue to provide aid to the Philippines.

The Palace has provided no further details on the said trip.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte admits asking PNOC-EC chief to resign due to ‘idiotic contract’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2019

(L-R) PNOC-EC president Pedro Aquino Jr. and President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he had asked the president and CEO of the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation Pedro Aquino Jr. to resign due to questionable contracts with a Russian oil firm.

During his speech at a business forum on Thursday (October 17), the president criticized Aquino for his “idiotic contract”.

“Here is a guy who prepared a contract with the Russians and the Russians thought that it—that was all there is to it,” he said. “He wanted now the Board of Trustees to ratify what he prepared.”

“Sabi ko, ‘Ano iyong kalokohan mo na baliktad? (I said, ‘What foolishness is this’?) Given the power to draft, to prepare—to what not, and then after that, have it approved by the Board of Directors. Baliktad ang gusto mo (You want it reversed). You want the Board of Directors to ratify your idiotic contract,’” the president said.

Aquino tried to strike a deal with a Russian oil firm without the approval of the board of trustees.—ACC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Surigao airport to resume Manila flights by year’s end after runway restoration – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Surigao airport is set to reopen flights to and from Manila before the year ends following the full restoration of its runway, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced on Friday.

The airport has been operating limited flights after it was heavily damaged by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck Surigao del Norte in February 2017.

Giovanni Lopez, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Project Implementation, reported that the runway restoration was completed in October 14, which was ahead of the November 2019 deadline.

The new runway is longer than the previous 1,000 meters after it was constructed with additional 340 meters.

He added this will allow Surigao Airport to accommodate direct flights to and from Manila, and operate flights from and to Cebu without limitations on passenger load.

Following the completion of the 1,400-meter runway, Lopez said contractors will now work on returning the runway to its previous full operational capability at 1,800 meters by first quarter of 2020.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, meanwhile, welcomed the restoration of Manila flights which is also seen to bring economic development for Surigao del Norte.

“We are glad that the contractors made good on their word to deliver in accordance with the deadline set. The people of Surigao deserve this development, most especially after a calamity. Let us always remember that air connectivity is closely tied to regional growth. Ito ‘ho ang kontribusyon ng DOTr, ito ‘ho ang tulong na ibinibigay natin sa ating mga kababayan sa Surigao,” Tugade said in a statement.

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