Palace calls proposed Philippine Human Rights Act filed in US Congress a very ‘wild suggestion’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 24, 2020   •   378

Malacañang has slammed a proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress that seeks to suspend the security assistance provided by the United States of America to the Philippines.

Pennsylvania Representative Susan Wild sponsored the Philippine Human Rights Act last September 17 as she criticized the alleged human rights abuses in the Philippines and “brutal” regime under President Rodrigo Duterte through the Anti-Terrorism Law. Wild is pushing to halt U.S. funding for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“That’s a very ‘wild’ suggestion. Hayaan na po natin. Iyan po ay personal na opinion ni Congresswoman Wild (We should just let it go. That is the personal opinion of Congresswoman Wild),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, adding that the proposed act has little chance of getting approved.

He also reiterated that Malacañang is confident that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump will uphold Philippine-US relations.

Roque said the Philippines will not interfere with U.S sovereignty and will not stop the proposed act from progressing through the legislative process. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Quarantine recommendation should be submitted privately to ease public pressure —Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 14, 2020

The Malacañang on Wednesday (October 14) explained its call to keep recommendations of experts private.

Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Harry Roque said the move is to put less public pressure on President Rodrigo Duterte in deciding which policies to implement during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Palace urged the OCTA Research team to keep their recommendations on quarantine classifications private similar to what the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is currently doing.

“We want the President to make the right decision without pressure from public opinion,” Roque said.

The OCTA Research said they understand the government’s position regarding quarantine qualification recommendations. The group, however, reiterates that they will continue to publish other data and recommendations.

“We understand the position of the government. We can still publish data and trend analysis and certain recommendations,” according to OCTA Research Team Member Dr. Guido David. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Set aside politics, prioritize the national budget, Palace tells lawmakers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 12, 2020

Malacañang reiterated President Rordigo Duterte’s appeal to lawmakers to set aside politics and focus on the passage of the proposed 2021 national budget.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the President wants the national budget to be sorted out since the row for the House leadership is affecting passage of the budget.

“Wala pong tigil ang pulitika diyan sa Kamara, gusto lang pareho maging speaker. Paano naman ang bayan? Wala po siyang pinapanigan, ang gusto lang niya maipasa ang COVID-19 budget na nasa loob po ng proposed 2021 budget, (The politics in the House is non-stop. Both parties want to become House Speaker. What about the nation? [The President] is not taking any sides, he just wants the passage of the COVID-19 budget which is under the proposed 2021 budget),” Roque said.

Duterte already ordered a special session period from October 13 to October 16. Roque also said the President hopes that the proposed national budget will be approved on the third and final reading in the Lower House during that special session period. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Palace welcomes Gierran move for courtesy resignation of PhilHealth senior execs

Robie de Guzman   •   October 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday lauded Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president and CEO Dante Gierran for his “decisiveness” in ordering the agency’s senior officials to tender their courtesy resignation, as part of his efforts to rid the state insurer of corruption.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Gierran’s move was “a step in the right direction.”

Roque issued the statement after the newly-installed PhilHealth chief implemented a Board resolution directing all senior officers with Salary Grade 26 and above to tender their courtesy resignation.

The Palace official said Gierran’s predecessor, Ricardo Morales, “blatantly failed to carry out” this resolution.

“We commend PhilHealth PCEO Gierran for his display of decisiveness,” Roque said.

“We consider this latest development in PhilHealth a step in the right direction as this is in line with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive to reorganize the state health insurer, make erring officials accountable and give the agency a fresh start,” he added.

Morales and other PhilHealth officials are facing charges filed by the Task Force PhilHealth led by the Department of Justice  over the alleged corruption in the agency.

The task force was created by President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate corruption claims that surfaced during congressional inquiries.

These issues include the procurement of alleged overpriced IT equipment and the questionable release of funds under the agency’s interim reimbursement mechanism.

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