Palace says Duterte to sign Road Board abolition as Senate, House clash
Marje Pelayo • December 18, 2018 • 2484
FILE PHOTO: Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo
MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing on Tuesday (December 18) said President Rodrigo Duterte is likely to sign the bill abolishing the Road Board “as soon as it is given to him.”
Panelo said he believes the President would do so since he, the President, is against the release of the P45 billion pesos road users’ tax due to issues of corruption.
“Yes, that’s what is needed. We want that the fund be returned to the treasury and then let the Congress appropriate again for specific purpose,” Panelo said in a palace briefing.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate’s position on the bill remains as the senators strongly believe that the road user’s tax has become a huge source of corruption among lawmakers.
“It’s good as abolished dahil hindi na iri-release ng executive department ang funding noon. Ngayon kung ipipilit pa rin nila, perhaps somebody should bring it to the proper venue, kung courts ang kailangan dito para ma-resolve iyan,” Sotto explained.
The Senate passed and adopted in September the House version of a bill abolishing the Road Board filed by former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez due to anomalies over the use of motor vehicle user’s charge (MVUC).
But the Lower House through House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. later on filed a motion to rescind the approval of the said bill leaving it hanging in a balance.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, meanwhile, argued that abolishing the Road Board would affect the funding of several government services.
“Kapag tinanggal ang Road Boardm mawawala ang dedicated fund to address pollution at safety,” Suarez concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Bernard Dadis)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and his delegation are set to fly to China for a working visit in response to the invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It will be Duterte’s fifth visit to Beijing and his eight meeting with Xi.
The two leaders will meet on August 29 when they will discuss several agreements on education, science and technology, economy and social development.
The President himself also stressed that he would insist the Hague Arbitral Ruling during his meeting with the Chinese President along with other sensitive issues like the code of conduct and joint exploration in the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“We cannot preempt what does the President will discuss in particular regarding the arbitral ruling. So, it will be his call during the meeting with the President with his counterpart,” explained Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre.
The Philippine delegation will also attend a business forum in China in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The President’s itinerary includes a meeting with Vice President Wang Qishan and some relax time in the opening of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Guanzhou on August 31 in support to the Philippines’ GILAS team in their game against Italy.
Meanwhile, contrary to earlier announcements, President Duterte will no longer push through with his visit to Fujian province where he was supposed to grace the launching of a university building as tribute to his mother, Soledad.
According to the President’s close in staff, this is not the right time for it.
“But for this particular visit, there was a plan and then the recommendation now is to move it at a later date because it’s more appropriate to be done at a later date and not at this particular time,” noted Robert Borje, the Chief of the Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is not bothered by Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) hubs constructed near military camps nor by allegations that Chinese nationals could be spying against the government.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the government has enough intelligence gathering and the President believes that the proximity of POGO hubs to military camps is not a matter of concern since the practice of spying has been brought to a higher level with the introduction of high technology.
“He’s not worried because we have the intelligence capability of knowing what they are doing. We have that capability sabi nga ni Presidente (as what the President said),” Panelo noted.
President Duterte also believes, according to Panelo, that all countries have long been spying on one another.
Also, Panelo cited the position of the National Security Adviser that the Philippine government would be able to monitor closely the activities of such POGO hubs if they are near military camps.
Nevertheless, Malacañang made certain that the matter will be discussed during the upcoming meeting of Cabinet officials especially since Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed concern about it.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has stopped accepting license applications for POGO firms which the President supports.
“Until the President reverses the stand of PAGCOR, that remains to be the policy, because the President always respects heads of departments and offices to do their duty and undertaking,” Panelo concluded. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
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