Panelo on commuting to work: It’s nothing new

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 11, 2019   •   668

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo takes a selfie inside a jeepney as he commutes to work to refute allegations of traffic crisis in Metro Manila.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said nothing has changed during his commute to work in Malacañang on Friday (October 11).

In an ambush interview, Panelo said he did not feel any challenge during his commute from his home in Marikina. He left at 5:15 a.m. and was spotted in Cubao at around 8:00 a.m.

Pareho ng dati, wala namang pinagbago, (It’s the same as before, nothing has changed)” he said.

“Laking kalye ako, pinagkalakihan ko ang jeep, ang bus, tricycle (I grew up in the streets. I grew up riding jeepney, buses, and tricycle) so there’s nothing new,” Panelo added.

The Presidential Spokesperson rode four jeepneys and hitched a motorcycle ride. He arrived at Malacañang at 8:45 a.m., almost four hours of travel time.

According to Panelo, he accepted the challenge to show that people in the government can still do what the public can do.

Kaya ko lang tinanggap iyong hamon nila, kasi sila parang pinapakita nila na kaming nasa pwesto ngayon hindi namin pwedeng gawin ang ginagawa ng ordinaryong tao, galing nga kami doon (I accepted the challenge because they look at people in the government cannot do what ordinary people do, but we have been there),” he said.

He again maintained there is no transport crisis in Metro Manila.

Kung may problema, may solusyon (If there’s a problem, there is a solution). Otherwise, that’s not a problem,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Grace Casin)

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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