Paolo Duterte, other solons form coalition amid House speakership race

Robie de Guzman   •   July 5, 2019   •   1323

Davao City First District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte | Courtesy : PVI-Press by Cerilo Ebrano

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte and other House lawmakers on Friday said they formed a coalition in relation with their bid to unite the members of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress.

In a statement, solons dubbed the nine-member group as the Duterte Coalition.

Aside from Paolo, its members, who come from the ranks of Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, include Representatives Isidro Ungab and Vincent Garcia (Davao City), Corazon Malanyaon (Davao Oriental), Manuel Zamora (Compostella Valley), Lorna Bautista (Davao Occidental), Claudine Baustista (Dumper party-list) and Sandro Gonzales and Anton Lopez (Marino party-list).

“We have created the Duterte Coalition and we wish to invite everyone to join this group of lawmakers who believe in positive change,” the group said.

It added that the Duterte Coalition is a strategic partnership of dynamic public servants who are committed to instituting governance and development reforms that are necessary for the Philippines to secure its rightful place in the world stage of nations, particularly in the Southeast Asian region.

“A special call to be a partner is extended to Congressmen Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Lord Allan Jay Velasco,” the group said.

Romualdez of Leyte, Cayetano of Taguig-Pateros and Velasco of Marinduque are among those gunning for the speakership post. Other lawmakers vying for the position are Ungab, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate and Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales

In the same statement, the coalition also warned Cabinet members against interfering in the tightening race for the highest position in the House.

The Duterte coalition said Cabinet officials should respect President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision not to endorse any candidate.

“It has come to our attention that certain Presidential Cabinet members have their bet for Speaker. Everyone should note that, Cabinet members serve only on the basis of the trust and confidence of the President and should not participate in the selection of the Speaker,” it said.

“President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly said he will not interfere in the race for the next Speaker of the House — noting that all candidates are his allies,” it added.

The Coalition stressed that Cabinet members should also respect the mandate of the House lawmakers to choose their leader.

“Congressmen and Congresswomen are elected and serve a mandate with an authority direct from the people. These lawmakers are the only rightful electorate for their leader,” it said.

The group also emphasized the need to define the independence of the Legislative from the Executive branch of the government.

“Let us draw the line to define the independence of the Executive and the Legislative branches of the government,” it said.

“We shall not serve one interest; we will work for all Filipinos. And we begin today,” it concluded.

Duterte tells telcos to report LGUs delaying permit processing

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said telecommunications companies should report local government units that are obstructing the building of additional cell towers by delaying the processing of permits.

Duterte made the statement in a televised address after Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu told the president about their permitting woes in order to build more cell sites and improve their services.

“We are suffering ho from many, many years of this, before your administation, many administrations, 25 to 29 permit umaabot ng walong buwan tapos marami pa ho kaming miscellaneous fees ho. Iba-ibang klaseng tower fee. Mayroon kaming special use permit,” Cu said.

Cu met with Duterte after the latter threatened during his State of the Nation Address to shut down or expropriate telcos if no improvements are made in their services before December.

“Kasi sabi ko, ‘pag hindi mo pa na-improve ‘yan, I will hang you in one of your towers. Sabi niya, “Mayor, you cannot do that because there is no tower. The local governments are all f—–g it up,” Duterte told Cu in jest.

After hearing Cu’s concerns, the chief executive urged telcos to issue a formal complaint against local government units that are stalling the processing of permits for additional communication towers.

He also told telcos to report LGUs to proper authorities.

“Isumbong niyo na lang ng diresto at ang order ko sa Cabinet ngayon is to really take the, ‘kung pinakamabigat, the most drastic measure that you can find, para magkaintindihan. This is my last mile,” he said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in the same briefing, said that local government units have been ordered to shorten the process and reduce the time spent in producing permits to 16 to 20 days.

“Dati po kailangan pa ng Home-Owners Association Resolution, kailangan pa ng Sangguniang Bayan Resolution, wala na po ‘yon. 16 days to 20 days po ang target para y’ong lahat ng permit ay tatakbo,” he said.

The government has been pushing for the ease of doing business to streamline the process in government agencies.

Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. earlier said they are currently working on expansion plans to improve the communication services in the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Duterte declares July 31 a regular holiday for Eid’l Adha

Robie de Guzman   •   July 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared July 31, Friday a regular holiday in observance of Eid’l Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice of the Muslim community.

Malacañang said Duterte made the declaration through Proclamation No. 985.

The date was chosen based on the recommendation of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

The president also reminded the public that the observance of the event shall be subject to existing community quarantine and social distancing measures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte to announce new quarantine status before August 1 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – New community quarantine classifications that would take effect in Metro Manila and other parts of the country in August will be announced by President Rodrigo Duterte before Friday, Malacañang said.

In a televised briefing on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) is set to meet this week to discuss data on the case doubling rate of the coronavirus disease as well as the critical care utilization in the country which will be submitted by the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday.

Roque said the IATF will submit its recommendations for the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte once appeals by the local government units on the quarantine restrictions have been finalized.

Metro Manila is currently under general community quarantine (GCQ) as well as Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal, Lapu Lapu City, Mandaue City, Ormoc City, Southern Leyte, Talisay, Minglanilla, and Consolacion in Cebu Province, Zamboanga City, Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, and Basilan in Mindanao.

Cebu City is under enhanced community quarantine while the rest of the country are placed under the more relaxed modified GCQ with strict local action.

Roque also said that “major changes” may be implemented in the government’s response against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), adding that these changes will focus more on the policies to contain the public health crisis.

He said these changes may include massive testing, “invigorated” tracing, and creation of more quarantine facilities.

As of July 28, the Philippines has recorded a total of 83,673 coronavirus infections, 55,109 of which are active cases.

The DOH said 1,678 additional cases were reported based on the total tests done by 81 of the 91 operational laboratories.

The department likewise reported 173 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 26,617. The death toll also increased to 1,947 with four new fatalities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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