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PNoy urges vigilance against repeat of martial law’s ‘dark days’

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, February 25th, 2019

Former president, Benigno Aquino III

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — In commemoration of the 33rd anniversary of EDSA Revolution, former President Benigno Aquino III encouraged the public to use their right to vote so that the grim history of the country during martial law will never happen again.

He said that the public should remain vigilant because it seems like history is repeating itself.

“Tila nagbabalik iyong mga unang ugali at pamamaraan na ating nilabanan na noong panahon ng kadiliman ng batas military,” Aquino said.

(It seems like the previous actions and tactics we fought against during martial law are happening again),” Aquino said.

The former president even cited the proposal to change the country’s name to ‘Maharlika’ as reminiscent of the Marcos regime.

“Gagawin na naman tayong ‘Maharlika’. Parang last time kong narinig yan parang Apong Ferdie pa ata ang nakaupo eh. Hindi na left turn, U-turn na po ata ito,” he said.

(They want to name the country “Maharlika” again. The last time I
heard that proposal, Apong Ferdie [Ferdinand Marcos] was still in power. This is not a left turn anymore but a u-turn.)

Aquino called on the public to use their votes to prevent the country from falling into a worse situation.

“Kapag bumoto ka sa kaalyado ng administrasyon o ng mga inendorso nila, parang sinabi mo na rin na, ‘Tama po lahat ng ginawa ninyo. Ituloy po ninyo, lalo pa ninyong paigtingin’,”he said.

(If you voted or endorsed the allies of the administration, it is like you’re telling them that their actions are right and they should continue it.)

The former president also endorsed the eight opposition candidates. —Aileen Cerrudo with reports from Grace Casin

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PNP conducts probe on Chuzon Supermarket collapse in Porac

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has started its investigation on the Chuzon Supermarket building in Porac, Pampanga that collapsed shortly after Monday’s magnitude 6.1 earthquake that hit several Luzon areas.

PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) region 3 chief Col. Cris Abrahano said they have started probing some of the documents obtained, including the floor and building plans and the list of Chuzon grocery employees in its Porac branch.

Abrahano said they will use these documents to help assess the structural integrity of Chuzon grocery and whether this was built using sub-standard materials. They will also probe if the building had complied with all the necessary requirements for construction.

Authorities are also planning to talk with several witnesses, building experts and concerned government agencies regarding thee investigation.

“Subject ng investigation natin ‘yun dahil kailangan natin ang tulong ng building official diyan at ng DPWH na siya namang naatasan na mag-enforce ng building code, so isa ‘yan sa subject ng investigation natin,” Abrahano said.

The PNP-CIDG’s investigation comes after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) ordered an assessment of all Chuzon supermarket buildings’ structural integrity and the actual cause of the collapse of its branch in Porac.

The DPWH earlier said that although a private establishment, there is still a need to check on the cause of the structural failure as the building was constructed only four years ago.

A forensic investigation is also being conducted on the samples taken from the collapsed supermarket to determine the possible liability that may be faced by the owner of the supermarket.

“‘Yung kanilang explanation ang sinabi ay sub-standard materials, sinagot ni [DPWH] Sec. [Mark] Villar ‘yun e kahapon pero ang sabi nya ipapatawag muna yung may-ari para mag-shed light,” said Edgar Posadas, Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC).

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the suspension of business operations of Chuzon stores to give way to the investigation.

READ: Duterte suspends business operations of Chuzon stores in Pampanga

At least 16 people were killed in Monday’s quake, based on data from the NDRRMC.

Five of the fatalities were from the collapsed grocery store, seven from different barangays in Porac, two from Lubao and one in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.

The PNP-CIDG said they will complete the investigation as soon as possible in order to file the appropriate charges.

“As soon as possible at as soon as maayos din yun mga technical inspection kasama yung DPWH at mainterview natin yung mga witnessess at ma-check ang mga papel na binigay nila sa amin. Kung mayroong mga lapses na makita ay mabigyan kaagad ng hustisya yung mga biktima natin,” Abrahano said. – Robie de Guzman

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Duterte suspends business operations of Chuzon stores in Pampanga

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019


President Rodrigo Duterte visits quake-hit areas in Pampanga. | Photo from MPC Pool

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the suspension of business operations of Chuzon Supermarkets in Pampanga following the collapse of one of its buildings in the town of Porac during the magnitude 6.1 earthquake on Monday.

The President made the order during a situation briefing held at the Pampanga Provincial Hall on the effects of the strong temblor that rattled parts of Luzon.

“Well, in probability, the one who constructs the supermarket here could also be the one who constructed the others. I’d like to presume that, although I stand corrected,” Duterte said.

“So it would be a good time to just give them the advise to stop, cease and desist in doing business until such time that the clearance [is] given by government, whether city engineer or whoever is competent to review the planning, ” he added.

Duterte’s order came after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recommended the issuance of an order for the suspension of the supermarket chain’s business permit.

The President said it was “appalling” that the grocery branch collapsed, considering that the building was just four years old.

The earthquake hit Pampanga the hardest, although its epicenter was located in Castillejos, Zambales.

READ: Phivolcs explains why Pampanga was hit hardest by Luzon quake

Several structures and roads in the province sustained damages after an earthquake rocked parts of Luzon late Monday afternoon.

Earlier on Tuesday, Duterte visited the quake-hit areas in Pampanga, including the collapsed Chuzon Supermarket in Porac.

Based on the latest data released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday, 16 people were killed in Monday’s quake.

READ: Luzon quake death toll rises to 16

Of the 16 reported fatalities, 12 were from Porac, two from Lubao and one from Angeles in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.

The NDRRMC also said that 81 people were injured and 14 remain missing. — Robie de Guzman

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Duterte cancels work in Metro Manila gov’t offices

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the suspension of work in government offices in Metro Manila on Tuesday, April 23 following the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that shook parts of Luzon on Monday afternoon.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the announcement was based on the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“Per Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea as recommended by the NDRRMC and in order to ease up the load of the public transport system, work in government in the National Capital Region is suspended on 23 April 2019,” Panelo said in a statement.

Affected governors were also ordered to assess the damage to infrastructure in their respective areas and to take necessary safety measures.

“The President has directed the governors of the affected provinces to assess the damage sustained by their respective localities and take the necessary measures to ensure public safety,” Panelo said. – Robie de Guzman

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