MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Security Group (PSG) on Thursday announced that all foreign travels of President Rodrigo Duterte is suspended “for now” in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PSG said the decision to suspend Duterte’s foreign trips, especially to countries with confirmed coronavirus cases, follows the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH).
The announcement comes after Malacañang bared that the president will undergo testing for coronavirus after exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual in an event last week. Several members of his Cabinet and some lawmakers also decided to go on self-quarantine.
In photos released to media, Duterte is seen being tested for coronavirus inside the Malacañang complex with Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, his former longtime aide.
Go said he and the chief executive were tested around 5 p.m. Thursday by a medical staff from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
Results of the test will be out in 48 hours, according to Go.
The senator earlier said they will undergo testing to ensure that they are fit and healthy to engage the public and perform duties in the coming days and weeks. He also said they are not showing any symptom of the virus.
The Philippines has so far recorded 52 confirmed infections with two fatalities. Two have recovered and have been discharged while 48 remain admitted at various hospitals in the country.
MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is set to submit to President Rodrigo Duterte his shortlist of candidates to be the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
In an exclusive interview with UNTV News, Año said his list would consist of five names – three of them are three-star generals and are members of the PNP command group. The remaining two would be two-star and one-star generals but he has yet to pick the names of those he will recommend to the president.
“Sa ngayon, pare-parehas sila eh. Pero for sure, yung mga 3-star [generals] kasama yan sa ire-recommend ko. Pag-aaralan ko pa yung mga 2-star at 1-star na pwede isama sa listahan but I will submit five names,” he said.
Año said he will submit the list at least a week before the mandatory retirement of PNP chief General Archie Gamboa.
Gamboa will bow out of the police service when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on September 3.
“Normally, mga two weeks to one week before magsusubmit na ulit ako ng pangalan sa Pangulong Duterte kung sino mga ire-recommend ko, pero ibig sabihin naman nun, ang Pangulong Duterte pwedeng pumili anybody from one-star to three-star,” the DILG chief said.
Whoever will be chosen from the five would inherit a PNP that is among the country’s frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
All generals in the police force are eligible to be promoted to the police’s top post. The president may also choose a general outside the shortlist given by Año to be his next police chief.
When asked about the possible extension of Gamboa’s term as PNP chief amid the public health crisis, Año replied with: “Palagay ko naman wala na siguro kasi bawal naman ang extension kasi, so we have to follow the law,” he said. “Ang organization naman kasi dynamic, naka-lay out naman dyan ang direction plans kahit naman sino umupo diyan, itutuloy nya lang yung programs.”
Among the three-star generals and members of command group of the PNP are deputy chief for administration Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan, deputy chief for operations Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, and chief directorial staff Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag.
Cascolan belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986, while both Eleazar and Binay belong to PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.
Cascolan will retire in November 2020, Eleazar in November 2021, and Binag in April 2021.
Meanwhile, among the two-star and one-star generals whose names might get picked on for the top police post are directorate for operations director Major General Emmanuel Licup, National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold Sinas, and Police Regional Office 4A director Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr.
Both Licup and Sinas belong to the PMA Hinirang class of 1987 while Danao belongs to the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991. – RRD (from the report of Correspondent Lea Ylagan)
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.)
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)
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