Sara Duterte disowns text message urging solons to vote for speaker according to conscience

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2019   •   1064

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has denied links to a text message sent to lawmakers, urging them to vote for House Speaker according to their conscience despite the endorsement of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, for a term-sharing between Congressmen Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco.

Duterte-Carpio’s remark came after AnaKalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor showed a text message to reporters on Tuesday night where the mayor supposedly called on solons to vote for a speaker of their personal choice.

“Kaya nanawagan siya ngayon sa lahat ng mga congressmen na bumoto ayon sa kanilang kagustuhan dahil ang kanya[ng] ama ay na set-up lamang ng mga gahaman sa Gabinete ng kaalyado kay Cayetano,” said the message supposedly from Duterte-Carpio.

Defensor said he received the message from someone “very close” to the presidential daughter but refused to name the source. He added that several other lawmakers also received the same message on Tuesday.

“One of them nagsasabi na i-forward mo nga sa akin ito , maya-maya the same text [was] forwarded to him. So, it’s going around… It came from, what I know, a person very close to her,” he said.

But the regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which is headed by Duterte-Carpio, said the message did not come from the presidential daughter.

“Sa lahat ng mga nagtatanong at humihingi ng statement regarding the supposed text message – well, hindi po ‘yon galing kay Mayor Inday,” the HNP said in a message sent to reporters.

The HNP earlier endorsed Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab as its bet for the House speakership race.

The HNP and Ungab are yet to issue a comment about the President’s decision to endorse a term-sharing between Cayetano and Velasco as House speakers.

“We will have baka next week, nothing yet as of now,” said Mylene Garcia-Albano, spokesperson for the HNP.

Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez has already dropped out of the race and accepted Duterte’s suggestion for him to take the House Majority Leader job.

READ: Romualdez accepts House Majority Leader job

Legislators who were part of the pro-Romualdez bloc earlier assured they would support Duterte’s choice for speakers, while the 54-strong Party-list coalition said they plan to vote for Cayetano “for now.”

House members are set to elect the next Speaker when the session of the 18th Congress opens on the morning of July 22, the same day when Duterte will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address. (rrd, with details from Grace Casin)

Duterte to attend ASEAN-ROK summit in South Korea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit in South Korea from November 25 to 27.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed on Sunday (November 10) that the president will be attending the summit in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the dialogue partnership between the regional bloc and South Korea.

“He will push through with the trip,” Panelo said.

President Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-In are also expected to have a bilateral meeting to discuss trade and security issues.

The Philippines and South Korea have recently celebrated its 70th bilateral relations.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte eyes ban on use of plastic

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2019

Plastic along coastline in Cap-Haitien, Haiti | REUTERS

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to ban the use of plastics in a bid to mitigate the effects of climate change, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president mentioned the idea during a discussion on climate change in a Cabinet meeting last Wednesday.

“The president floated the idea to ban the use of plastics, which according to him would require legislative action,” Panelo told reporters but said he is not sure if Duterte was referring to single-use plastics.

There are bills filed in Congress seeking to ban the use of single-use plastics that are currently pending at a committee level.

These measures seek to prohibit food establishments, stores, and markets from issuing single-use plastics, and task manufacturers to control the circulation and disposal of these materials. It also encourages consumers to instead use reusable or other alternative materials.

The Philippines has been listed in a 2015 report as one of the biggest sources of plastic leaking into the oceans, after China and Indonesia.

A recent study by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) revealed that Filipinos use more than 163 million plastic sachet packets, 48 million shopping bags and 45 million thin film bags daily.

The report called “Plastics exposed: How waste assessments and brand audits are helping Philippine cities fight plastic pollution,” used data from household waste assessments and brand audits conducted by Mother Earth Foundation (MEF) in six cities and seven municipalities across the country in the past five years.

The organization extrapolated the data to calculate daily and yearly plastic usage throughout the country in order to provide new quantitative evidence about plastic pollution in the Philippines.

GAIA said that findings in the report show how cities and municipalities in the Philippines are struggling against plastic residuals despite efforts of many localities to institute Zero Waste programs.

With the projected increase in plastic production worldwide, including in the Philippines, the group said that national governments, as well as local government authorities need robust data and effective strategies to address the looming plastic pollution crisis.

It also called on manufacturers to regulate, and stop producing, single-use plastics.

“We would appreciate kung ang Pangulo will tell Congress na iprioritize nga itong bill on single-use plastic,” Beau Baconguis, an Asia Pacific Plastics Campaigner of GAIA said.

“Dapat hindi lang tignan as a waste disposal issue at waste management issue pero titingnan ang buong life cycle ng plastic at buong problemang kaakibat ng different stages ng production ng plastic,” Baconguis added.

The House of Representatives, for its part, assured it will continue to conduct inquiries on proposals to ban the use of plastics in the country.

“There will be a hearing before the committee level, all the stakeholders shall be heard, and ultimately we shall decide the course,” Cavite Fourth District Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, said.

“The decision of the President will carry much weight in so far as the action of the House of representatives is concerned,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

LOOK: Robredo’s memo to Duterte on acceptance of anti-drug post designation

Robie de Guzman   •   November 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday sent a memorandum to Malacañang stating her acceptance of President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer for her to become co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

Robredo’s spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez posted a photo of the memorandum on his Twitter account with the caption, “Handa na ba kayo para sa akin?”

The vice president on Wednesday said she has accepted the designation in hopes of stopping the killing of innocent lives under the administration’s anti-drug war.

Duterte made the offer following Robredo’s call to allow the United Nations to investigate his war on drugs, which she said was “not working.”

She later clarified that she meant to urge the administration to assess its campaign.

In a briefing with Malacanang Press Corps, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Robredo is welcome to attend the meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday.

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