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

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2019   •   1345

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 fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima.

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed.

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Davao City spent over P400 million for COVID-19 fight — Sara Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2020

The Davao City government has spent at least P476 million for its response against the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Sara Duterte said.

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio, Duterte said the fund was sourced from the city’s internal revenue allotment (IRA) under the national budget.

She said the city’s one month IRA amounted to P476 million and all local government units (LGUs) have been mandated by the national government to spend the budget for COVID-19 response.

Aside from the P476 million, Mayor Sara also said that the city also sourced out funds from its 2020 budget, which include the peace and order fund, City Mayor’s Office, and Public Enhancement Service Fund.

Duterte said the city’s biggest expenditure remains for food, including rations to residents.

As of May 8, the city has already distributed a total of 788,656 food packs. The food rationing started on March 23.

Aside from food rations, the city government also shouldered the hospital expenses of COVID-19 patients and the cost of cremation for those who succumbed to the virus.

Duterte earlier announced she has donated her one-year salary to a trust fund to help medical workers acquiring the disease from their work.

As of May 20, the city has recorded a total of 206 coronavirus infections, with 25 fatalities and 100 recoveries.

Duterte warns of return to strict quarantine restrictions if COVID-19 crisis worsens

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminds the public to heed government protocols for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis even after community quarantine has been relaxed. 

On May 16, Metro Manila shifted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from enhanced community quarantine to help revive the Philippines’ crippled economy. 

But President Duterte stressed that such relaxation in restrictions doesn’t mean the country is free of COVID-19 and warned that the government might again tighten restrictions if situations get worse. 

“Remember this, the loosening of the restrictions does not mean [we’re COVID-free],” he said. 

“If the contamination will be as fast as before, and it will continue to infect yung nakalabas na (people who are allowed to go out), then we’ll have to just go back to original program,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied allegations that the government is not ready or has no policy for the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing. 

Roque stressed that the government in fact is now preparing to hit the target of 30,000 a day testing capacity by the end of May. 

“From the very beginning, we have had a systematic targeted testing at sa tingin po natin ang sinusunod natin ay benchmark recognized internationally specifically by the WHO,” the Palace Spokesperson said in defense against against critics who are questioning the government’s advice of letting private companies shoulder COVID-19 testing for their respective workers who are returning to work. 

Roque added that the government is targeting to test around 1.5% to 2% of the more than 100 million Filipinos for COVID-19 infection and clarified on what is referred to as ‘mass testing.’

“Ang tawag po dapat ay expanded targeted testing,” he said. 

READ: Phl conducting ‘expanded’ targeted testing, not mass testing vs COVID-19 – DOH

“Wala pong bansa sa buong mundo na ang lahat ng mga mamamayan nito (ay tine-test) kaya nga po mali ang terminong mass testing,” he concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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