Senate President Sotto still enjoys support of colleagues in 18th Congress

Maris Federez   •   May 31, 2019   •   1608

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

With the opening of Congress on July 22, new faces in the Senate and the House of Representatives will have their mettle tested in the world of politics.

Neophyte senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Christopher “Bong” Go, Imee Marcos and Francis Tolentino, who form part of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago-PDP bloc, are ready to set foot in the Senate.

Amid rumors of division in the Senate on committee chairmanship, Senator Cynthia Villar’s name has been floating to be the bloc’s bet for Senate Presidency.

Majority of the incumbent senators, however, have signified their support to the current leadership of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

 “I think Sen. Sotto will keep the Senate presidency,” said Senator Richard Gordon.

In a text message, Senator-elect Bong Go, stressed that he doesn’t know of any move that is pushing anyone in the Senate leadership, particularly that of Senator Villar.

Even Senator Villar, herself, said that she is not interested to become the Senate president.

Senate President Sotto, on the other hand, stated that even the mentioned incoming senators have also expressed their support to him.

He admitted that the support of his colleagues in the Senate is very crucial in his leadership.

“The Senate presidency is always at the pleasure of the members of the majority,” he added.

Other names floating to possibly replace Senator Sotto in the Senate leadership are that of Senators Panfilo Lacson and Franklin Drilon. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Duterte signs Malasakit Center Act

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the Postponement of the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections Act and the Malasakit Center Act during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on December 3, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure seeking to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH) across the country.

Duterte signed the Republic Act 11463 in a ceremony held in Malacañang Tuesday night, but a copy of the law is yet to be released.

Under the law, Malasakit Centers will serve as one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance provided by the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in more than 70 DOH-run hospitals nationwide.

Its functions also include providing indigent patients with referral to the health care provider networks as well as information on membership, coverage and benefit packages in the National Health Insurance Program.

However, these centers are not meant to provide additional funds for assistance since government agencies run their own medical and financial assistance programs.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed gratitude and hailed the enactment of the law he authored and sponsored.

The law was a pet project of Go, former top aide of Duterte.

The DOH, for its part, welcomed the signing of the measure which is seen to ease the process of granting financial medical assistance to impoverished patients.

“The long lines and tedious processes for availment of financial medical assistance will be things of the past,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

He also said that the establishment of Malasakit centers complements the implementation of the country’s Universal Health Care Program. The DOH said that there are now a total of 74 Malasakit Centers established nationwide with 45 centers in DOH hospitals, 28 in LGU-operated hospitals, and one in the Philippine General Hospital. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte doesn’t want to rest despite doctor’s advice – Bong Go

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte doesn’t want to heed his doctor’s advice to take a rest, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Wednesday.

Go, a former top aide of Duterte, said the president prefers to continue working and performing his official duties while he is staying in his hometown in Davao City.

“Sa totoo lang, ayaw magpahinga ng Pangulo, kahit sabihin mong he was advised by the doctor to rest,” he told reporters in Malacañang.

“Hindi po siya makatagal sa bahay at talagang gusto niyang magtrabaho at gumala,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday said the chief executive would go on a three-day break but later said he would just work from home in Davao City.

The Palace previously said the president’s doctor had advised him to limit his physical activity after he complained of “unbearable” pain in his spine following a minor motorcycle accident within the Malacañang complex on Oct. 16.

Duterte was in Japan to attend Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony when he complained of spinal ache and had to cut his trip short. After consultation with his doctor, Panelo said the president experienced a muscle spasm.

Go assured that Duterte is in good shape, adding that the chief executive is set to visit North Cotabato on Friday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Imee Marcos wants Manila Water, Maynilad held liable to service disruption

Robie de Guzman   •   October 24, 2019

Senator Imee Marcos (C)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Imee Marcos on Thursday said that concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad should be held accountable for implementing rotational water service interruptions which are seen to inconvenience millions of its customers.

In a statement, Marcos said water concessionaires in Metro Manila should have implemented countermeasures to prevent water shortage amid declining water level at Angat and Ipo dams.

Marcos said this is not the first time that Metro Manila and nearby provinces have experienced water shortage this year, recalling the time when water concessionaires also implemented operational adjustments due to low water supply in March.

“Di ba nasabon at binalaan na sila ni Pangulong Duterte na ite-terminate ang concession agreements noong Marso dahil sa kapalpakan nila, pero ngayon wala pa rin silang solusyon sa problema sa tubig,” Marcos said in a statement.

Alam naman nila na may kakulangan sa suplay nito. Bakit ang mga tao ang babalikat ng sakripisyo,” she added.

She said the Senate could review the existing agreements between the concessionaires and the government.

Manila Water and Maynilad both announced earlier that they will implement daily rotational water service interruptions in several areas starting Oct. 24.

The water companies cited the declining water level in Angat dam and Ipo dams as the reason for the supply adjustment.

As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the water level in Angat Dam is at 185.87 meters while the Ipo dam is at 100.37 meters.

The dams’ water elevation has consistently declined in the past few weeks due to a lack of heavy rainfall that could raise its reserves.

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