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Senate urges probe on P60M DOT ad placement controversy

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, July 30th, 2018

Sen. Trillanes will file a plunder case against Tulfo siblings in relation to P60-M advertisement controversy.

 

 

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III wants an investigation on the ad placement controversy between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the state-run People’s Television Network (PTV4), particularly in the program hosted by Ben and Erwin Tulfo.

The Tulfo brothers are siblings of former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo who later resigned amid allegations of corruption.

Sotto said he wants to check on the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee about the status of the resolution filed seeking to probe the alleged irregularities in the said P60 million advertisement deal and because the Tulfo brothers remain firm in refusing to refund the payment.

“I’ll talk to them. I’ll talk to the Chairman, and find out what’s brewing in the committee. There must be other reasons. That’s why the committee in Congress step in,” the Senate President said.

The issue started when the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the P60 million released by DOT as placement fee to PTV’s program “Kilos Pronto” due to lack of necessary documents. An issue on conflict of interest followed because the deal was done under the administration of Teo, a sister of Ben and Erwin.

Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is brewing a complaint against the Tulfo brothers.

“Unang una, kaya nga ninakaw iyan dahil walang planong ibigay. So doon na lang iyan sa plunder case magkakaalaman,” Trillanes said.

Teo earlier defended her brothers saying they had no hand in the said placement deal. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo

 

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Lacson to file resolution seeking vote of confidence on SP Sotto

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Senator Panfilo Lacson has drafted a resolution that aimed at assuring that Senate President Vicente Sotto III will keep his leadership in the Upper Chamber of Congress.

He said the idea came from Senator Manny Pacquiao.

“Actually, the idea was originally proposed by Sen Manny Pacquiao. The resolution to be routed is about a vote of confidence in the leadership of SP Sotto,” Lacson said.

He added that this move was prompted by the “insinuations made by Senators-elect Marcos and Tolentino for a leadership change for whatever motives they have — whether it’s posturing to get their desired committee chairmanships or serious attempts to elect a new Senate leader.”

Even Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had also refused to further comment on the issue that floats the name of Senator Cynthia Villar in the Senate presidency.

“I won’t comment on the push for Senator Villar by the newly elected senators as I’m close to both Villar and Sotto. However, my last conversation with Tita Cynthia was that she was not interested. And, yes, I will sign the Manifesto for SP Sotto,” Zubiri said.

Villar had earlier on signified that she has no interest on the said position.

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

The minority, on the other hand, said they are not going to meddle on the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the selection of the Senate President is in the hands of the majority bloc. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2019

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

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7.6% increase in foreign tourist arrivals for Q1 2019, encouraging sign for Phl tourism — DOT

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

Chinese tourists flock to the newly rehabilitated Boracay island.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has announced the record-high international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of the year, underscoring that it is an encouraging sign that Philippine tourism is on the right track.

In its Facebook post on Thursday, May 9, the DOT reported that “the country welcomed 2,204,564 foreign visitors in the first three months of 2019, reflecting a 7.59 percent rise from last year’s 2,049,094 over the same period.”

It quoted Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat saying, “The DOT is working on enhancing our tourism products and tourism infrastructure to entice tourists to choose the Philippines as their next destination.”

The report showed that South Korea remains as the top source market with 519,584 tourist arrivals compared to last year’s 477,087.

It was followed by the Chinese market ranking second with 463,804 total visitors, 24.87 percent higher than the previous year’s tally of 371,429.

Taiwanese visitors also grew to 77,908 from 59,877 in 2018, presenting the highest percentage increase of 30.11 percent for the period in review.

American visitors came next in the ranking with 293,780, up by 3.10 percent from last year.

Completing the top 12 markets for the three-month period are: Japan, 177,769; Taiwan, 77,908; Australia, 73,147; Canada, 72,352; United Kingdom, 53,402; Singapore, 39,484; Malaysia, 37,651; India, 36,275; and Germany, 33,725.

The report also highlighted that for March numbers alone, the DOT reports a visitor arrival of 714,309 or an 11.13 percent growth versus the same month last year.

Notably, France entered the top 12 for the month of March, posting 10,715 visitors, a 26.21 percent growth from last year’s March tally of 8,489.

The “balikbayans” or the visiting Philippine passport-holders permanently residing abroad (not including overseas Filipino workers) totaled 14,610 as of March.

Sec. Puyat highlighted “that the rehabilitated Boracay Island, touted as a model of sustainable tourism development, has attracted a growing number of visitors since reopening in October last year.”

The DOT chief also attributed the upward trend in tourist arrivals to the country’s improved connectivity.  –/mbmf

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