Senators plan to increase Defense Department’s intel fund

admin   •   September 14, 2017   •   3578


MANILA, Philippines — The proposed intelligence fund of the Department of National Defense (DND) for 2018 is 1.5 billion pesos.

Some senators noticed that the amount would not suffice for the Defense Department’s efforts to fight terrorism, insurgency, as well as in gathering information, and for the purchase of equipment.

“That’s not enough because we really need to buy more intelligence information. It would not really suffice,” said Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the additional amount of 500 million pesos for Project Tokhang is even bigger than the P250-million additional budget allotted to the DND.

With this, the senators plan to increase the intelligence fund of the Defense Department.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza said that last year, they asked for a P530-million increase in their budget, but that they were given P250-million only.

“I think in the amount allocated to us, we only have an interest of P250-million over last year is always sufficient for us that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will use. We are not asking them to realign the budget. But it’s up to them,” said Lorenzana.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año clarified that they have not monitored any threat of destabilization against the Duterte administration contrary to what Senator Antonio Trillanes claims.

Based on information gathered by Sen. Trillanes, a retired general is spreading a report on the alleged recruitment of soldiers of another former soldier and now a known politician. The recruitment, Trillanes claims, is for the conduct of a coup d’etat against the Duterte administration.

“Our armed forces are professional enough and we have constantly, so far Sir we have not monitored any destabilization move of any politician or personalities,” said the official. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

Economic, infra clusters to hold pre-2020 SONA forum this week

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte government’s economic development and infrastructure Cabinet clusters are set to present the administration’s plans for recovery and resilience in the face of the coronavirus-induced headwinds this year at the first pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) forum to be held this week.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said that the forum titled, “Regaining Momentum, Accelerating Recovery in a Post COVID-19 World,” will be held virtually on July 8.

Hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office and Office of the Cabinet Secretary, the forum will be streamed live on the Facebook pages of the Radio Television Malacañang, and other government agencies.

Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino II said this year’s pre-SONA forum will be different as the audience will be “purely virtual,” due to limitations on mass gathering amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We do hope that our citizens will be able to tune in as the country’s top decision makers discuss our path to a quick and strong recovery from this crisis,” he said.

In the forum, the DOF said that top economic and infrastructure officials are also expected to report on the state of the Philippine economy, as well as the government’s ongoing efforts to leverage on its strong fundamentals in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar will present performance updates and priority plans, respectively, on the economic and infrastructure fronts.

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua will speak on the Philippine Economic Recovery Program.

“The audience can expect Secretary Dominguez to delve deeper into the challenges we’re facing right now, the accomplishments in the previous year that we can build on, and the legislative proposals that the economic team submitted for Congress to consider,” Lambino said.

Meanwhile, updates on the monetary, external, and financial sectors will be discussed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno.

Pre-SONA forums are held annually to discuss in greater detail the achievements of the government in the previous year and the priorities of the Cabinet cluster heads in the run-up to the President’s SONA on July 27.

Duterte administration gets ‘excellent’ net satisfaction rating in Q4 2019 – SWS

Robie de Guzman   •   March 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration’s net satisfaction rating from the public has risen to “excellent,” according to the fourth quarter 2019 survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released on Friday.

The survey, which was conducted from December 13 to 16, 2019, showed that 81% of the 1,200 adult respondents expressed satisfaction with the general performance of the Duterte administration, 12% were undecided, while 7% were not satisfied.

The pollster said the rating, which it classifies as “excellent,” is up by six points from the “very good” +67 in September 2019. It also matches the record-high excellent +73 that the current administration earned in June 2019.

“The 6-point rise in the National Administration’s overall net satisfaction rating was due to increases in all areas,” the SWS said.

Out of the 16 specific performance subjects rated, the SWS said the Duterte administration got “very good” rating on seven subjects: Helping the poor (+64), Fighting terrorism (+61), Providing information needed by the citizens to properly examine what the government is doing (+58), Having clear policies (+56), Developing a healthy economy (+53), Reconciling with Muslim rebels (+51), and Protecting the freedom of the press (+50).

Meanwhile, It received “good” rating on: Fighting crimes (+49), Reconciling with communist rebels (+48), Foreign relations (+47), Acting according to what the people want (+45), Defending Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea (+32), and Eradicating graft and corruption (+31).

It was moderate on: Ensuring that no family will ever be hungry (+29), Recovering the ”hidden wealth” stolen by Marcos and his cronies (+25), and Fighting inflation (+12).

The SWS found that net satisfaction with the Duterte administration rose from very good to excellent in class D and Eracking up a +74 excellent rating in December 2019.

However, it fell from excellent to very good in class ABC, down from +78 in September to +68 in December.

Compared to September 2019, net satisfaction with the National Administration rose from very good to excellent for the rest of the basic demographics, except among 45 to 54-year old people where it stayed very good, and among high school graduates where it stayed excellent.

The SWS said the satisfaction rating of the general performance of the National Administration is based on a single question, and is not an average of answers to separate questions on specific subjects. 

“The general rating is repeated every quarter, whereas only a core of the specific subject-ratings are repeated. Subjects are included or excluded depending on their contemporary salience,” the pollster added.

The SWS said the fourth Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide.

Please visit the link for additional information about the survey.

US Sen. Durbin renews call for De Lima’s release from detention

Robie de Guzman   •   January 9, 2020

US Senator Richard Durbin

MANILA, Philippines – United States Senator Richard Durbin renewed his call for the Duterte administration to release detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima, saying this is an “easy and honorable way forward.”

In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, Durbin urged the Philippine government to give De Lima a quick and credible trial instead of threatening the travel of Americans with visa requirements.

“The Duterte regime should stop threatening the travel of Americans and so many others who travel between our nations, and instead ensure a quick and credible trial for Senator de Lima or simply do the right thing and release her,” he said.

Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said the Philippine government would require all Americans to secure a visa before entering the country should the US government enforce the ban on Filipino officials said to be involved in De Lima’s detention.

The Philippine government also ordered the Bureau of Immigration to deny entry to Durbin and Senator Patrick Leahy.

It was Leahy and Durbin who pushed for the inclusion of a provision in the US 2020 budget banning the entry of Philippine officials linked to the detention of the Filipino senator.

Another American senator, Edward Markey, has also been banned from entering the Philippines for filing a resolution calling for De Lima’s release.

De Lima, one of Duterte administration’s fierce critics, has been detained since 2017 over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade while she was Justice Secretary. She has repeatedly denied the charges.

Panelo reiterated that De Lima’s detention was not a case of political persecution, insisting that the senator was afforded due process and that there is a “probable cause” to issue a warrant for her arrest. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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