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Senators urge change in bidding process for MRT maintenance system

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, November 17th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines — Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III is not buying the idea of stopping or suspending the operation of MRT Line-3 just to give way for assessment and repair works.

“The public will suffer once you close [the operation.] As I was telling you, the problem is with the maintenance. If the [provider] is diligent and the maintenance work is [always] in full blast, those errors would not happen,” said Sotto.

For his part, Senator Gringo Honasan believes that aside from failure in the maintenance system, another problem is the government’s poor bidding process which hinders it from getting high-quality and reliable services.

“The President is right when he said the bidding process is one of the mothers or the sister of corruption. You get the lowest [bid] but you sacrifice the quality,” said Honasan.

The two senators believe the current state of the MRT trains and services cannot be accounted to the present administration only or to transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

“It’s a problem of cumulative errors in policy decisions. This is not the fault of a single administration,” said Honasan.

“He [Duterte] inherited a number of problems from the mismanagement of his predecessors,” said Sotto.

According to Sotto, the MRT problems are likely to be discussed in Senate once it resumes its deliberation on the request to grant emergency powers to the Duterte administration.

The proposed emergency power is now on second reading in the upper chamber of Congress. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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Senate minority to push for suspension of excise tax

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

PASAY CITY, Philipppines – The Senate minority will file a resolution on Wednesday (October 10) to seek the suspension of the implementation of excise tax under the new tax reform law of the Duterte administration.

The resolution will be filed this afternoon by Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Kiko Pangilinan and Bam Aquino among others.

Meanwhile, the Senate considered it a welcome development that President Rodrigo Duterte is considering to suspend the excise tax on petroleum products come January next year.

Senator Aquino hopes the President will push it for next year while Senator Panfilo Lacson expressed favor to the President’s pronouncement.

“Umaasa po kami na kayang magkaisa ang iba’t ibang partido sa gobyerno upang magkatotoo ang suspension ng excise tax at bawasan ang presyo ng petrolyo,” Aquino said.

“Hindi pa naman ito ginagawa, hindi pa ito move pero maganda at least coming from him kino-consider niyang i-suspend. Because meron ngang provision doon na kapag nag-hit na ng US$80 per barrel dapat talaga i-suspend. Kaya lang sa bicam napalitan ng hindi absolute,” Lacson said.

Lacson added, however, that it is still best to wait the decision of the Chief Executive on the call to suspend the excise tax on oil products. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo

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Dalian trains to go on simulation run prior to 2018 debut

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Railway engineers from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), MRT-3, the Philippines National Railways, and CRRC Dalian recently convened to discuss the conduct of a simulation run of Dalian trains this October.

The said test run aims to review the reliability and compatibility of Dalian trains before officially hitting the tracks by the end of the year.

The MRT management, meanwhile, assured that the simulation run will not affect the MRT-3’s regular train services.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade previously said that they plan to inaugurate the official operation of the 48 Dalian trains before the end of 2018 only if they pass safety and security standards. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Joan Nano)

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SONA 2018: Accomplishments in Duterte’s 2nd SONA

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his second state of the nation address (SONA) on July 24, 2017.

War on Drugs

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon during the pre-SONA forum on July 17 said from July 1, 2016 up to June 30 this year, the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign has accomplished the following:

• more than 1.2 million drug personalities;
• arrest of 49,265 persons;
• 4,540 drug lords and pushers who resisted arrest were neutralized.
• 18,388 barangays (of the 29,749 drug-affected barangays) were declared drug free
• 208,000 drug surrenderers rehabilitated
• PHP13.5 billion worth of drugs, shabu, related substances in 2017 seized

(source: www.pna.gov)

Land Use Act

The House of Representatives already approved on May 2, 2017, its version of the NaLUA bill, or House Bill No. 5240 (An Act Instituting a National Land Use and Management Policy, Providing the Implementing Mechanisms, and Appropriating Funds Therefor).

Five NaLUA bills have been filed in the Senate. But to date, no consolidated bill has been drafted and no Senate committee discussions of the bills have been held. (source:www.neda.gov.ph)

New agency on disaster response

As of July 2018, the Cabinet approved the bill establishing the Department of Disaster Resilience.

The House committees on government reorganization and national defense and security jointly approved a motion creating a technical working group for the consolidation of eight bills seeking to create an independent agency focused on the country’s disaster preparedness and emergency management.

Passage of Death Penalty bill

The law reinstating the death penalty remains stalled in the Senate since April 2017, after it did not appear to have enough votes to pass.

Stop irresponsible mining

President Duterte in July this year launched mining crackdown, sustained existing ban on open-pit mining and mulled total ban in 2019.

TRO on RH Law

The Supreme Court’s two-year temporary restraining order on contraceptive implants still in effect.

Education System

DeEd reported that a total of 26.3 million learners received formal education and registered 641, 584 Alternative Learning System enrollments.

Enacted the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education or the Free Tuition Act

Return of a national heritage

The return to the Philippines of the Balangiga bells is only waiting for the signature of US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Manila ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez on July 19 (Thursday).

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