Sotto: No need to railroad federalism efforts after Bangsamoro Organic Law approval

admin   •   July 19, 2018   •   3737

 

 

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_080717_TITO SEN

FILE PHOTO: Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III

 

MANILA, Philippines — The proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law hurdles the scrutiny of the bicameral conference committee following the reconciliation of all its sensitive and contentious provisions on Wednesday (July 18).

And with the expected enactment of the proposal, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the Congress will no longer need to railroad the efforts for the shift to federalism.

During a weekly press briefing at the Senate, Sotto noted that the proposed organic law could be a good test case to see if a federal type of government would work in the country.

“Magandang experimental itong Bangsamoro Organic Act. Dito makikita natin kaya hindi natin kailangang apurahin yung federalism,” Sotto said.

The measure seeking to create a Bangsamoro entity that aims to help attain lasting peace in Mindanao is expected to be ratified by the Congress on July 23.

President Duterte is expected to sign the bill into law on the same day when he delivers his third State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Sotto added that in the two years of the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Act, the public would be able to weigh in if it is effective or not.

He said that the Congress can always repeal the law if it fails to cease the hostilities. But if it turns out positive, it would not be hard to push for charter change.

Sotto admitted that for now, he is not keen to push for the immediate passage of the proposed federal charter as it contains issues that need to be thoroughly scrutinized.

These include the proposed political party system, putting up of a democracy fund and the anti-political dynasty.

“Maraming debatable issues pa,” said the Senate president.

The Senate leader plans to call for a caucus after the SONA on Monday (July 23) to get his fellow senators’ take on the proposed constitutional revisions. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

Sotto, Lacson want fresh probe into alleged PhilHealth corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   July 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday said a fresh investigation should be conducted into the alleged corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) following the resignation of one of its officers.

“There must be a full blown Senate investigation. Allegations and denials abound therefore diligence is necessary,” Sotto said in a statement.

“Where there is smoke, there is fire!” he added.

Lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith resigned from his post in PhilHealth citing “widespread corruption” in the agency as one of his reasons for quitting. He also said in his resignation letter that the mandatory payment of PhilHealth contribution by overseas Filipinos workers was “unconstitutional” and against his personal values to let OFWs “pay for the spillages” of the agency.

He also claimed that there is rampant and patent unfairness in the agency’s promotion process, and that his salary and hazard pay has not been on time since he started investigating Philhealth officers as its “anti-fraud legal officer.”

According to Senator Panfilo Lacson, he is now drafting a resolution seeking for an inquiry into the issue.

“I am now drafting a resolution calling for a Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry. As expressed by SP Sotto to me last night, this inquiry will be one of the Senate’s top agenda after our session resumes on Monday,” Lacson said in a separate statement.

Reports quoting sources said that corruption claims were the topic of an online meeting that led to a shouting match between Philhealth officials on Thursday evening.

“That such corruption occurred amid the COVID-19 crisis makes it more disgusting and abominable,” Lacson said.

“Nakakasuya na sobra. Needless to say, there is urgency that the Senate has to act on the matter immediately, as part of its oversight mandate, having passed the Universal Health Law,” he added.

Last year, the Senate launched a probe into alleged conflict of interest between PhilHealth and the Department of Health. The investigation also covered DOH contracts that went to pharmaceutical firms owned by relatives of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales earlier denied claims of widespread corruption in the agency and called on Keith to substantiate his allegations. He also said that Keith only raised the issue after his application for another post at the agency was turned down.

Morales also denied the alleged resignation of two other PhilHealth officers due to corruption allegations. He said his head executive assistant resigned to pursue his doctoral studies while a corporate counsel denied any news of quitting his post. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Robredo, Sotto, Cayetano get higher satisfaction ratings in Q4 2019 – SWS

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2020

(L-R) Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – The net satisfaction ratings of Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano rose in the last quarter of 2019, based on the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released on Tuesday, March 3.

The survey, conducted from December 13 to 16, 2019, revealed that 59% were satisfied and 23% were dissatisfied with the performance of Robredo.

Robredo’s rating increased by three points for a “good” +36, an improvement from her previous +33 in September 2019.

Meanwhile, Sotto got a “very good” +62 net satisfaction rating after 73% of the respondents said they were satisfied with his performance as Senate President while 10% expressed dissatisfaction.

Sotto’s rating is one-point higher than his previous +61 in September 2019.

Cayetano also got a “very good” +53 rating as 67% of respondents said they were satisfied with his performance while 15% said they were not satisfied.

The House Speaker’s score is up by four points from his previous rating of +49.

The survey also showed that 40% of respondents were satisfied with the work of Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta while 19% said they were dissatisfied.

Peralta’s first net satisfaction rating was a “moderate” +21, the SWS said. He assumed the post in October last year.

The December 2019 survey also revealed that the net satisfaction rating of the Senate stayed “very good” +62 which is up from +56 in September; while the House of Representatives climbed from “good” to “very good” +51 from the previous +43.

The Supreme Court’s net satisfaction rating also remained “good” +49, up from +41 in September while the Cabinet as a whole stayed “good” at +45 rating, a 10-point increase from its previous +35 rating.

The Fourth Quarter 2019 SWS Survey was conducted from December 13-16, 2019 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.

DILG mapping out ways to help in BARMM transition process

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte inspects the decommissioned firearms from the former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front during their decommissioning at the Old Provincial Capitol Compound in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on September 7, 2019. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday said it is currently mapping out ways on how to effectively provide technical assistance to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) as it undergoes transition.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año assured his department will provide assistance to the interim regional government of BARMM especially police support for the maintenance of peace and order as it undergoes the normalization phase.

“We have prepared a road map on how best we can assist the BARMM. We want to help in meeting the objectives of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and that is to allow the Bangsamoro to have a meaningful self-governance within the framework of the Constitution and territorial integrity of the country,” he said.

“We will make sure that the DILG exercises judiciously its general supervision over BARMM,” he added.

The DILG said normalization is the process through which communities affected by the decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao can return to social life and pursue sustainable development livelihoods free from fear of violence and crime.

“The DILG will see to it that we implement what the law mandates, particularly the BOL, which says that the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall create a Police Regional Office in BARMM for the primary purpose of law enforcement and maintenance of peace and order,” Año said.

“We shall also see to it that members of the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front shall be admitted to the police force within five years of the BOL’s ratification,” he added.

Last Saturday (Sept. 7), President Rodrigo Duterte witnessed the decommissioning of more than 900 guns and 1,060 combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

During the decommissioning rites as part of a peace treaty, Duterte urged the MILF to set aside differences and avoid further conflict with the government.

He also provided socio-economic assistance to decommissioned MILF fighters and assured support for former Moro rebels’ transition to civilian life

DILG chief Año hailed the MILF’s sincerity in the peace agreement with the government.

“I am honored to witness the realization of peace in Muslim Mindanao that seemed elusive and bleak in the past decades. The clamor before was to give peace a chance,” he said.

“Now, we can finally move on to the development phase of the region for its people to catch up with the rest of the country,” he added.

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