VP Robredo commemorates 3rd Marawi Siege anniversary

Maris Federez   •   May 23, 2020   •   437

FILE PHOTO: Community leaders survey damaged houses and buildings inside war-torn Marawi, Philippines January 13, 2018. REUTERS/Tom Allard

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday issued a statement commemorating the harrowing events of the Marawi Siege.

“Today, we mark the third anniversary of the Marawi Siege. To this day, the city lies in ruins, and its people’s lives are frozen in time. Many of its residents remain in temporary shelter communities,” Robredo said.

The vice president recalled how the city of Marawi has been suffering “even as we all face the challenges brought about by COVID-19.”

She recounts how events bring people to connect as one.

“The ongoing crisis should have by now made us realize: The suffering of one redounds to the suffering of all. Magkakarugtong ang diwa at pamumuhay ng bawat Pilipino. Ang hamon sa isa ay hamon sa lahat; ang pagpapabaya sa isa ay pagpapabaya sa lahat; ang ginhawa at pag-angat ng mga nasa laylayan ay pag-angat ng lahat. Healing requires the entire nation to bring its resources to bear,” Robredo articulated.

“Let us also remember that temporary shelter communities pose an even more profound challenge given the virality of COVID-19. Any outbreak in these tightly-packed communities will increase the risk for all of us, and affect a public health system that is already under tremendous strain,” she added.

The vice president also touched on the forthcoming celebration of the Muslim holiday, Eid’l Fitr.

“A few days from now, we will celebrate Eid’l Fitr, a Muslim holiday whose message of compassion and inclusiveness should resonate with every Filipino regardless of creed. Three years of inaction and neglect in Marawi is a thousand days too long,” she said.

She also appealed on concerned authorities to fast track their actions to extend help to the people of Marawi.

“We call on all concerned agencies to accelerate their actions while exercising full transparency. Marawi is not merely a tragedy to be remembered; it is an ongoing problem that needs to be solved,” the vice president concluded. — /mbmf

2GO waives P35-M rental fee for quarantine ships

Maris Federez   •   April 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Business tycoon Dennis Uy has clarified that the use of the shipping and logistics company 2Go’s vessels was offered to the government as a donation to be used as COVID-19 quarantine facilities for the repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

In a statement, Uy said he consulted with the company’s shareholders and they have decided to waive the rental.

“As Chairman of 2GO, I have conferred with other shareholders and have given explicit instructions to waive the PhP35M expected payment from the government,” Uy said.

He added that it was the Department of Transportation (DOTr) who offered to pay them P35-million as a lease on the two vessels but the company has no intention of accepting such payment.

DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade, on Wednesday (April 22), said that the contracted rental fee for the two-month use of the two vessels is P35-million.

“Ito nirerentahan ng gobyerno yung dalawa ng 35 million mura naman yan at nagamit if you will compute it on the basis of bed space and use,” Tugade said.

This roused the ire of netizens for the seemingly unjust charges that the company imposed on the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uy, in turn, apologized for the apparent misunderstanding and immediately clarified the matter further.

“Again, I apologize if this news has unduly offended some of our fellow Filipinos. So let me be clear. 2GO is providing two vessels to serve as quarantine facilities free of charge to the Filipino people,” Uy said.

“The PhP35 million was an offer made by the DOTr, for which we had no plans of accepting,” he added.

Meanwile, DOTr Asec. Goddes Hope Libiran said the P35-million rental was initially agreed upon in a negotiation of the agency with the shipping company. Uy, however, was not part of the 2Go team that they entered the contract with.

“There was a negotiation. To be clear, Mr. Uy was never part of any of the discussion. No actual payment of rent has been made by the government to 2GO Group Inc, as it was Sec. Tugade’s intention to talk with the principal of 2GO to ask for concessions,” Libiran said.

Libiran was also quick to clarify that up to this date, no payment has been settled yet with the company.

“Until that happens, and up to now, no payment has been made,” she said.

The business tycoon’s statement, on the other hand, further said that the actual operating cost for the two ships is at P260-million which the company decided to waive as their goal was to be of help to the government by way of rendering their services as a donation.

“To set the record the straight actual cost to operate the 2 vessels as quarantine facilities is at PHP260M. But this was intended to be a donation. The PHP35M was an offer made by the DOTr for which we had no plans of accepting,” the 2Go chairman reiterated.

Uy added that he believes this is the right moment for the government and the private sector to work hand-in-hand and sacrifice for the welfare of the Filipinos. —(from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

Malacañang on Robredo: ‘She only wants the spotlight’

Marje Pelayo   •   December 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo straightforwardly accused Vice President Leni Robredo of just wanting the “spotlight” when she called for a press briefing on Monday (December 16).

Robredo was supposed to reveal what she claims as discoveries that she made about the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign along with her recommendations to improve it.

But the Vice President decided to postpone her announcement because of the recent earthquake in the Mindanao Region.

Yesterday, Panelo questioned Robredo for deferring the announcement.

But the Vice President’s camp countered by accusing Palace officials of lacking compassion for the victims of the earthquake because they are more curious about her report than attending to the needs of the victims.

But according to Secretary Panelo, Robredo “only wants the spotlight.”

“She has deferred her report a number of times, looking for a perfect timing and hoping that people would pay attention to her as she struggles to be relevant, while the government is silently doing its job in addressing the issues our nation faces, such as providing assistance to those who were affected by the recent earthquake,” Panelo said.

The Palace official stressed that whatever Robredo says against the administration’s anti-drug campaign, the government will still address the needs of the earthquake victims as it is mandated to. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

VP Robredo no significant contribution to PH anti-drug war – PDEA Chief

Marje Pelayo   •   December 12, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has contributed nothing significant to the country’s anti-drug campaign, according to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Chief Aaron Aquino.

This, despite Robredo’s brief appointment as co-chair of the Interagency Committee on Anti-Drugs (ICAD).

“She did not in any way supervise our people down there in the fields,” Aquino said.

“So I guess wala namang nabago o wala namang dapat glaring issues na makikita natin na talagang bumababa ang krimen o bumababa ang accomplishments natin sa drugs,” he added.

Aquino believes that Robredo could have understood the state and the scope of the illegal drug menace in the country if she had met with the different clusters of ICAD before she proceeded to establishing international connections such as with the US Embassy and the United Nations officials.

Aquino said, the Vice President only met with the enforcement cluster during her stay in ICAD.

“Should she met the four clusters, mas magiging malaki ang kaniyang scope of knowledge kung ano ang drug situation ng Pilipinas, Aquino noted.

“And maybe after meeting the four clusters, sana kung mayroon man siyang ma-i-implement na program or strategy to strengthen the ICAD, sana nagawa,” the PDEA Director General said.

Robredo’s camp, meanwhile, advised her critics to wait for the release of her recommendations and her own report on the status of the drug situation in the country.

“She’ll deliver (her) report soon. I suggest we just wait for that,” her spokesman. Atty. Barry Gutierrez said.

President Rodrigo Duterte sacked Robredo as the anti-drug czar for her ‘missteps’ in handling her position. The PDEA together with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) is now working on the creation of an official database of drug pushers and user in the country which is expected to be released in 2020. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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