VP Robredo explains use of a private plane

admin   •   August 4, 2016   •   3199

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo addressed issues surrounding a photo of her standing beside a private plane, which has gone viral in social media

According to VP Leni, a Rotary Club rented the plane for her because the bus that she was supposed to take got into an accident and there was not enough time to buy a plane ticket.

Since she already committed to the event that she was supposed to go to, the vice president decided to take the offer of a private plane.

“Pero I think hindi maiiwasan in the course of our work na talagang gagamit ng private plane. Whether kami babayad ng rent, or may babayad for us. Kasi marami talagang okasyong kailangan mo dito at this particular place tapos kailangan mo dito sa hapon tapos wala namang flight. Tingin ko, wala namang masama, mangyayari at mangyayari iyon. Basta hindi mo lang palaging ginagawa,” explained Robredo. (UNTV News & Rescue)

PET orders Comelec, SolGen to comment on Robredo-Marcos poll protest

Robie de Guzman   •   September 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on the bid of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos to nullify the election results in three provinces in Mindanao.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the PET ordered the Comelec to submit in 20 days its comment on issues related to annulment of elections in connection with Marcos’ third cause of action in his electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, which is the annulment of election results in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao due to alleged terrorism, intimidation, voter harassment and pre-shading of ballots.

The tribunal also directed the poll body and the OSG to comment on whether the PET has the power to declare the annulment of elections without special elections; and the failure of elections and order the conduct of special elections.

The PET likewise asked the Comelec and the OSG whether the tribunal’s declaration of failure of elections, and an order for special elections, will violate the poll body’s mandate under the constitution.

The tribunal also ordered the poll body to report to the justices if petitions for failure of elections were filed in the three Mindanao provinces; if the petitions were granted or denied and if special elections were held in the said areas, and the results of these special elections.

It likewise directed that the Comelec and the OSG be furnished copies of its Oct. 15, 2019 resolution and of the separate memoranda submitted by camps of Robredo and Marcos on the said resolution.

In a statement, Robredo’s camp welcomed the development, saying it will help fast-track the resolution of the election protest.

“We will comply with the High Tribunal’s order and wait for the comments of the Commission on Elections and the Solicitor General on the pending matters,” said lawyer Beng Sardillo, Robredo’s counsel.

“We fully believe that the High Tribunal will uphold Vice President Leni Robredo’s victory as seen in the 2016 results and in the recount of ballots. In 2016, our lead was 263,473 votes. And after the recount, our lead increased to 278,566 votes,” Sardillo added.

Marcos’ camp, on the other hand, views the order “with extreme reservation,” as it added “another layer that would cause tremendous delay” in referring the matter to Comelec and the OSG.

Marcos’ spokesperson, lawyer Vic Rodriguez said their protest is under real threat of becoming moot and academic because there is a very thin time left in the term of the contested position.

“May threat na po ang aming election protest na maging moot and academic sapagkat nariyan na po sa paligid ang events of 2022 (elections), nalalapit na po yung filing of candidacy nariyan na po yung campaign period and eventually the conduct of national election,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Robredo urges DepEd to realign budget to fund blended learning, address health concerns

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to realign the items in its budget to finance the distance learning program and respond to the needs of teachers and students as the country shifts to a blending learning system amid the pandemic.

In a letter dated August 10 addressed to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, Robredo said the department must realign its P29-billion budget for rehabilitation of school buildings to procure gadgets and other equipment for distance learning and hazard pay for teachers.

“Around P29.5 billion was earmarked for the rehabilitation of school buildings for 2020. Given the shift to distance learning, many of these school buildings will be left without children to occupy them, thus deprioritizing the need for the rehabilitation of physical spaces,” she said.

“This amount can be used to procure the needed gadget and equipment for distance learning as well as address the health concerns of educators,” she added.

Robredo also noted that 61% or around 14 million households do not have access to the internet, adding that 74% or some 34,700 schools do not have the infrastructure to engage in online learning.

“While we understand that the department has set up the DepEd Commons learning platform for students to access lessons on their worn, we have received reports that only 7 million students have so far subscribed to this platform,” she said.

“This constitutes only 35% of the estimated 20 million public school students in the country,” she added.

Aside from access to internet connection and self-learning modules, Robredo also called on DepEd to protect the health and safety of educators by conducting mass testing, with testing and distribution of results done before classes start; providing sufficient fund for physical check-up and medicine; providing supplies such as personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, among others; distributing hazard pay on time, and; establishing a system for the health and wellness needs of the teachers.

She said such initiatives can be funded by realigning DepEd’s P700 million budget allotted for teachers’ trainings.

“Many of these trainings have already, or will be, shifted to online modalities, thus freeing up resources that would otherwise have been used for travel and accommodations,” Robredo said.

“Rest assured that we understand the complexity of the challenges before us. We submit these insights and recommendations in the spirit of solidarity so that we may all, as one nation, build the better normal that our people deserve,” she added.

In response to the vice president’s recommendations, Briones said they cannot just make any significant realignment in their budget without consulting the Department of Budget and Management.

She also said they have allotted P9 billion fund for the reproduction of modules and that these have been forwarded to DepEd regional and division offices.

Briones likewise assured they have laid out programs to ensure the safety and health of educators as she reiterated that no face-to-face classes will be implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been paying hazard pay before COVID-19 for teachers who are in places na malayo ang sasakyan, malayo sa urban area. May standard kasi yan,” she said.

“Ulitin ko walang face-to-face until hangga’t walang vaccine yun ang sinasabi ni president; therefore, the teachers will not be exposed as a result of teaching. If they will be exposed, there might be other causes,” she added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Albay evacuates residents as Typhoon ‘Ambo’ threatens Bicol, Samar areas

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Albay on Thursday ordered the evacuation of vulnerable residents ahead of the onslaught of Typhoon Ambo (international name: VongFong).

The regional Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said families and individuals living in low-lying, coastal, mountainous, flood- and landslide-prone areas, and within the 6-kilometer permanent danger zone of Mayon volcano will be prioritized in the evacuation.

The OCD added that residents near Mayon volcano channels, including in Barangay Miisi, Binaan, Anoling, Quirangay, Maninila, Masarawag, Muladbucad, Nasisi, Mabinit, Matan-ag, and Basud will also ve evacuated.

OCD-Region 5 chief of operations Akim Berces said local disaster councils have been advised to strictly follow evacuation and health protocols under the community quarantine to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while carrying out evacuation efforts.

“Nagi-evacuate na po tayo as early as now, para po ma-practice natin yung minimum health standards na kailangan sa COVID-19,” Berces said.

Local disaster offices have also been advised to use other evacuation centers that are not being utilized as quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients.

“Hindi nila gagamitin yung quarantine facilities for this evacuation para kay Ambo… nakahiwalay po talaga siya. ‘Yung sa COVID-19, sa COVID-19 lang, ‘yung sa evacuation center, doon po lang din,” Berces said.

As of posting time, heavy rains and strong winds brought about by ‘Ambo’ have begun lashing parts of Bicol and Samar.

As of 12:15 p.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that Typhoon Ambo has made landfall over San Policarpio, Eastern Samar.

PAGASA said ‘Ambo’ may bring heavy to intense with at times torrential rains over Samar Provinces, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes.

Moderate to heavy with at times intense rains will be felt in Albay, Camarines Sur, and the rest of Eastern Visayas.

In its 11 a.m. update, Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) no. 3 was raised over Sorsogon, Albay, and Ticao Island, Northern Samar, northern portions of Eastern Samar, and Samar. (note: Pagasa said this is still valid for broadcast until 2 pm)

TCWS no. 2 was raised over the southern part of Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Burias Island, mainland Masbate, and Marinduque; Biliran, the rest of Samar and Eastern Samar.

Meanwhile, TCWS no. 1 was hoisted over Aurora, southern portion of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, the rest of Quezon, Romblon, Bataan, and Pampanga; and the northern portion of Leyte. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Allan Manansala)


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