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    New police chief to discipline the Philippine National Police

    April 21st, 2018

    By Rose Anne Dela Cruz

    Incoming Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde makes his acceptance speech during change of command ceremonies on Thursday, April 19./RTVM/

    THE newly-installed Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde on Thursday vowed to maintain low-key but stern discipline to the 196,000 strong police force he will lead in the next 19 months.

    The former National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, made the vow while delivering his inaugural address during the Change of Command Ceremony in Camp Crame.

    Albayalde replaced Ronald Dela Rosa, who retired upon reaching the age of retirement and who will now be the chief jail guard as he was appointed director of the Bureau of Corrections, the government institution that has jurisdiction over the New Bilibid Prisons, the national penitentiary.

    Aside from disciplining the ranks, Albayalde said his leadership will also focus on reform and internal cleansing, intensified campaign against Criminality and illegal drugs, practical program for crime prevention and suppression and strengthen public engagement.

    Albayalde, who is known for the discipline he imposed on his men at the NCRPO where he was chief for 20 months, said the PNP should earn the trust of the people who pays its expenses.

    “If we want to win the trust of the Filipino people who pays our salary– which the President doubled recently– we will serve with all honesty, honor and integrity,” says Albayalde adding that he will set high expectations for performance, but he will be fair and just.

    Meanwhile, on Friday, a day after taking an oath, Albayalde disclosed that under his leadership, promotions will be solely based on seniority, merit and competence.

    He said the Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board, complemented by an oversight committee will ensure keen observance to his policy of placing the right person for the job, according to the institutional standards set by the organization.

    At the same time, Albayalde said the practice of surprise inspection of police units will continue under his leadership.

    “As much as I enjoy conducting surprise inspections, I may not be able to reach all of our 2,766 police stations nationwide,” he said adding that this is why aside from their regular duties, he ordered all provincial and city directors to conduct these surprise inspections to regularly assess the readiness of ground forces.

    Moreover, he also stressed that the oversight committee will also regularly evaluate the performance of all commanders on the ground including Regional Director.

    Furthermore, Albayalde said all of the new police recruits and new officers shall be required to undergo standard Special Action Force training before they get deployed in the different regions.

    While the new PNP chief display toughness, he noted that disciplined and performing cops will be awarded while “legal assistance will be provided to officers who have been charged in connection with the performance of their duties.”

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    Pasig River Ferry Service to be revived

    April 11th, 2018

    By Rose Anne Dela Cruz

    (File photo) The old Pasig Ferry 4 approaching Santa Ana, Manila Station along the Pasig River. Photo ©

    IN A bid to entice the public to use the Pasig River Ferry Service, a member of House of Representatives said more air-conditioned boats should be deployed and boat stations constructed along its 28 kilometer or 17.4 mile river route.

    At the same time, Makati City 2nd District Rep. Luis Campos Jr. lauded as a bold move Malacañang’s decision to revive the ferry service. He noted that the renewal of the service will help fight the worsening road congestion in Metro Manila.

    Malacañang found a huge potential in the Pasig River Ferry Service as an alternative mode of transportation for commuters, particularly those coming from the East side of the Metro to reach specific destinations within the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Taguig, Marikina and Quezon City.

    Campos added that the old ferry service flopped simply because the private operator digressed from the original plan to deploy 18 boats with a seating capacity of 50 each.

    In the Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program approved by President Rodrigo Duterte during the April 4 cabinet meeting, it was agreed that 17 additional stations for the Ferry Service will be constructed to make it a more reliable mode of public transportation.

    At present, the ferry service, which runs at 17 knots or 31 kilometers per hour, has 12 stations namely: Pinagbuhatan, San Joaquin, Maybunga in Pasig City; Guadalupe and Valenzuela in Makati City; Hulo in Mandaluyong City; Lambingan, Sta. Ana, PUP Sta. Mesa Campus, Lawton, Escolta, and Plaza Mexico in Manila. However, the PUP and Sta. Ana Stations are undergoing repair.

    Apart from the additional stations, the government is also planning to have 24 boats that will service an estimated 76,000 commuters per day or 19,836,000 a year.

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    State of Emergency to be declared in Boracay

    April 6th, 2018

    By Rose Anne Dela Cruz

    Boracay on a typical day. Image © ABS-CBN News

    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will declare a State of Calamity in Boracay island to assist the thousands of workers who would be displaced by the planned six-month closure of the world famous tourists spot.

    The assurance was made by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday during a press briefing in Malacañang. He said the State of Calamity would pave the way for the release of the PhP2 billion calamity fund.

    At the same time, Roque said the displacement of workers in Boracay, which is located in Aklan province, won’t be that much that not everybody need to leave the island.

    Harry Roque. Image © Presidential Communications Operations Office

    Pero hindi naman lahat ng workers ma-didisplace. Bakit? Eh ang daming trabahong kailangan gawin sa Boracay, so hindi naman sila kinakailangang umalis lahat. So siguro maiiba trabaho nila pero magkakaroon pa rin sila ng trabaho…,” Roque insists.

    Earlier, the Boracay Foundation Incorporated, a non-profit and non-stock association of entrepreneurs in the island, said over 36,000 jobs and over 17,000 employees would be directly affected by the total closure of businesses.

    Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the government has finalized livelihood programs to assist the displaced workers.

    Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre, on the other hand, said the tourism department is still computing how much revenue will it lose due to the island’s closure. Taking an optimistic view, he noted that tourism has not been affected by the earlier pronouncement of the closure plan, citing that for January to March 2018, tourist arrival even increased.

    Meantime, the Department of Interior and local Government is expecting huge income losses with the closure of Boracay.

    Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing bared that the estimated gross losses in revenue due to Borcay’s closure could reach PhP18 to PhP20 billion for the period of six months.

    “That’s why it is not to the interest of everybody to go the full six months. We have to fast track everything.” Densing said.

    He noted that in order to make this possible, all stakeholders should be part of the rehabilitation process.

    Earlier, The National Economic and Development Authority said that while the shutdown will have a minimal impact on the country’s economic growth, it can have an adverse short term impact on the local economy.

    The NEDA said the closure is estimated to only have a point one percent impact on the gross domestic product growth.

    The Inter-agency task force will conduct a working conference on Tuesday in the island to get a clearer picture of the costs and other details for the rehabilitation of Boracay.

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    PH Food Authority creating “artificial crisis” – Secretary Leoncio Evasco

    April 5th, 2018

    By Rose Anne Dela Cruz

    NATIONAL Food Authority Council Chairman Leoncio Evasco slammed the National Food Authority for statements that reportedly caused panic among rice traders and the consumers.

    Evasco issues the critique after the NFA earlier said there is no more available state-subsidized rice for market distribution.

    “There are so many voices, thereby, madly confusing the issue on rice. And creating panic on the part of the traders and consuming public of rice”, says Evasco in a palace press briefing. He further accuses the agency of creating “artificial shortage’ saying that this would eventually make the traders withdraw their rice resulting to market price hikes.

    Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco, Jr. Image © Ace Morandante/PPD

    But the former priest and communist rebel turned government bureaucrat, in an apparent admission of the rice problem, also said that given the need for the rice importation, the government will use the ‘government to private’ or G2P type of rice procurement that was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte last year.

    Earlier, President Duterte met with rice traders to appeal for consideration and fairness on the pricing of rice which is considered the staple food of the country.

    North District Office Provincial District Manager Arnel Alfonso on Tuesday confirmed that the remaining rice bags in the NFA warehouses are not for market distribution. He said the remaining rice stocks are intended only for Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) beneficiaries and the agency’s employees’ as it is their rice allowance.

    Alfonso’s confirmation prompted the NFAC to call the NFA, its executive arm, to procure more rice supplies from local farmers to address the depletion in the buffer stock.

    The NFA previously decided to temporarily discontinue issuing state-subsidized rice to accredited retailers as it wanted to prioritize distributing rice to calamity victims.

    Despite the depletion of the buffer stock, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said this should not be a cause of alarm for the public.

    “During the last NFA council meeting, it was agreed that NFA could bring in the new stocks already,” said Piñol.

    “No, walang rice shortage. There has never been rice shortage”, he stressed.

    According to the agriculture chief, the stocks which were earlier projected to arrive as late as June may come earlier.

    “I think the president will use his persuasive power to appeal to our rice traders that while he understands business and he knows the traders will have to make money, I think he will appeal that the margin of profit should be at the level that will not hurt the consumers and at the same time, that the farmers should benefit from their labor.” Piñol said

    *Video © YouTube/Rose Anne Dela Cruz

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    Loss of discipline at the PH police academy?

    March 26th, 2018

    By Rose Anne Dela Cruz / Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK

    Image © SlideShare

    THE culture of violence and revenge among the cadets of the Philippine National Police Academy must end.

    This according to PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa after learning of the mauling inside the academy grounds of the six newly graduate police inspectors by their underclassmen. He said the culture that led to the incident must stop to prevent similar occurrences from happening.

    “Dapat matigil na ang karahasan at gantihan,” Dela Rosa said.

    Dela Rosa was referring to an incident last Wednesday inside the PNPA campus when 41 underclass cadets mauled six of their seniors after graduation rites in an apparent revenge for the alleged previous manhandling they suffered.

    PNPA Director Chief Superintendent Joseph Adnol said the upperclassmen were beaten near the academy billets inside the PNPA campus at Camp Mariano Castañeda in Silang, Cavite.

    Adnol, in a belated report, said the incident happened between 4 and 5 pm. while the new officers, who belonged to the Maragtas Class, were coming back to the academy lodgings after attending the graduation rites. He said the mauling victims, who he refused to identify, suffered lacerations and contusions, and are now in an undisclosed hospital.

    Kasi ‘di ba graduation, they were having procession with their parents ‘di ba. Tinaymingan na ma-separate sila, hinintay sila doon malapit sa barracks,” Adnol narrated.

    Adnol said the academy has to consider this isolated case a mauling incident because arnis and stones were used by the perpetrators of the incident. Except for admitting that the officers’ attackers are underclassmen, the academy director also refused to name them.

    Adnol said the incident apparently was brought about by old grudges arising from the “corrections” made by the members of the upper class over the protocol violations by the underclassmen.

    Meanwhile, National Police Commission Vice Chairman Rogelio Casurao said due process will be strictly observed in the investigation of those involved in the melee. He stressed that an impartial probe of the incident will be conducted before any action will be taken.

    Nevertheless, Casurao said those proven guilty will be expelled from the academy.

    As this developed, Adnol said two of the six mauling victims have decided to file criminal charges against nine underclassmen allegedly involved in the incident.

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