Posts by Rudy:

    The PH National ID and the printing challenge

    May 31st, 2018

    By Rodolfo Andal

    The Philippine government aims to issue a national ID. Image ©

    THE impending passage of the law creating a National Identification System should be a welcome development for many Filipinos.

    This according to a United States based political analyst Mike Webber. He said gone will be the days when even the simplest transactions would require multiple Identification (ID) Cards – all of which serve basically the same purpose. In its stead now, he said, a single unified government issued ID will suffice for all official transactions.

    Just Last week, both houses of Philippine Congress were finally able to hammer out a common version of the National ID system for transmittal to Malacañang so it could be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

    According to media reports, Sen. Panfilo Lacson has high hopes for the measure, saying he expects to “make public and private transactions easier, help deter criminality and improve the delivery of services to the poor.”

    Moreover, Webber added, the National ID shall serve as the official government-issued identification document of a cardholder in dealing with national government agencies, local government units (LGUs), government-owned or –controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs).

    Under the passed measure, private entities and establishments are also mandated to accept the ID as a valid proof of identity of the individual, without requiring other or additional documents.

    Among the government agencies that are expected to implement the National ID system are the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT); Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG); Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA); Government Service Insurance System (GSIS); Social Security System (SSS); Commission on Elections (COMELEC); National Privacy Commission (NPC); Philippine Regulation Commission (PRC); PhilHealth; HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund; Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); Local Civil Registrar Offices (LCROs); Land Transportation Office (LTO); and the Philippine Postal Services (PPS), with the PSA being tasked to manage the implementation and ensure the security of the system in accordance with all applicable laws and policies.

    But even as Filipinos welcome this development, many of us cannot help but feel a sense of apprehension in the capabilities of the government to fully realize its potentials, observed Webber.

    This is because of the much publicized printing problems being encountered when it comes to other government issued IDs. From drivers’ licenses to passports and automobile plate numbers – it has been a litany of failures and excuses with no real solutions being offered.

    In the case of the issuance of Philippine passports, sources tell us that while both the DFA and the Presidential Communications Office have yet to sort out where the real problem is, a more careful examination of the sweetheart deal during the time of former President Aquino with a favored supplier may hold the key in cutting across this particular Gordian knot.

    But whatever the politics behind the passport problem, it is obvious that the government must take pro-active steps in addressing the issue of national printing, especially in light of the increased capacity requirements stemming from the implementation of the National ID system.

    Perhaps it is time to look into the possibility of establishing a new, state-of-the-art, high-level security printing facility to handle the job? Such a facility will be invaluable not just for the new IDs, but also in solving the huge printing backlog in passports and licenses.
    Webber insists that there is a need for a new printing facility to handle the National ID to erase doubts from the public.

    The challenge of course is in the timing.

    The National ID system is set to go on line within the next few months. With the current production deficit in the existing government printing networks, it seems likely that there will be growing pains. While setting up a new facility is, as we mentioned, an option. it will take time and resources before it can start operating.

    In the meantime, it is the public who will have to bear the brunt of the delays. The good thing though – the silver lining so to speak – is that this problem comes at a time when a Duterte (not an Aquino or anyone else) is the leader of the country.

    The former mayor of Davao City has shown an amazing capacity for coming up with creative solutions, and getting things done, especially when it means giving better public service to the Filipino people.

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    New Betan Elite officers elected

    March 22nd, 2018

    By Philippine News Agency / Rudy Andal

    Newly-elected Supreme Elite (center) read the certificate of appreciation conferred to former Supreme Elite (2nd from right) Dennis Contreras during the 2nd national convention and 49th anniversary of the Betan Elite Society Alumni Association Inc.

    THE Betan Elite Society Alumni Association Inc. (BESAAI) elected its new set of officers on Saturday during its 2nd national convention held at Orchard valley resort in Concepcion, Tarlac.

    The newly-elected new Supreme Elite was Brod. Jef Sagad while the other newly officers were Vice-Supreme Elite (External affairs) Rudy Andal, Vice-Supreme Elite (Internal affairs) Florante Salting; Soc Tatel, Lito Tetangco and Atty. Reginald Deloria as legislative executive officers; Sis. Dothie Montalbo-Macaraig as master guardians of the coffer; Efren Pabelona, Allan Mangubat, Ed Caparas and John Garcia as wielders of the sword.

    The new Council of Elders of BESAAI led by former Supreme Elite Dennis Contreras were HB Cardenas, Rogel de Guzman, Alex Enriquez Garcia, Brod Vir, Doc Benjamin Bengco, Atty. Joey Nerez, Ray Salmo, Jailani “Dong ” Mohamad, Florante Salting Martin, Paul Saguindan, Cito Punzalan, Arnold Cutaran Macaraeg, Alison Pundaodaya and Yoy Yanza.

    The group is active in promoting environmental protection, youth participation in community service, and supports the anti-hazing law.

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    Presidential Peace Adviser to Sultanates — “Be agents of social healing”

    November 28th, 2017

    Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza. Image ©

    DAVAO CITY – “Can we break these walls of exclusivity?”

    This was the question raised by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza among datus, sultans, imams and Christian preachers attending the 2nd International Royalty and Nobility Interfaith Peace Conference.

    Dureza noted that there is a tendency for some groups to carry out development and peace building efforts based on their own personal agendas and not on common interests. He stressed that this approach should be avoided at all costs as it fuels a sense of alienation especially among the marginalized and underserved sectors of the community.

    “There is a need for convergence [in our peace building efforts]. We need the support of everyone,” Dureza told the more than 100 delegates of the international peace conference.

    The presidential peace adviser explained that this is the reason why the Duterte Administration is pushing for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), as it is primarily anchored on the principle of inclusivity.

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. © Erik De Castro / Reuters

    “[The President] really wants to see concrete, radical change,” Dureza said as he emphasized President Rodrigo Duterte’s vision of “address[ing] the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people.”

    To achieve this goal, Dureza insists stakeholders in the peace process must come together, speak with one voice, and collectively push for the BBL’s passage in both houses of Congress.

    “There is a need to heighten the campaign for the law,” Dureza said, as he claimed there are still those who “don’t understand the context of the law.”

    “What is important is to prepare the groundwork [for the bill’s passage]. [This] will help us get the vote [for the law’s passage],” he added.

    Dureza also said the BBL is a “shared dream by everyone” and will start the process of finally “entrench[ing] the Bangsamoro” in the country’s political system.

    Moreover, the peace adviser pointed out that the BBL, once passed, will help to effectively address the growing threat of violent extremism in the country.

    “What they did in Marawi should teach us a lesson. A terrorist knows no kin, no friend. Anyone who will be an obstacle [to their goal] will be eliminated,” Dureza said adding a warning that “The virus [of violent extremism] has been [with us] for a long time. [It has now] become a hydra.”

    Dureza also noted that the lack of good governance, aggravated by corruption in the bureaucracy, has largely contributed to the rise of violent extremism in the country.

    “If people see that the first beneficiaries are your (politicians) relatives, those who are not in the circle will feel excluded,” he said.

    Furthermore, Dureza said “When officials flaunt big cars. People will not accept this. They will rebel [against government].”

    It is in this context, according to Dureza, that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process spearheaded the process of “social healing” among those who were affected by the armed conflict.

    He said “The conflict [has brought about] a break [in] social relationships [wherein] the moral fiber [of society] is destroyed. Roads can easily be rebuilt. But broken relationships take a long time [to heal]. Social healing is therefore crucial.”

    The peace adviser therefore called on the sultanates across the country to become agents of peace and help the national government in strengthening the social healing process.

    “The sultanates play a very important role in molding the minds of people. Engage them. Take the lead. These [efforts] can mean a lot.”

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    Multi-media companies ng China tutulong sa PCOO–Andanar

    November 28th, 2017

    Presidential Communications Operations Office head Secretary Martin Andanar. Image ©

    INAASAHANG madadagdagan pa ang mga multi-media companies sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo na nakikipagtulungan sa Presidential Communications Operations Office ng Pilipinas para sa isinusulong nitong modernisasyon ng government television at mga istasyon ng radyo.

    Ito ang napag-alaman matapos paunlakan noong Nobyembre 24 ni Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar ang imbitasyon ng State Council Information Office o SCIO ng People’s Republic of China na bisitahin ang top multi-media companies sa Shanghai.

    Unang binisita ni Andanar ang Shanghai Eastday Co., Ltd.  kung saan ipinakita nina Mr. Xu Shiping, President and Editor-in-chief ng Eastday, kung paano nahikayat ng kompanya ang 100 million netizens sa loob lang 20 years at paano nilang nagawang maging multi-billion ang kanilang kompanya.

    Sumunod na binisita at nakapulong ni Andanar ang Shanghai Media Group (SMG) at ang chairman nitong si Chen Yuren.

    Ipinapaliwanag ni Shanghai Media Group Chairman Chen Yuren (nasa kaliwa) kung paano ang transition mula traditional media patungong makabagong media kay PCO Sec. Martin Andanar.

    Dito ipinakita kay Andanar kung paano ang transition mula traditional media patungong makabagong media.

    Ang SMG ang isa na ngayong pinakamalaking media at cultural conglomerates na may kumpletong portfolio ng media at related businesses.

    Binisita din ng PCOO Secretary ang Shanghai United Media Group (SUMG) kung saan ipinakita ng director for External Relations Department na si Xia Jun ang flow of work at history ng kompanya.

    Nakausap din ni Andanar si Mr. Chen Qiwei, General Manager ng SUMG, kung saan natalakay din ang possible collaborations ng PCOO at SUMG.

    Ang SUMG ang leading newsprint company sa Shanghai at pinapatakbo nito ang 2 leading newspaper groups na Jiefang Daily Group at Wenhui-Xinmin United Media.

    Ang Shanghai leg ang huling bahagi ng 4-day China trip ni Andanar kung saan hindi pinalagpas ng PCOO chief na makausap at makasalamuha ang ilang OFW na nakabase sa Shanghai para makumusta at malaman ang kanilang kalagayan doon.

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    Negosyanteng Hapones nag-donate sa Marawi evacuees

    July 21st, 2017

    Takanori Numazaki Photo ©

    NAGBIGAY ng mga bagong damit, sapatos at iba pang kagamitan ang isang grupo ng mga negosyanteng Hapones para sa mga lumikas mula sa kaguluhan sa Marawi City.

    Ang grupo ay pinangunahan ni Takanori Numazaki, chief executive officer ng KK. Korin Logistics.

    Ayon kay Numazaki, bukod sa mga damit, sapatos ay magbibigay din ang kanilang grupo ng appliances at containers para sa mga bakwit ng Marawi.

    “Nais din naming matulungan ang mga evacuees at mga sundalo kasama na ang kanilang pamilya sa kanilang mga pangangailangan araw-araw,” wika pa ni Numazaki.

    Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar Photo ©

    Para agarang makarating ang kanilang 20-30 container vans na donasyon ay pinadaan nila ito sa tanggapan ni Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar.

    Ang donasyon ay tinanggap ni PCOO Undersecretary Marvin Gatpayat mula kay Numazaki sa Malacanang.

    Nagpasalamat naman sa Andanar kay Numazaki at mga negosyanteng Hapones.

    “Nais ko pong magpasalamat sa grupo ng Japanese businessmen na namigay ng mga brand new na mga damit, sapatos, appliances para sa mga kababayan nating evacuees sa Marawi City. Sisiguruhin ko pong makakarating ang inyong donasyon sa mga nangangailangan,” wika pa ni Sec. Andanar.

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    PH and Thailand to tap rich area of cooperation in media and public information

    March 23rd, 2017

    Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar Photo ©

    BANGKOK, THAILAND — The Philippines and Thailand will tap the rich area of cooperation in media and public information.

    This was disclosed Tuesday by Communications Secretary Jose Martin Ruperto Andanar after meeting with Lt. Gen. Werachon Sukonthapatipak, Deputy Government Spokesman under the Secretariat of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand. Both officials agrred to exchange on-ground experiences and forge cooperation in terms of training and practice in running the information and media arm of their respective governments to bring fast accurate and truthful reports to the general public.

    Andanar was given a brief tour of the Information facilities, such as the media briefing room and holding room for guests, the studio for pre-recording of events message, and the work area for the local press.

    “A very productive morning in Bangkok, Thailand,” Andanar immediately posted on his FB account.

    “My PCOO Team and I are happy to report to you [the public] that both sides (Philippines and Thailand) agreed to craft a Communications Bilateral MOU,” he added, with accompanying pictures of the Information officials exchanging tokens that are also conversational pieces from each country.

    The NBT or the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand is the counterpart of the PTV4 or the Philippine government’s People’s Television Network 4, which expects to undergo upgrading, together with other agencies supervised by the Communications Office namely, the Philippine News Agency, Philippine Information Agency, the Radyo ng Bayan, and the Bureau of Communications Services.

    Recently, the Communications Office under Andanar has initiated a pioneering consultation on the draft policy related to social media, whose influence and accessibility have been the recourse of the public looking for alternative sources of information free of business and political interests of traditional media.

    Andanar said that the areas of cooperation between the Philippines and Thailand may cover the services  of TV, radio, and print; public relations, and social media management.

    “The world is so connected now, and information is vital,” said Andanar, as he emphasized the value of fostering the Memorandum of Understanding between and among ASEAN neighbors.

    He echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s assertion of the independent position of the Philippines as a nation and enjoined the ASEAN community to strengthen ranks in regional cooperation in terms of media and information to serve the best interests of the public.

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    Duterte’s Thailand visit highlighted by signing of bilateral agreements

    March 22nd, 2017

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, talks to Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha during the agreements signing involving agriculture, education, energy, science and technology at the government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Duterte is in Thailand for a two-day visit rounding out his nine-country tour of southeast Asia. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

    BANGKOK, THAILAND — President Rodrigo Duterte and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha on Tuesday witnessed the signing of documents on areas of cooperation between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Thailand at the Santi Maitri Building, Government House in Bangkok.

    The signing ceremony covers the agreement on areas of cooperation namely, Science and Technology; Tourism, and Agriculture specifically Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) of the Republic of the Philippines on Swamp and Dairy Buffalo Production.

    Both leaders gave a joint press statement following their meeting and the signing ceremony.

    President Duterte in his speech after the signing ceremony, rallied for support from Thailand in moving forward to a future of greater peace, progress and prosperity.

    “As countries facing similar challenges and as brothers in ASEAN, we have a joint stake in keeping our relations always vibrant, always strong and always geared towards upholding the greater and collective interests of our countries and our region,” he said.

    Duterte also stressed the need to address traditional and emerging threats to the region’s collective security and stability.

    These include transnational crimes such as terrorism and violent extremism, piracy at sea, as well as the trafficking in persons, and in illicit drugs.

    “We stressed the importance of our defense cooperation to achieve these goals and looked forward to the inaugural Joint Committee on Military Cooperation this year,” he said.

    On the issue of economic interest, the President said economic reforms are being instituted in the Philippines.

    “With our emphasis on combatting corruption, eradicating criminality, and dismantling the illegal drug trade apparatus, we are hopeful of more investments coming from Thailand,” the President said.

    The Philippines and Thailand have vibrant economic relations, with a trade value of over US $9 billion in 2016. Both countries also recognized the importance of cooperation in agriculture where there have been significant advancements in this area.

    “We look to greater cooperation and exchange of best practices in irrigation, artificial rain, livestock and fisheries, and application of technology for soil and water conservation,” he said.

    In the area of tourism, the Philippines looks forward to activities such as promotion of joint tourism destinations to harness this key sector of growth.

    Duterte stressed the need to maintain peace and stability in the region, including the South China Sea.

    “We recognized too, that respect for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea is in the interest of all counties within and outside the region,” he said.

    Both sides emphasized the need for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and expressed determination to complete the Framework of the Code of Conduct in 2017.

    In closing, Duterte thanked Thailand’s continuing key role for the growth and stability of the Association.

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    National Press Club of the Philippines hindi naalarma sa banta ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ibagsak ang Martial Law

    January 22nd, 2017

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte © Mariana Bazo / Reuters

    HINDI naaalarma ang National Press Club (NPC) sa mga naging pahayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa paggamit nito ng kapangyarihan upang magdeklara ng Martial Law sa sandaling lumala ang kinakaharap na problema ng bansa sa illegal drugs.

    “A more sober appreciation of the situation can only lead to the conclusion that far from laying the groundwork for martial law, Pres. Duterte even ensured the primacy of the rule of law and the strengthening of Philippine democracy very early in his term,” ayon kay NPC president Paul M. Gutierrez.

    Tinukoy pa ni Gutierrez ang dalawang mahalagang aksyon ni Pangulong Duterte sa unang bahagi pa lamang ng kanyang termino ng lagdaan nito ang Executive Order no. 2 noong July 2016 at Administrative Order no. 1 noong October 2016.

    “EO No. 2, for the first time, mandated the entire executive branch of the government to give freedom to all Filipinos, not only to the members of the press, to get information previously being withheld from them, except those involving national security. AO No. 1 on the other hand, created the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) focused mainly in protecting all members of the Fourth Estate. Let us give credit where credit is due,” giit pa ng NPC president.

    “These are two very significant and historic actions by Pres. Duterte that many Filipinos, including media organizations, have labored so hard to realize since the lifting of martial law in 1981 but with all these past efforts proving to be in vain.”

    Aniya pa, tanging si Pangulong Duterte lamang ang nagbigay halaga na maisakatuparan ang mga ito na hindi nagawa ng nakaraang administrasyon.

    “Yet, barely three months into office, Pres. Duterte gave substance to our democracy. This he did by giving to our countrymen what they have always clamored for—the freedom to access government records plus the assurance to the members of the media that they can practice their profession with less fear of death, harassment or intimidation,” binigyang-diin pa ni Gutierrez.

    Kaya patunay ito, wika pa ng NPC president, ina kinikilala ni Pangulong Duterte ang kalayaan at kapakanan ng mamamahayag na hindi nagawa ng nakaraang afministrasyon.

    “Thus, for some quarters, to include some of those in the media, to raise the fear of authoritarian rule on the part of Pres. Duterte is interpreting too much from his statements. The facts established do not support such fear. Further giving credit where credit is due,” giit pa ng pangulo ng NPC.

    Nagpasalamat din ang pangulo ng isa sa pinakamalaking samahan ng mga mamamahayag sa bansa kay Presidential Communications Sec. Martin Andanar dahil sa walang-humpay nitong pagsisikap upang kumbinsihin si Pangulong Duterte at buong gabinete upang aprubahan at suportahan ang nasabing mga hakbang.

    “It goes without saying that without Sec. Andanar’s intervention, such ‘talks’ about the return of martial law could have gained credence. While there may be grounds to chide Sec. Andanar for lapses, it would be going overboard to savage him in media commentaries that, on close analysis, is but another side of the efforts by some quarters to sow division and ultimately, to weaken our national government,” binigyang-diin pa ng NPC president.

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    PH President Rodrigo Duterte expresses admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin

    November 21st, 2016
    President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet for the first time during a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in Lima, Peru on November 19. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./Presidential Photo

    President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet for the first time during a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru on November 19. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./Presidential Photo

    LIMA, Peru — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday during a meeting with him on the sidelines of the two-day Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) here.

    Pres. Duterte said he is pleased to meet Pres. Putin “not only because you represent a great country, but because of your  leadership skills.” He added that he was looking forward to meeting the Russian president.

    For his part, President Putin congratulated President Duterte for winning the May 9, 2016 elections and likewise expressed his pleasure at meeting him. He explained that May 9 is a special date for all Russians, as the country marks victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

    Pres. Putin also noted that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Philippines- Russia diplomatic relations, and acknowledged the many accomplishments that have promoted trust and confidence between the two countries.

    Both leaders discussed the various ways to further develop comprehensive bilateral cooperation in areas, such as economic, security and defense, cultural and people-to-people exchange, among others. They likewise agreed to sustain the high-level meetings and consultations that would enhance the mutually beneficial relations.

    Present during the meeting were members of President Duterte’s Cabinet including Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go.

    President Putin was accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other officials of the Russian government.

    The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum meeting is taking place in Peruvian capital, Lima, on November 19-20.

    APEC unites 21 Pacific Rim countries, including Russia, US, China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, promoting free trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

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    New PH Coconut Authority chief took office

    November 18th, 2016

    pca-1THE Philippine Coconut Authority has Mr. Billy Andal as its new administrator after he took his oath of office Thursday during a simple ceremony.

    Andal, a Mapua Institute of Technology graduate, was the former head of President Roa Duterte Volunteer Foundation and Quezon province board member. He was appointed as the new PCA administrator on November 8, 2016 by the president.

    During his acceptance speech, Andal vowed to solve the problem of coconut farmers on ‘cocolisap’ particularly in the island province of Basilan. He also said that he will work to increase the productivity of coconut farmers and make PCA a coconut farmer friendly office.

    At the same time, he appealed to all PCA employees for cooperation.


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    PH President Rodrigo Duterte to strengthen ties with Japan

    October 25th, 2016
    PH President Rodrigo Duterte with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo @

    PH President Rodrigo Duterte with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo @

    TOKYO, Japan — President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to arrive here today for an official visit from October 25 to 27 following his back-to-back state visits to Brunei and China to discuss economic and defense cooperation and scale up strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan.

    The state visit, which will involve meetings with Emperor Akihito, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and business leaders, coincides with the 60th anniversary of establishment of Philippines-Japan diplomatic relations.

    “As you are aware, the reason for the visit of the President is because Prime Minister Abe reiterated an invitation he has been extending to the President to come to Japan. And this invitation was in fact reiterated and accepted in the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Laos,” Consul General Marian Jocelyn R. Tirol-Ignacio said.

    The lease of TC 30 military planes and the development assistance and investments are among the items President Duterte may seek in a bid to capitalize the country’s economic and defense alliance with Japan.

    Ignacio said the Philippine-Japan relationship is quite multi-faceted, covering the range of political, economic, and cultural interests that affect Filipinos working and living in Japan.

    Japan has also received more than 400,000 Filipino tourists for the first half of the year alone.

    A growing professional community of engineers and technical interns in the IT sector consist of 1,600 Filipinos.

    “Japan is very keen to continue with the relationship that it has had with the Philippines for a long number of years. In the economic area, for example, Japan continues to be the top trading partner for the Philippines,” Ignacio said.

    “On the political level, we have seen quite an interest in high-level visits. The high-level visits constitute the coming of Foreign Minister Kishida to the Philippines, and what I want to note here is that when he came, he called on the President. His visit to the Philippines was in fact, the first visit that he has ever made outside of Japan after his reassignment as Foreign Minister. So this is a very big signal of the importance that the Philippines has for Japan,” Ignacio said.

    Ignacio said the country can expect several signing of letters of intent from Japanese companies during President Duterte’s visit.

    “We understand that there might be about eight businesses that will be signing Letters of Intents and Memorandum of Understanding and this is intended to generate investment into the Philippines so we have big companies both in the manufacturing and in the investment sector, in the agricultural sector,” Ignacio said.

    Meeting with the Filipino community

    First on the order of President Duterte’s visit is a meeting with the Filipino community in Japan.

    Joseph Philip Banal, founder of the 200-member Dabawenyos’ Organized Society-Japan or DOSJ, is from Davao City and came to Japan in 1994 together with his family.

    Banal who is presently a staff at the Embassy of Algeria said the main objective of the group is to help the less fortunate children of Davao. The first fund-raising project of DOSJ was Kadayawan sa Tokyo held in 2011, which was able to donate a daycare center in Mati, Davao Oriental.

    Aurora Dobashi, founder of Filipino English Teachers in Japan Global (FETJ Global) in 2000, has lived in Japan for almost 27 years. “I have been teaching all my life and practically I teach, I train, I organize events for Filipinos in Japan. We train them,” she said. Members of the FETJ are mostly BSE graduates or with at least two years of college education.

    Business and economic interests

    Consul Ignacio said President Duterte would address the Philippine Economic forum.

    “The economic forum is important because for the first time, our Japanese business partners will have their first look at the President. He has generated a lot of interest here in Japan and as you are aware, there is a lot of investments by the Japanese in the Philippines,” Ignacio said.

    Ignacio said the Japanese business partners have been anticipating for the President to expound on his 10-point agenda.

    On other matters, President Duterte is also expected to meet with the Japan-Philippines Parliamentarians Friendship League.

    Another highlight of the President’s visit is the possibility of the HARVEST loan coming into fruition.

    “This is important because the focus will be on Mindanao. There is a lot of interest, I think, between the Philippines and Japan to try to extend some kind of assistance that goes beyond Metro Manila but goes all over the region. Cebu, for example, and in Mindanao, even in Davao,” Ignacio said.

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    President Rodrigo Duterte to focus on agriculture, health and education

    October 24th, 2016
    Rodrigo Duterte impressed Philippine voters with his vows to kill criminals and challenge the elite's grip on the economy

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

    EDUCATION, agriculture and health will get the biggest chunk of funds from the multi-billion dollar loans the Duterte administration obtained from China.

    This was disclosed on Sunday by President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to the typhoon ravaged province of Isabela.

    “Ang thrust kasi ng gobyerno ko is first education, second is agriculture, and third is health,” he told Isabela provincial officials as he oversee the distribution of relief goods d other assistance to the victims of typhoon “Lawin”.

    He assured the people of Ilagan, Isabela, whose primary source of income is agriculture; that agricultural sector would get a big chunk from the multi-billion dollar loans he received during his recent visit to China.

 During his visit, the President also distributed around 37 million worth of seeds to the farmers of Isabela.

    “Masiguro ho ninyo na ang una talagang beneficiary diyan ang agriculture. Meron kayong malaki diyan dahil iyan ang unang problema natin sa bayan: agriculture,” Duterte said adding . 

”I can assure you dito sa gobyerno iyang trillion na [loans] na ‘yan kung magdating will be used precisely and entirely for the benefit of the Filipino people.”

    At the same time, the President said he will also prioritize the health of Filipinos as he disclosed plans to revive the Botika ng Bayan, which provides low-cost and high-quality medicines especially for less privileged Filipinos.

 He noted that the funds for the revival of this and other social program will be drawn from the earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).


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    PH to implement massive infrastructure plan

    October 24th, 2016

    Photo ©

    THE Philippines has partnered with a key Chinese Government agency and China’s biggest companies in order to study the implementation of the major flagship infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration.

    These partnerships form part of the Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) signed during the President’s four-day state visit to China and have been estimated to amount to 24 billion US dollars.

    These include various public works projects – bridges and a major road network – as well as rehabilitation of airports and seaports across the country.

    The infrastructure program also includes massive investments in railroad networks which will improve mobility and development in the regions especially in Mindanao, and aid in passenger connectivity and more efficient cargo handling to spur economic activities in the country. It will also help decongest Metro Manila and address present transportation issues.

    Bridges Connecting the Major Islands

    Part of this infrastructure plan is to construct several bridges connecting the country’s major islands. This initiative will be led by the DPWH and includes mega bridge projects connecting Luzon to the Visayas via the 28 km Sorsogon to Samar bridge and the 23 km Leyte – Surigao bridge connecting Visayas to Mindanao.

    The DPWH also proposed the construction of bridges connecting islands in Luzon and the Visayas, such as the Batangas to Mindoro mega bridge as well as a bridge connecting Bohol, Cebu and Negros islands.

    Trains, Boats and Planes

    The Department of Transportation also signed an MOU to study the feasibility of constructing major rail systems aimed at spurring development in the countryside and improving the connectivity of goods, services and people in far flung areas as well as reducing the congestion in the major cities.

    Among these are The Mindanao Railway System and the Manila to Clark direct railway as well as the Clark-Subic cargo and passenger railway.

    In addition to the rail systems will be projects rehabilitating airports and seaports throughout the country.

    Among those listed are the rehabilitation of regional airports in Zamboanga, Dumaguete and Tacloban as well as the development of the seaports of Cebu and Davao.

    The DPWH and the DOTR signed an MOU with the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s super ministry in charge of the planning and development of vital infrastructure programs in the country.

    Development of Smart and Safe Cities

    The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) also signed 4 MOUs to develop their existing projects in Clark and Fort Bonifacio, primarily to address the congestion in Metro Manila.

    The BCDA, at the same time, signed an MOU with China Road and Bridge Corp. to develop a Bus Rapid Transit System connecting Fort Bonifacio to NAIA. It also signed 2 MOUs to develop Clark Freeport Zone and Clark Green City as alternative areas outside of Metro Manila to help ease congestion in the metropolis. BCDA signed an MOU with China Harbor Engineering Corp and China Fortune Land Development for the development of the Subic-Clark railway system and an industrial park in Clark Green City respectively.

    BCDA also signed an MOU with Huawei, the largest telecommunications network equipment provider in the world for the development of smart and safe cities in Clark and Fort Bonifacio.

    Bold Solutions and Swift Action

    The country’s business leaders have long called for bold solutions and the swift improvement of the country’s infrastructure and transport network as well as better telecommunications and Internet service to sustain economic growth and it is hoped that the President’s state visit to China will be the catalyst to making all these plans a reality soon.

    All MOUs signed during the trip are non-exclusive and will still go through the rigorous competitive procurement process in the Philippines.

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    Duterte aspires for total independence from the U.S. — PDP Laban

    October 20th, 2016

    PDP-LABAN emblem Photo © Wikipedia

    “I AM a President of a sovereign state, and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people.”

    This is the important message which President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to put across but was overlooked because the attention of the international media was more on the President’s alleged “cursing” of United States President Barack Obama.

    Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN) Policy Studies Group Head and Membership Committee National Capitol Region Chairman Jose Antonio Goitia said Duterte’s demand for the pull out of U.S. troops from Mindanao is proof that his criticism of the Americans is beyond the human rights violations issues raised by the U.S. State Department and Obama. It gives a clearer picture of President Duterte’s real intention: to step out of the shadow of the U.S. and pursue an independent foreign policy.

    Goitia stated that the history of US-Philippine relations is fraught with violence and unequal treatment of the Filipinos in their own soil as many Filipinos, especially Moros, were killed during the U.S. occupation of the Philippine Islands in the first half of the 20th century.

    “Even when the U.S. granted the Philippines its independence in 1946, the U.S. government had not acknowledged and made reparations to the casualties of their colonial rule,” said Goitia who is also the PDP Laban San Juan City Council president.

    “President Duterte points to this long history of U.S. colonialism and violence in Philippine soils, particularly in Mindanao, as the root cause of armed conflict being waged by Moro secessionist rebels, a conflict which President sought to end. He clearly stated that as long as the U.S. forces are in Mindanao, peace will be elusive.”

    He said it is not only the peace in Mindanao that is at stake in the recent pronouncements of Duterte as local and foreign analysts of Philippine politics and international relations see the recent moves of the President as a way of distancing the Philippines from the U.S., ending the long-held perception of the Philippines as Washington DC’s outpost in the Southeast Asian region.

    “This reorientation to have an independent foreign policy comes at a crucial time where the economic and political rivalry between U.S. and China, along with Russia, is intensifying. With the shifting global realities, it is more prudent for Duterte not to put his country in the line of fire. U.S. forces’ presence in the Philippines may be perceived by China as a threat,” Goitia said.

    “Contrary to what the critics are saying, pursuing an independent foreign policy and the call to pull out troops from Mindanao are not only part of the President’s anti-Obama stance, but more importantly, it is Duterte’s way of protecting the national interest and security.”

    “In the face of the West Philippine Sea territorial dispute, the least the Philippine government can do at this point is not to project itself as a threat to China,” Goitia added.

    “What at stake are not only the natural resources of the contested areas in the West Philippine Sea, but also the livelihood and safety of the overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China. This is picture that the local and foreign media has been missing all along.”

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    PH Health Department announces opening in Nueva Ecija of the first Chinese funded Drug Rehab Center

    October 19th, 2016
    DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial Photo ©

    DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial Photo ©

    THE Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday has announced the “soft opening” of the government-run 10,000 bed drug rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

    Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, in a press conference at the Malacanang Palace, said “the facility has been partially finished by October 17…and our personnel, who were hired for that facility, about 1,000 of them; are now actually viewing the facility and having a dry run on how to manage the patients that will be referred to that facility come November’.”

    The formal opening of the mega drug treatment and rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija will be in November, she said adding that 2,500-beds were already turned over last Monday, October 17, while the remaining 7,500-beds will be handed to the facility on November 16, the center’s opening day

    The construction of the 100,000-square meter rehabilitation center was made possible through the donation of Chinese businessman Huang Rulun, following Sec. Ubial’s visit to Beijing last September.

    The Nueva Ecija drug rehabilitation center will accommodate one to two percent of the close to 800,000 drug dependents who have so far surrendered to authorities.

    Furthermore, Sec. Ubial said the government has already trained over 1,000 medical personnel from different the local government units and her department is the now in the process of accrediting them to become front line health workers for the assessment of drug dependents.

    Qualification for in-patient rehabilitation in Fort Magsaysay will depend on the drug dependent’s history of drug use as well as the result of their urine and blood tests, Sec. Ubial noted.

    “So ‘yung mga nag-positive sa screening, ‘yun ang ico-commit natin for the in-patient treatment,” she explained.

    Asked by reporters if the DOH has a budget for the setting up of the different mega rehabilitation centers nationwide, Ubial said they have no allocation in the current budget which was prepared during the previous administration.

    The DOH chief, however, said they have been using the Quick Response Fund and have sub-allotted P130 million to the existing treatment and rehabilitation centers to double their original capacity.

    It has also allocated around P15 million to hire new employees in Region III.

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    President Duterte arrives in China after successful Brunei visit

    October 19th, 2016
    PH President Rodrigo Duterte shortly after arriving in Beijing Photo  © South China Morning Post

    PH President Rodrigo Duterte shortly after arriving in Beijing Photo © South China Morning Post

    BEIJING, China — Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrived here on Tuesday for another state visit following his successful call at Brunei Darussalam.

    Pres. Duterte accompanied by his 13-people strong delegation arrived at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 8:05 p.m. China is the fifth country that the president have visited since he assumed the presidency in June.

    Pres. Duterte and his delegation just came from a successful three-day state visit in Brunei Darussalam wherein both countries have agreed to strengthen and improve ties in wide ranging areas which include trade and investment, maritime and security cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, tourism, energy sector, and promoting peace and stability in Mindanao. The two nations likewise agreed to explore new areas in the halal industries.

    Upon his arrival in China, President Duterte was welcomed by Chinese and Philippine officials led by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua and Chargé d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy Elizabeth Te.

    The President will kick off his busy schedule in China by meeting the Filipino community at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Wednesday.

    On Thursday, Pres. Duterte is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People.
    It is expected to be followed by the signing of a number of memoranda of understanding and agreement on various fields of cooperation between the two countries.

    The President is also set to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to discuss the enhancement of economic cooperation. He is also scheduled to attend in the Philippine-China Trade and Investment Forum for a keynote speech.

    After the forum, President Duterte is expected to meet with National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang.

    His third day here will be capped off by a state banquet to be hosted by President Xi at the Golden Hall of the Great Hall of the People in honor of the visiting head of state.

    On the last day of his visit, President Duterte will meet with the officials of Bank of China.

    The President’s official delegation in China include Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco.

    The Philippines and China celebrated 41 years of formal bilateral relations in June this year.

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    President Duterte signs law postponing barangay elections this October

    October 19th, 2016
    President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in one of his rallies Photo©  AP/BULLIT MARQUEZ

    President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in one of his rallies Photo© AP/BULLIT MARQUEZ

    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday has signed a law postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled late this month.

    In a press conference Wednesday in Malacanang, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) assistant secretary Marie Banaag, quoting Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, said the law was already signed by the President.

    “But he just had to wait for the courier, the aircraft that would bring home the signed law and for proper transmittal to the proper offices,” Banaag said..

    In his previous public pronouncements, the President said he is against the conduct of the barangay polls because many barangay officials are involved in the illegal drug trade.

    President Duterte added that as narco-politics already has a grip on the country’s political system, pushing through with the election will entrench them in power,

    The Duterte administration has carried out a relentless campaign against illegal drugs, with close to 800,000 drug users and pushers surrendering to authorities.

    The President vowed to continue the campaign until the last drug addict or drug trafficker is driven out of the streets .

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    PH President Duterte hold talks with Brunei’s Sultan

    October 18th, 2016
    President Rodrigo Duterte being met by Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Photo © Brunei Informations Department

    President Rodrigo Duterte being met by Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Photo © Brunei Informations Department

    BANDAR Seri Begawan-–A Malacanang Palace official said the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on Monday “was very fruitful.”

    In a press briefing at the guest Palace Istana Edinburgh, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Pres. Duterte and Sultan Bolkiah discussed plans to revive the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) because of the proximity of the four countries and other issues like the peace process.

    The two leaders likewise touched on the drug situation in the Philippines which Sultan Bolkiah recognized as a problem as he expressed support to the President’s anti-drug program, Sec. Andanar said.

    Also discussed was the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) chairmanship of the Philippines.

    “We had discussed the Philippines chairmanship of ASEAN for next year. And that the Sultan himself had expressed his fullest support to our President who will be heading the chairmanship next year.” said Foreign Sec. Perfecto Yasay Jr.

    According to Yasay, the President also explained his position to Sultan Bolkiah with respect to the Philippine claims on the South China Sea.

    “On the part of our President, he had made it clear that in pursuing these talks with China, maybe now is not the time but eventually when there will be the opportunity to discuss more substantively, in a bilateral engagement this issue. We will be doing so in pursuing it within the framework of the arbitral tribunal’s decision,” Sec. Yasay noted.

    Sec. Yasay, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who attended the press briefing, also formed part of the official delegation of the President in Brunei.




    The President’s state visit to Brunei is his fourth foreign trip since assuming the presidency on June 30.

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    President Rodrigo Duterte apologizes to Jewish people

    October 3rd, 2016
    PH President Rodrigo Duterte showing picture of American victims of atrocities during the Fil-American war © AFP 2016/ TED ALJIBE

    PH President Rodrigo Duterte showing picture of American victims of atrocities during the Fil-American war © AFP 2016/ TED ALJIBE

    BACOLOD City — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday apologized to the Jewish community saying that he did not intend to derogate the memory of the millions of Jews killed during the Holocaust.

    “I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community…I would like to make it here and now that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Germans,” Duterte said in his speech as he graced the opening of the 37th MassKara Festival here.

    The President explained that  he never intended to denigrate the Jews but he was merely reacting to criticisms likening him to Adolf Hitler.

    “It was never my intention but the problem was I was criticized using Hitler comparing to me,” he said.

    Duterte maintained that the relentless campaign of the administration against illegal drugs would continue despite criticisms even from the international community.

 He underscored the importance of solving the deeply entrenched problem of illicit drugs in the country, which he said has affected almost four million Filipinos.

    Malacañang earlier dismissed the Hitler allusion of the government’s anti-drug war as “crude attempt to vilify the President in the eyes of the world.”

    The President’s opponents during the last May elections compared Duterte to Hitler only to gain political mileage but such derision did not work, said Palace spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

    Sec. Abella stressed that President Duterte has “flatly rejected” to be compared to Hitler.

    Meanwhile, the President also took the opportunity to visit Police Officer 1 Robert John Arzaga, who was wounded in an operation in Negros Occidental last week.

    Arzaga is currently confined at the Riverside Medical Hospital.

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    A bill granting tax amnesties to individual, corporations filed before Congress by richest solon

    September 26th, 2016
    Party-list Rep. Michael Romero Photo ©

    Party-list Rep. Michael Romero Photo ©

    A PARTY-LIST lawmaker over the weekend filed a bill that is aimed at granting tax amnesties to individuals and corporations, paving the way for an increased revenue collection for the country’s coffers.

    Rep. Michael Romero of 1Pacman Party-list explained that his bill — House Bill 3655 or “an act to increase revenues and to provide the foundation for an effective implementation of tax reforms by granting an amnesty on all unpaid internal revenue taxes imposed by the national government for taxable year 2015 and prior years,” is in line with the promise of President Rodrigo Duterte in reforming the tax system, which includes lowering the personal and corporate tax rates.

    “The bill will complement the initiative as it will increase taxes that will be collected,” Romero, the richest member of the House of Representatives, said.

    Under the bill, any person or corporation who wants to avail of the tax amnesty would simply need to file a notice and Tax Amnesty Return form with the Bureau of Internal Revenue accompanied by a statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALN) as of December 31, 2015.

    For individuals, a flat rate of five percent or P50,000, whichever is higher, tax penalty will be imposed while corporations will be made to pay five percent or from P25,000 to P500,000 tax penalty. Other entities will also have to pay a five percent tax penalty or P50,000.

    Romero explained that those who have availed of the tax amnesty will be granted immunity from the payment of taxes and civil, criminal or administrative penalties under the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 arising from their failure to pay any and all internal revenue taxes for 2015 and prior years.

    The taxpayer’s SALN as of December 31, 2015 shall not be admissible as evidence in all proceedings related to internal revenue taxes that cover 2015 and prior years. 
In addition, their books of accounts and other records for the years covered under the tax amnesty availed of shall not be examined.

    Romero, however, said the tax amnesty cannot be availed of by withholding agents, those with pending cases under the Presidential Commission on Good Government, those with pending cases involving unexplained or unlawfully acquired wealth under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    They cannot be availed as well by those with pending cases for violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Law, those with pending criminal cases for tax evasion or other criminal offenses under Chapter 2 of Title X of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 or felonies of fraud, illegal exactions and transactions and malversation of public funds and property under the Revised Penal Code.

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    Rep. Mikee Romero proposes bill to create Department of Housing and Urban Development

    September 19th, 2016
    Party-list Rep. Michael Romero Photo ©

    1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Michael Romero Photo ©

    HOUSE Representative Michael Romero of the 1-Pacman Party-list has filed a bill to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) to directly address the problem of providing affordable housing for the poor.

    “To date, there are housing backlogs that needs to be addressed and the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development will concentrate government’s efforts to resolve this,” said Rep. Romero, son of construction magnate Reghis Romero II.

    Under his proposed bill, the powers of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) will be consolidated under the DHUD to give them more teeth in policy making.

    Romero noted that HUDCC, which has an oversight function and overall coordinator of government policies for the housing setor, has limited resources and authority while the HLURB has a bigger role in providing town planning assistance to local governments, real estate management and regulations and adjudication of cases involving buyers in subdivisions and condominiums, and disputes of homeowners associations.

    “The HLURB has vast powers while the HUDCC chair has limited authority in policy making. The DHUD will address this weakness,” Romero explained.

    The bill also mandates that key shelter agencies National Housing Authority (NHA), Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), and Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) will remain to operate under their present mandate but will be attached to DHUD for policy and program coordination.

    “Basically, the function of the DHUD is to address the housing problem in urban centers and resettlement areas in coordination with the private sector,” he said.

    The DHUD will formulate the national and urban development and housing policy and strategy to ensure consistency with the Philippine Development Plan and the National Physical Framework Plan to promote social and economic welfare.

    It will supervise and integrate all government activities related to housing and urban development, and come up with efficient housing finance policies.

    The department will also manage and oversee the development of proclaimed housing sites including the use of land as resources to raise funds in developing new housing projects that will serve as central relocation sites for informal settlers.

    It can also enter into contracts, joint venture agreements and public-private partnerships regarding housing.
    The department will also help local governments in housing and urban development and management to strengthen the roles of provinces, cities and municipalities as primary agencies for urban development.

    The bill also proposes the establishment of the Special Housing Fund (SHF) that will come from the real property tax that will be used exclusively for housing and urban development.

    Homeowners, homeowners associations, and condominium units owners’ associations/corporations will be registered and regulated under the proposed department.

    “The DHUD will have the mandate to lead housing and urban development in the country with focus on providing affordable housing for the marginalized sectors,” Romero said.

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    My job is to protect our country and make it peaceful for everybody – President Duterte

    September 17th, 2016

    SAN MIGUEL, BULACAN — President Rodrigo R. Duterte rallied the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to protect the people and maintain the country’s integrity.

    “The most important thing, we are workers of government, paid by the people because we are supposed to maintain the integrity of this Republic,” President Duterte said on Thursday in Camp Tecson during his meeting with AFP officers and enlisted men of the elite First Scout Ranger Regiment.

    “While I build a strong army, my job is not really na hanggang tingin lang diyan. It goes beyond higher and higher and that is to protect my country and make it peaceful for everybody,” he said.

    On the government peace efforts, the President said, “My job under the Constitution is to look for a peaceful way of settling disputes so we can live together, I can cross the ideological border.”

    He was referring to peace talks with communist and Muslim rebels, saying that “my job is to look for peace, not for me, not for us but for our children. Hindi naman lahat ng mga anak natin, mag-army, capable of doing, just studying and doing war until kingdom come. Somehow, in our generation, we have to look for peace or reckoning.”

    The Commander-in-Chief, at the same time, recognized the gallantry of the Scout Rangers in the battle fronts and their contributions to the fight against illegal drugs. He expressed his admiration for the men and their firing skills when he personally witnessed a capability demonstration at the camp.

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    PRRD: Diplomacy to counteract terrorism, insurgency

    September 15th, 2016
    President Rodrigo Duterte

    President Rodrigo Duterte

    PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday has warned that terrorism in Mindanao could escalate into a full-blown civil war if diplomacy is not employed to counteract insurgency in the countryside.

    “From terrorism in Mindanao, it could degenerate into a full-blown civil war,” the President warned in his speech before Philippine Air Force (PAF) personnel during the armed service’s 48th anniversary celebration of its 250th Presidential Airlift Wing at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

    “That’s why we are trying to talk. Do not be dismayed about the fact that we are talking to the Left,” he said.

    As much as he would like to be strict in dealing with the insurgents, PRRD stressed that as the President of the Republic, “my job is to seek the peace of the land.”

    He said, “We cannot be forever killing our own citizens. So they have agreed to talk, we can use the extra force now, we can focus them in Mindanao.”

    “But the most important thing here is you have to change paradigm. Hindi na ito gyera na harap-harapan. So it’s always a matter of detection. Meaning to say, something is afoot and you have to detect to find out what it is,” he said.

    The President compared the situation to a James Bond movie where the war strategy or game plan does not display so much of might. “So ibahin na ninyo because we are dealing with terrorists and there will be explosions after explosions until we find peace,” he said.

    While saying that terrorism and insurgency are still two of the country’s main concerns that have to be addressed in Mindanao, he clarified that there is no issue of discrimination against the Islamic community just because the secessionist groups are composed of Muslims.

    “I’m not saying that for the Moro people. Of course, I am a half-Moro or one-fourth. My mama is a mestiza Maranao, my lola is a Maranao, my lolo is a Chinese,” he said.

    “So kayong mga Moro diyan, do not be offended kasi what we’re talking about is the Republic against the enemies of the state. It has nothing to do with bigotry or discrimination. Far from it, far from it,” he said.

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    President Rody to AFP: Don’t allow drugs, terrorists to compromise future generations

    September 15th, 2016
    President Rodrigo Duterte flanked by AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya Photo  ©

    President Rodrigo Duterte flanked by AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya Photo ©

    PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) not to allow the country to go on a spin that will compromise the future of Filipino children.

    “The horror that we are facing in the coming days would really be terrorism and drugs,” President Duterte said.

    The President’s appeal was issued during his talk with airmen on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

    Ang hingiin ko lang sa inyo, kayong mga sundalo ng Pilipinas, kung it will outlast me at nandiyan pa ‘yan, I would just like to ask you a favor. Huwag ninyong hayaan na talagang itong country will take a deep spin and because you will compromise our children and their children, ‘yung mga apo ninyo,” the Commander-in-Chief told the soldiers.

    Putting his honor, life, and presidency at stake, President Duterte said the gravity of the drug problem is that it has corrupted some sectors of society, including people in government and the bureaucracy.

    “If it will outlast me, then I’ll leave you a legacy of the list of persons you have to take care of. Pag hindi ninyo nadala ito sa maayos na pakiusap, bahala na kayo, alam na ninyo kung anong gawin ninyo. Then restore order, restore sanity in this country.”

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    State of national emergency is not martial law—PDP Laban official

    September 9th, 2016
    President Rodrigo Duterte flanked by AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya Photo ©

    President Rodrigo Duterte flanked by AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya Photo ©

    PARTIDO Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan Policy Study Group Head Jose Antonio Goitia said President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent proclamation of a state of national emergency in the wake of the Davao City night market bombing is meant to protect the people from future attacks and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    Goitia insists that the cowardly and terrorist attack of defenseless civilians in Davao City last week necessitates a swift and firm action from the President as the commander in chief of the armed forces.

    “The proclamation merely asserts President Duterte’s full command of the security forces, both the military and the police, to suppress violent threats in Mindanao and prevent its escalation and spread in other parts of the country,” said Goitia, who also heads the PDP Laban Membership Committee-National Capital Region Council.

    At the same time, he stressed the proclamation is not a declaration of martial law since it “clearly stated that the proclamation is to be exercised with due regard to civil and political liberties.”

    Goitia explained that as a lawyer and former prosecutor, Duterte knows the bounds of his duty and power and he means to exercise it responsibly with public safety as priority, adding that even law experts have opined that there is nothing unconstitutional in the declaration.

    Moreover, Goitia noted that the Arroyo and Estrada administrations have used the power over the military and deployed them to secure public safety after terrorist attacks in 2000 and 2003.

    But unlike Arroyo, Duterte exercised prudence by not curtailing any civil and political liberties in carrying out his duty as commander in chief in the face of terrorist threats. As a man of law, he knows that the 1987 Constitution, which as a reaction to the authoritarian regime that preceded its creation, has enough safeguards against the declaration of martial law.

    “Those who are raising the martial law bogey are either ignorant of these safeguards or falling for the fear-mongering trap of the terrorist themselves,” Goitia said.

    “Martial law alarmist are sowing more confusion and are more concerned with lambasting the President. Instead of supporting actions to prevent further attacks and bringing the perpetrators to justice, they are distracting the administration in its performance of its duty to secure the public and hunt down the terrorists.”

    “Discrediting President Duterte and his administration in the face of terrorist threat is not only insensitive and opportunistic, it is also indirectly tantamount to abetting the goal of the terrorists to sow fear and terror and create divisiveness among the people,” added Goitia.

    “I will not be surprised if anti-Duterte forces will further stoke the fires hysteria to bring down the President as he persevere to crush the threat of violence and criminality. Amidst such threats, the people should all the more be vigilant.”

    PDP-Laban is the political party that carried Pres. Duterte to election victory.

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