Duterte bets’ lead in senatorial race, proof of public support to administration – Malacañang

Maris Federez   •   May 14, 2019   •   2990

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in one of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) sorties on March 3, 2019. (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

Malacañang is elated with the turn out of results for the administration senatorial bets in the 2019 Midterm Elections.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the election result is proof of the public’s positive response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal for support for the people whom he trusts to advocate the laws that the administration is pushing.

“The victory of the administration’s candidates and the shut out of the Otso Diretso candidates send a strong message that our people yearn for stability and continuity of the genuine reforms that the Administration started. They yearn for a constructive – not obstructionist – Senate which will help in crafting the President’s legislative agenda,” Panelo added.

Malacañang, nevertheless, has made the assurance that the Senate will remain independent although it would seem to consist mostly of President Duterte’s allies.

“No Senate has never been under any president. They always rise above parties and considerations where issues involve national interest, national security, and the interest of the Filipino people,” Panelo said.

The Palace official thanked the Otso Diretso candidates for the fair fight in the elections.

He, however, said that the administration hopes that the opposition will respect the decision of the people.

He added that while Malacañang expects the President’s critics to continue with their role as opposition, it also appeals to them to act in accordance with what the constitution provides. (with reports from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Emergence of community pantries exemplifies bayanihan spirit amid crisis — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The emergence of community pantries “exemplifies the Filipino bayanihan spirit” and is not a condemnation of the government during this challenging time of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Malacañang said Monday.

“It shows the best of the Filipino. It is part of our psyche to help one another. I don’t see it as a condemnation of the government,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.

“It shows the best of us during the worst of times,” he added.

Roque made the statement after some lawmakers remarked that the establishment of community pantries and other similar activities offering aid to those in need is brought about by the government’s failure to provide enough assistance to families heavily affected by the pandemic.

Roque, however, insisted that the popping up of community pantries in various areas only shows the Filipinos’ unity and initiative to help those in need.

“This shows na bayanihan ang umiiral, hindi bangayan,” he said.

In an earlier statement, Roque stressed that the government needs the support and cooperation of everyone to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.

He also assured that the government is working to provide for the needs of the most affected families.

“The social amelioration programs and services of the national government serve as subsidy for the provision of basic necessities and tool for the recovery and rehabilitation of the most affected families and individuals,” he said.

“The medium and long-term solution remains safeguarding the physical safety of our people while ensuring the economic health of the nation. Ingat buhay para sa hanapbuhay,” he added.

He also reminded the public to continue observing health protocols to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Palace assures aid to families affected by ‘Bising’

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang assured that government agencies are ready for the onslaught of Typhoon Bising as it continues to move over the Philippine sea east of Catanduanes.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace is monitoring updates on the typhoon, adding that the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) has conducted pre-disaster risk assessments at the national level.

The OCD has also issued guidance and advisories for the early preparation of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (RDRRMC) and the local government units since April 14, he added.

Roque likewise assured that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has standby funds amounting to P556,438,277.65 in its central office and field offices, as well as stockpiles consisting of 370,058 Family Food Packs amounting to P188,605,445.38, as of April 17, 2021.

“The Department of Health has assured that they have dedicated teams looking into the impact of any disaster, especially in monitoring the evacuation centers in relation to COVID-19 protocol,” he said in a statement.

“They have likewise prepositioned assorted medicines/COVID supplies to regional offices,” he added.

The Palace official also said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has prepositioned all response assistance and instructed all unified commands to assist RDRRMCs in pre-emptive evacuation and other relevant operations.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), for its part, activated nine regions, reiterating the use of OPLAN LISTO and LGU assistance to response operations.

Citing a report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Roque said that pre-emptive evacuation has been carried out in Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Northern and Eastern Samar.

“Our concern is the safety of everyone. We, therefore, ask our people to remain alert and vigilant, cooperate with authorities and continue to observe minimum public health standards for protection against COVID-19,” the Palace official said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Sunday reported that Typhoon Bising has slightly weakened as it continues to move over the Philippine Sea.

Bising is expected to bring heavy rains over the Bicol region and Northern Samar, which may trigger flooding and landslides especially in areas identified as highly susceptible to these hazards.

PAGASA said Bising will “continue moving slowly in the next 6 to 12 hours as it begins to turn generally northward over the Philippine Sea east of Catanduanes.”

“Afterwards, the typhoon will continue moving northward while gradually accelerating until Wednesday evening before turning northeastward and east-northeastward away from the landmass of Luzon,” it added.

“The recent weakening of “BISING” after reaching its peak intensity was caused by a recently completed eyewall replacement cycle. The typhoon is forecast to maintain its current intensity in the next 24 to 48 hours before gradually weakening throughout the remainder of the forecast period,” PAGASA said.

Senate adopts resolution urging Duterte to revoke EO lowering pork import tariffs

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee of the Whole has adopted a resolution calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to withdraw his order to temporarily reduce tariff rates for imported pork and increase its minimum access volume.

At least 17 senators supported the resolution during the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on Thursday that sought to discuss issues on local pork supply and prices due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

“The two policies can potentially spell the demise of our local hog industry, most of them belong to what we call backyard hog raisers,” said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who drafted the resolution.

The Executive Order 128 mandates that the tariff rate for imported pork meat within quota or minimum access volume (MAV) will be reduced to 5 percent during the first three months upon the order’s effectivity, and to 10 percent in during the months four to 12.

For pork imports outside the quota, the order cuts the tariff to 1r5 percent during the first three months upon its effectivity, and 20 percent for the months four to 12.

The order also increases to 350,000 metric tons, from 54,000 metric tons, the total volume of pork that may be imported to the Philippines.

Duterte signed the order last week in a bid to address supply shortage, stabilize prices, and minimize the inflation rate due to the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak.

The resolution hit the Department of Agriculture for its failure to satisfactorily establish through accurate and reliable data that the country will have 388,790 MT of deficit in the supply of pork for the year which necessitates the increase in MAV.

It also stated that based on the testimonies of the resource persons during the first hearing of the committee, “there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the new set of tariff rates and the huge increase in the MAV can cause the demise of the local hog industry and cost the government billions in foregone revenue.

“Industry members and experts believe that the reduction of import duty and the increase in MAV will not necessarily translate to lower pork prices and that such policies can only result in loss of billions of government revenue and the flooding of the market with imported pork,” the resolution read.

The resolution was co-authored by Senate President Vicente Sotto, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, and Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Lito Lapid, Panfilo Lacson, Imee Marcos, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Richard Gordon, Ramon Revilla Jr., Joel Villanueva, and Cynthia Villar.

Drilon earlier questioned Duterte’s move to sign the order while Congress is on break, stressing that “by law, the authority of the president to fix tariff rates while Congress is not in session can be withdrawn or revoked by virtue of a joint resolution.”

If the executive department will not heed the Senate’s call, Drilon said he would file another resolution in May to revoke the executive order and propose appropriate import duties and minimum access volume of pork.

Congress is currently on break and will resume plenary sessions on May 17.

Malacañang earlier acknowledged that Congress has the authority to revoke EO 128 as the president’s power to adjust tariffs is “only a delegated power given by Congress to the President to impose tariff rates, imports or exports pursuant to Sec. 28 par 2, Art VI of the Constitution.”

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