Duterte inaugurates Sariaya Bypass Road

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021   •   277

President Rodrigo Duterte has inaugurated the 7.42-kilometer long Sariaya Bypass Road in Quezon Province.

In a speech after unveiling the marker on the new road on Thursday, Duterte said the completion of the project affirms the administration’s “strong commitment to improve the quality of life of Filipinos by pursuing strategic infrastructure projects across the country thereby improving connectivity and mobility, creating jobs, and dispersing economic activity throughout the regions.”

“It will likewise spur the growth of industries and business opportunities in the area, thereby boosting the socio-economic development of Quezon Province and improve the lives of the people,” Duterte said.

“As we continue to overcome the current pandemic and carefully reopen our national and local economies, infrastructure development will play a vital role in our success,” he added.

The bypass road is seen to provide faster and safer travel for motorists and will also allow efficient transport of goods to and from the markets in Southern Luzon, the President said.

The road could also lessen the traffic volume along Daang Maharlika from Sariaya to Lucena City by 40 percent.

Stretching from the Manila South Road Daang Maharlika to the Quezon Eco-Tourism Road, the Sariaya Bypass Road is expected to cater to around 15,000 motorists and commuters daily going to the different provinces in the Southern Tagalog Region.

At the same time, it is seen to spur economic and social development through efficient transportation, improved road safety and enhanced business opportunities in Quezon Province.

The Sariaya Bypass Road is one of the flagship projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under the administration’s Build, Build, Build Program.

Duterte to join democracy summit hosted by US – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the “Summit for Democracy” to be hosted by the United States government this week, Malacañang said.

In a statement, the Office of the President said Duterte will join the summit set on December 9 to 10 “upon the invitation of US President Joe Biden.”

“President Biden has invited heads of state and government, other government leaders and voices from the business and nongovernment sectors to join the US in taking action to strengthen democracy,” the Palace said.

Malacañang said Duterte “has accepted” Biden’s invitation.

“President Duterte likewise welcomes the opportunity to share the Philippine democratic experience and commitment to democratic values and nation-building at the Summit for Democracy,” it added.

Biden will convene world leaders from government, the private sector, business and the civil society in the virtual summit. It will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad, according to the US State Department.

The summit has three key themes: Defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.

The United States said the summit will offer an opportunity to listen, learn, and engage with a diverse range of actors whose support and commitment is critical for global democratic renewal.

Romeo Brawner Jr. named as new PH Army chief

Robie de Guzman   •   December 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Major General Romeo Brawner Jr. as the new commanding general of the Philippine Army, Malacañang announced.

“The Palace confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has approved the designation of MGen Romeo S. Brawner Jr. as Commanding General of the Philippine Army,” the Palace said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We wish General Brawner all the best in his new assignment,” it added.

Brawner is the current commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

He will take over the post from Lieutenant General Andres Centino, who is now the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Malacañang expressed confidence that Brawner “will continue the reform initiatives his predecessors pursued in order to transform the largest branch of the Armed Forces of the Philippines into a more dynamic and more professional organization true to its mandate to serve our people and secure our nation.”

Brawner is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Makatao Class of 1989.

He also served as acting commandant of cades at the PMA, spokesperson of the Joint Task Force Marawi at the height of the campaign against Islamic State-linked militants who laid siege in Marawi City in 2017.

He also served as the commander of the 103rd Brigade in Mindanao and served as Army spokesperson.

Duterte signs order regulating prices of more drugs in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an order that would regulate the prices of more drugs and medicines being used to address the leading causes of morbidity in the country, Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a statement, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 155 on Tuesday, December 7.

The order states that price regulation via maximum retail price (MRP) and/or maximum wholesale price (MW) will be imposed on 34 drug molecules and 71 drug formulas used in agents affecting bone metabolism, analgesics, anesthetics, anti-angina, antiarrhythmics, anti-asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease medicines, antibiotics, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, antidiabetic drugs, antidiuretics, and antiemetics.

The EO also covers drug molecules and formulas utilized in anti-glaucoma, anti-hypercholesterolemia medicines, antihypertensive medicines, anti-neoplastic/anti-cancer medicines, antiparkinsons drugs, drugs for overactive bladders, growth hormone inhibitors, immunosuppressant drugs, iron chelating agents, and psoriasis, seborrhea and ichthyosis medicines.

The order required all manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, traders, and retailers to display their retail prices according to the MRP.

The EO specifies that the MRP, “preceded by the words ‘RETAIL PRICE NOT TO EXCEED,’ and ‘UNDER DRUG PRICE REGULATION,’ on a red strip, shall be clearly printed on the label of the immediate container of the drug and medicine and the minimum pack thereof offered for retail.”

The list of medicines and their corresponding prices shall be subject to the review of the Department of Health (DOH), in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) six months from the effectivity of the EO, and every six months thereafter.

Violations of the EO shall be dealt with in accordance with RA No. 9502 or the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, and other related laws.

Pursuant to the said law, the Secretary of Health is directed to investigate alleged violations of the price cap, and impose administrative fines of not less than P50,000 nor more than P5,000,000.

“This (order) is part of efforts to improve access to affordable, quality medicines and reduce the health-related expenses of our countrymen, consistent with the goals of the Universal Health Care Act,” Nograles said.

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