Duterte to veto items in the proposed 2021 national budget

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 25, 2020   •   488

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to veto several items in the proposed 2021 national budget, the Palace confirmed on Friday (December 25).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the ceremonial signing for the P4.5 trillion national budget is scheduled for Monday (December 28). The Palace official, however, did not disclose which items in the national budget will be vetoed by the President.

“Sigurado po na magkakaroon po ng veto message. Pero I am not at liberty to discuss po kung ano itong mga items na ito (I am sure there will be a veto message, but I am not at liberty to discuss what theses items are),” he said.

The education sector will receive the bulk of the budget with P708.2 billion, followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with P694.8 billion. Meanwhile the country’s health sector will receive P287.5 billion. AAC

Duterte to deliver public address on April 12, Roque says

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his public address on Monday (April 12), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. confirmed.

In a text message to reporters on Saturday (April 10), the Palace official said the President will push through with his weekly public address on Monday.

Duterte skipped his public address last week after several members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) tested positive for the COVID-19. Due to his several days of absence, speculations have surfaced questioning the state of the President’s health.

However, several officials, already assured that Duterte is of good health and will deliver his public address on Monday.

Meanwhile, Roque said he was admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. AAC

Palace reacts to Duterte-Duterte tandem in 2022; clarifies idea not from gov’t

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has clarified that the idea of a Duterte-Duterte tandem for the upcoming 2022 national elections did not come from the administration.

During a press briefing on Friday (March 19), Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. said those in the government who support the said tandem are just expressing their own opinion. Roque maintained that President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate is to focus on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Hindi po galing sa gobyerno iyang Duterte-Duterte. Kung mayroon man pong taong gobyerno na nag-e-express niyan, iyan po ay personal na opinion nila dahil po ang mandato po ng President natin, tutok muna tayo sa pandemiya, tsaka na iyang pulitika na iyan (The Duterte-Duterte did not come from the government. If there are government people who are expressing their support, that is their personal opinion because the President’s mandate is to focus on the pandemic. Politics can wait),” Roque said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, said the tandem is “a bit too much” saying that the Philippines is not Davao City.

“The Philippines is not Davao City. If they can do that in Davao City, I don’t think Filipinos are ready for a Davao City-like political situation or arrangement. I don’t think so,” he said in an interview.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party (LP) still has no official stand on the national elections. LP President Senator Francis Pangilinan said it is better to focus on fighting the pandemic.

“Wala pang official stand ang Liberal Party (The Liberal Party still has no official stand yet). We are open to informal talks. But I think in the end, I would rather we focus first on how to overcome the current problem of COVID management and the spread and we can talk about politics maybe 2 to 3 months before the deadline of filing,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Health groups urge better health care system for COVID-19 response

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Various health groups are urging the national government to boost its health care system, especially for its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.

Coalition for People’s Right to Health (CPRH) Co-convenor Dr. Joshua San Pedro said the country should not only rely on vaccines as a way to fight the virus. The group has also called on the national government to provide assistance to far-flung areas that have limited access to health services.

“States are making mistakes kung vaccination lang ang kanyang aasahan. Talagang kailangang kailangan na mapalakas pa rin ang public health measures ensuring na umaabot sa kumonidad ang usaping pangkalusugan at serbiyong pangkalusugan (States are making mistakes if they will only rely on vaccines. We really need to boost our public health measures, ensuring it will reach communities),” he said.

Mass testing, San Pedro added, is key in preventing the spread of COVID-19. He also lamented that the national government-imposed travel restrictions a bit late.

Meanwhile, Filipino Nurses United has also called on the government to hire more nurses as several COVID-19 hospitals are at their full capacity, which increases the workload of nurses.

“We have received a report from our members that one nurse cares for at least 12 patients and now they are positive for COVID-19. Ideally, one nurse will care for at least three patients in a COVID-19 Ward. One nurse and one patient for critical and severe cases of COVID,” according to Maristela Abenajor of Filipino Nurses United. AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)


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