Duterte warns water concessionaires: I will order the AFP to take over

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 13, 2019   •   980

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Maynilad and Manila Water that he will order the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take over water distribution operations.

“I will order the Armed Forces to operate the water, ‘Sige, sundalo, take over kayo’ (Soldiers, go take over). And I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus but only against economic sabotage,” he said during the birthday celebration of former Senator Manny Villar on Thursday (December 12).

The Chief Executive has previously threatened the two water concessionaires with “economic sabotage” due to alleged irregular water deals.

In a letter, the two companies revoked their compensation claims prompting the government to pay almost P11 billion, as ordered by an attribution court in Singapore.

They have also offered to revisit the contracts in order to come up with possible amendments.

However, Malacañang said the President is still reviewing the said letter and has yet to decide on his next action on the issue.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has advised the two water concessionaires that the President will strive to enforce the law.

“The concessionaires are put on notice that the Chief Executive will not renege from his constitutional duty of enforcing the law. Neither will he be swayed nor enticed into accepting a compromise. Dura lex sed lex,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

AFP to assist in distribution of SAP 2nd tranche in ‘problematic areas’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is ready to provide assistance to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the distribution of the second tranche of the emergency subsidy under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

In a statement on Wednesday, AFP Spokesperson Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said the military has coordinated with the DSWD to discuss the process and the security to be provided in the distribution of cash assistance especially in the ‘problematic areas’.

Arevalo said that ‘problematic areas’ include those where SAP anomalies were reported, geographically-isolated barangays in island municipalities and far-flung areas, and locations with reported presence of terrorists and other threat groups.

The military spokesperson expressed confidence that the military will be able to do its part in the mission, as they have undertaken a similar task in the past such as the distribution of election materials in hotspot areas.

“We will employ in this task our experience in distributing election paraphernalia during local polls,” Arevalo said.

He also said that the new task may “affect our security operations” in terms of troop adjustments, but he assured that this is “not enough to hamper operational success.”

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista, a former Philippine Army chief, on Tuesday revealed that the AFP and the Philippine National Police will assist them in the distribution of cash assistance as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

MWSS, nagtakda na ng deadline sa pagbabayad ng water bill

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagtakda na ng deadline ang Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) para sa pagbabayad ng water bills na halos tatlong buwang naipon dahil sa ipinatutupad na community quarantine.

Sa panayam ng UNTV program na Serbisyong Bayanihan ngayong Miyerkules, sinabi ni MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty na mayroong hanggang Hulyo 31 para magbayad ng bill ang mga kumukonsumo ng 10 cubic meters pababa kada buwan.

Ang mga gumagamit naman ng tubig na mahigit sa 10 cubic meters kada buwan ay may palugit hanggang Agosto 31.

Pagpapauna ni Ty, asahan na ng mga consumer ang bahagyang pagtaas ng bill lalo’t panahon ngayon ng tag-init at marami ang nasa loob ng kani-kanilang mga tahanan kaya mataas ang konsumo sa tubig.

“Sana maintindihan natin, itong water bill na ito halos lahat sa mga consumer ay ito po yung water bill nila for March, April and May. During summer season din po ito, so mas mainit, mas madami ang consumption ng mga tao at alam natin since work from home halos lahat consumer,” aniya.

Nilinaw naman  ng opisyal na puwede namang utay-utayin ng mga consumer ang pagbabayad sa bill nila sa Manila Water at Maynilad.

Sinabi rin ni Ty na sa Hunyo 1 pa magsisimulang magbasa ng metro at maglalabas ng bill ang Maynilad at Manila Water.

Sa Agosto 1 naman sisimulan ng dalawang water concessionaires ang pamumutol sa serbisyo ng mga hindi makapagbabayad ng kanilang bill para sa mga kumu-konsumo ng 10 cubic meters pababa.

Setyembre 1 naman ang schedule ng service disconnection para sa mahigit 10 cubic meters ang konsumo bawat buwan.

Tiniyak naman ng MWSS na wala pa silang ipinatutupad na anumang adjustment sa singil ng tubig sa gitna ng umiiral na community quarantine.

“Importante sa atin na wala pong bills shock ayaw po natin na magulat ang ating mga consumers na bigla nalang lalaki ang kanilang water bill,” ani Ty. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

More troops deployed in Luzon to strictly enforce COVID-19 quarantine protocols

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Eight hundred reservists of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and 116 Police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos have been deployed in different areas in Luzon amid the enforcement of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Archie Gamboa said the troops will assist local government units (LGU) in strictly implementing quarantine regulations.

“Aming ipatutupad simula ngayon ang mahigpit na enhanced community quarantine ayon sa Bayanihan Act sa buong Luzon particularly sa Metro Manila, Region 3 at Calabarzon at ganun din sa mga piling lugar sa mga lokal na pamahalaan sa buong bansa para sa kaligtasan ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” Gamboa said in PNP’s Rektang Konek program aired on UNTV.

The PNP chief said SAF troopers will be on duty from 6 a.m. to 12 noon daily in the areas of Manila, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig, Las Piñas, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Marikina.

“We need to do this because we also want to mitigate the continued risks faced by frontline PNP personnel who are exposed to increasing number of people and motorists violating the ECQ at checkpoints,” he said.

Meanwhile, AFP Spokesperson Marin Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said that 500 of the 800 soldiers will be deployed in Manila and Quezon City while the remaining will be assigned in Parañaque and Pasay.

These areas have reported the most number of ECQ violations, based on data from national police.

The Southern Police District recorded 15,475 violators, Northern Police District with 7,407 cases, Eastern Police and Quezon City Police Districts each recorded 2,000 while the Manila Police District reported about 1,000 quarantine violations.

Gamboa said ECQ violators will be charged under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code, which carries penalties for the act of resistance and disobedience to a person in authority.

“These violations of law carry with it appropriate penalties and fine,” Gamboa said. “But what will be more burdensome for the violators are the tedious judicial process and the implications of derogatory record to their personal criminal profile,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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