ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines—Duterte

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 10, 2019   •   2233

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and the ISIS flag | Courtesy : PCOO

President Rodrigo Duterte is confident that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines.

During his speech in Jolo, Sulu on Tuesday (April 9) in commemoration of the Day of Valor, he said that the government is close to crushing violent extremism and is pleased with the military efforts against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“Your efforts have brought us even closer to our ultimate objective of totally crushing the violent extremism at its roots. With this, I can confidently declare that ISIS will never gain foothold anywhere in the Philippines,” he said.

ISIS-linked militants held Marawi City hostage back in 2017. The military was able to retake the city after five months killing almost 900 insurgents including Isnilon Hapilon, considered leader of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

The Chief Executive assured that he will continue the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while he is still in office. He will also provide assistance to the military and their families.

He committed to release P500 million fund for the military.

“I will continue to release 500 more and 500 more millions to my soldiers who do something for their country. I will see to it that you will have funds when you retire and that your school—your children and their schooling will be assured even if we are no longer there either by natural or by any other means of saying goodbye to this world. I have your back covered,” the president said.

The Chief Executive is eyeing on appointing former military officials to government posts. However, he denied using the military to empower himself.

He said that he prefers the military because he has seen failure and corruption in the bureaucracy.

“Hindi ako sabihin na pinapalakas ko ang sarili ko sa (I am not empowering myself using the) military because I do not need that. The people elected me. But I have a special fondness for the military for being fundamentally honest at (and) industrious. Kaya as you would see, the next few officials coming in would be military guys,” he added.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DILG to discuss with LGUs, PNP parameters of Duterte’s new order to arrest mask violators

Marje Pelayo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (May 5) ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest people who are not wearing their face mask properly in public.

President Duterte made the order during his pre-recorded address after noting that some people mindlessly don a face mask just so they can comply with the protocol.

“Itong mask, ‘yung iba, for compliance lang. Naglalagay ng mask pero nakalabas ‘yung ilong. I-detain mo tapos imbestigahan mo siya kung bakit ganoon ang behavior,“ he told the PNP adding that he has to be strict to curb COVID-19 transmission.

“Kapag hindi ko higpitan, walang mangyayari. Iyan nga, for compliance lang kayo,” he added.

In an interview following Duterte’s announcement, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said they still have to discuss the new directive with the PNP.

“I think the President was serious. We will have to sit down with the Philippine National Police [..] to determine the parameters of the presidential directive. And we have to reconcile this with the various ordinances that were issued by the LGUs,” Malaya noted.

“I must emphasize that what people are violating here are local ordinances that were issued by the local sanggunian. We will take a look on how we can implement this directive of the President,” he added.

As for the quarantine violations, Malaya stressed that the IATF resolution is implemented through ordinances passed by the local government units. The penalty for a specific violation would depend on each LGU.

“So we may have to talk with the LGUs and of course the Philippine National Police,” Malaya said.

Malaya emphasized that it is the responsibility of the local chief executives and barangay officials to implement all minimum health standards in their respective jurisdictions.

Duterte on retaking West Philippine Sea: ‘I never promised the people I would’

Marje Pelayo   •   May 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte recalled his conversation with President Xi Jinping regarding the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

According to Duterte he asked the communist leader to just let Filipinos fish in the West Philippine Sea.

“I told China, it’s yours according to you, I’ve heard several times. But you also have heard of the fact that people are hungry. Ang Pilipino ay gutom (Filipinos are hungry) and you are not oblivious to that fact. So kindly just allow our fishermen to fish in peace,” he said.

The President said he is ready to talk with China should conflict arise over the disputed territory.

“There’s no reason for trouble. If there is one brewing, you call our attention and we can talk immediately to solve the problem,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive said he never made a campaign promise to retake the WPS.

“I never, never in my campaign as president, promised the people that I would retake the West Philippine Sea. I did not promise that I would pressure China,” he said. “I never mentioned about China and the Philippines in my campaign because that was a very serious matter.”

But President Duterte stressed that he is ready to fight for the country’s sovereignty and he will not order a retreat of Philippine vessels patrolling in the area.

Reacting to Duterte’s statement, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded the former of  his statement during the presidential campaign about riding on a jetski to Scarborough Shoal and hoisting the Philippine flag there.

He also said Duterte had issued a statement fully supporting the arbitration case against China.

Thus, Carpio said, President Duterte cannot say that he never mentioned the West Philippine Sea issue or he would be admitting that he was fooling millions of Filipinos which, the former justice said, is tantamount to “grand estafa”.

“President Duterte cannot now say that he never discussed or mentioned the West Philippine Sea issue when he was campaigning for President. Otherwise, he would be admitting that he was fooling the Filipino people big time. There is a term for that–grand estafa or grand larceny. Making a false promise to get 16 million votes,” Carpio said.

For Senator Panfilo Lacson, it is necessary to revisit the Philippines’ diplomatic relations with China.

“Maybe a review of the country’s diplomatic relations is timely and called for. All the diplomatic protests that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs filed have been ignored as if nothing was filed at all. The continued incursions and bullying finally got his goat,” he said. MNP (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

PACC creates task force to conduct lifestyle checks on gov’t personnel

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — In line with the national government’s intensified efforts to fight corruption in the country, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has created Task Force on Lifestyle Check.

PACC Chairman Greco Belgica said the task force will focus on officials who are always reported to be involved in anomalies but there are no documents or evidence that can prove such allegations.

Belgica said through lifestyle checks, the agency will be able to determine inconsistencies in their wealth or if there are any undeclared properties.

Ganyan po ang korapsyon, talagang tagong-tago iyan (That’s how corruption works, it is very discreet). However, by looking at their bank accounts, their properties, their SALN [Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth]—kung ang kanilang gastos at ari-arian ay hindi commensurate sa kanilang kinikita sila po ay pwedeng kasuhan (and if their expenses and properties do not commensurate with their income, they can be held accountable),he said.

The PACC is also coordinating with local authorities and other government agencies in validating reports of anomalies or corruption in various government agencies around the country.

Belgica reminds government officials and personnel to declare their properties with honesty. He reiterated that unexplained wealth is a violation of the law.

“Living beyond your means that you cannot explain and yet you are spending like a billionaire, millionaire that is highly questionable,” he said. AAC

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