Malacañang open to scrapping controversial Oplan Tokhang

Marje Pelayo   •   November 12, 2019   •   1517

Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) keep a man on the ground during a raid in San Martin De Porres district of Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 03 March 2017.  EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has announced that it is willing to scrap the government’s controversial anti-drug Operation Tokhang or Oplan Tokhang.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday (November 11) announced that the administration was allowing Vice President Leni Robredo to do whatever she wanted to do as the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“As long as VP Leni is in charge, whatever she feels that should be enforced, we will do it. It is a ‘yes’ if she wants it,” Panelo said.

“She’s been given the authority. If she wants to scrap it, she’s the anti-drug czar. If she thinks there’s something more effective then she should do that,” she added.

However, former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief now Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who launched the campaign in 2016, reacted to the Vice President’s proposal of scrapping Tokhang.

“I don’t admit that Oplan Tokhang is a failure,” he said.

He noted that if not for Oplan Tokhang, the PNP could not have arrested 130,000 drug personalities and could not have yielded 1.6 million surrenderers.

“What’s wrong with Oplan Tokhang? Baka hindi lang nila matanggap-tanggap talaga na itong Oplan na ito ay talagang sinira ang diskarte ng mga drug personalities dito (Maybe they just couldn’t accept that this Oplan ruined the schemes of drug personalities,)” Dela Rosa stressed.

Oplan Tokhang is the infamous anti-illegal drugs campaign that aims to encourage drug personalities to surrender to authorities but is also hounded by allegations of senseless killings.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Robredo to her new post after her series of rants against the government’s policies on eliminating illegal drugs.

Though Dela Rosa approved of Robredo joining drug raids, the former PNP Chief hit on the Vice President saying she should start working and prove herself in action first before asking for additional budget.

“Mahirap naman kakapasok mo pa lang funds na agad ang hinahanap mo. Dapat trabaho muna (It’s difficult to prioritize funds right after you take over the position. You should prove through actions first),” dela Rosa noted.

Employees getting COVID-19 vaccine during 3-day drive will not be marked absent — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the dates November 29, 30 and December 1 as Bayanihan, Bakunahan COVID-19 vaccination days, according to a document released by the Malacañang on Wednesday.

Under Proclamation No. 1253, employees and workers of the government and the private sector, who will be vaccinated during this period, shall not be considered absent from their work.

“Provided that they present proof of vaccination to their respective employers, subject to rules that may be issued by the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) and the Civil Service Commission,” the order read.

Duterte said the three-day vaccination campaign will be led by the Department of Health, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, in cooperation with the National Task Force against COVID-19.

He directed concerned government agencies and local government units (LGU) to provide necessary support for the effective implementation of the program.

“The LGUs shall mobilize all resources, stakeholders, health human resource and constituents within their areas of jurisdiction to achieve the objectives of the national COVID-19 vaccination days,” he said.

The president also urged medical and allied health associations, faith-based, civil society and non-government organizations, and the private sector to actively participate in the three-day campaign.

“All health workers, including doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, and medical technologists, are called upon to extend their full support and cooperation in providing COVID-19 vaccination during the three-day campaign,” Duterte said.

The three-day COVID-19 vaccination drive aims to inoculate 15 million Filipinos across 16 regions outside of Metro Manila.

This is part of government efforts to scale up the vaccination rate to achieve its target to inoculate over 70% of the country’s population by May 2022.

To date, at least 34 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated since the immunization drive started in March.

Harry Roque to seek Senate post in 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday confirmed he would run for senator in the 2022 national elections.

Roque made the announcement during a Palace briefing, on the last day of filing for substitution of candidates for next year’s polls.

“Ito na po ang huling araw na makakasama n’yo ako bilang inyong presidential spox, IATF spox at spox ng bayan,” he said.

“Masaya akong mission accomplished na po tayo. Iiwan ko ang trabaho ko na mas mabuti kumpara sa ating nadatnan,” he added.

Roque said he will be running for Senate with the endorsement of vice presidential aspirant, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“Babalik po sana tayo sa Kongreso ng Pilipinas, doon po sa Kamara ng Senado… Nais ko pong maging action man sa Senado,” he said.

Roque previously said he would run for senator next year if Sara Duterte-Carpio will seek a national post.

He ended his press briefing with a video message from Duterte-Carpio endorsing his candidacy.

“Ito po ang inyong spox Harry Roque na nagsasabi, I love you, Philippines,” he said.

Roque served as presidential spokesman in 2018 but he quit his post to run for senator in the 2019 elections. He later withdrew his candidacy due to health reasons.

He returned as Duterte’s spokesperson in 2020.

Malacañang has yet to announce Roque’s replacement.

Batas, kailangan bago ipagbawal ang hiring sa hindi bakunado —Malacañang

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

Bagaman isinusulong ng Malacañang sa kahalagahan ng pagbabakuna ng ating mga kababayan kontra COVID-19, iginiit nito na kinakailangan pa rin ang isang batas bago ipagbawal ang hiring sa trabaho ng mga hindi pa nababakunahan.

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. hindi maaaring basta na lamang ipagbawal ang hiring sa trabaho ng mga aplikante na hindi pa bakunado kontra COVID-19.

“Kinakailangan po siguro ng batas kung ipagbabawal ang pagha-hire ng mga non-vaccinated individuals,” aniya.

Isa sa mga suhestyon ng pribadong sektor para mapalawak pa ng pamahalaan ang COVID-19 vaccination rollout ay ang gawing requirement ang bakuna sa hiring sa trabaho.

Pero para sa labor group na Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), discriminatory ang nasabing panukala at hindi makakabuti sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas.

Giit ng ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, marami sa mga Pilipino ang hindi pa rin nababakunahan kaya’t hindi maari na bakunado lamang ang papayagan ng pamahalaan na makapag-apply sa trabaho.

“Babagsak ang ating ekonomiya, maraming mga manggagawa at kanilang pamilya maghihirap dahil kulang po ang supply ng bakuna at hindi pa sila nababakunahan,” aniya.

Sa halip na higpitan ang mga mangagawa na hindi pa bakunado, iginiit ng labor group na dapat solusyunan ng pamahalaan ang mas mabilis na access sa bakuna ng ating mga kababayan lalo na ang mga nasa malalayong lugar.

“Dapat ang pagtuunan natin ng pansin ay paano ba mababakunahan at papaano ba mapaparating ang mga bakuna doon sa mga probinsya at liblib na lugar kung saan maraming mangagawa ang naghihintay at nangangailangan ng bakuna,” ayon kay Tanjusay.

Samantala, sa panayam kanina kay Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre bello III sa isang news program, sinabi nito na may legal na basehan na umano, upang obligahin ng mga employer ang kanilang mga empleyado na magpabakuna sa ilalim ng Alert Level 3.

Gayunman hindi naidetalye ng kalihim kung ano ang binabanggit nitong legal basis sa pagpapabakuna.

Pero nang tanungin sa isang interview si DOLE Usec. Ana Dione, nilinaw nito na wala pang batas na nag-oobliga sa mga mangagawa na magpabakuna laban sa COVID-19.

“Ang requirement na bakunado ang isang empleyado medyo wala po tayong basehan diyan, wala pong basis in law, so ibig sabihin hindi po pupwedeng gawin ng mga kumpanya yan.

“As a basis, yung unvaccinated as basis of termination palagi po nating inuulit, sinabi at uulitin na yan po ay discrimination. If ang termination niya ang sole basis noon ay unvaccinated hindi po, bawal po iyan,” dagdag nito. (Ulat ni JP Nuñez)

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