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Senate likely to consider second extension of Martial Law

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, December 10th, 2018

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Security officials met with members of the Senate on Monday (December 10) to defend their recommendation of extending the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao for another year.

Present in the executive session were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he is likely to consider the recommendation due to threats of rebellion.

“In my opinion, there is a continuing rebellion. There is an actual rebellion on going,” said Sotto.

Meanwhile, Senator Ralph Rector is in favor of the extension, however, not for one year but for six months only.

“What is appealing is that they’re saying that they would be able to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf  if we give them a year of extension and to reduce the capability of CPP-NPA. That’s an appealing proposition to extend martial law. But then, why not 6 months?” Recto said.

According to Sotto, the Congress is likely to convene in a joint session on Wednesday to discuss the proposed one year extension of Martial Law.

It was in May 23, 2017 when the entire Mindanao region was placed under Martial Law following attacks from Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.

It was extended to a year until December 31, 2017 and another extension until the last day of this year. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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Senator-elect Marcos to prioritize laws on poverty alleviation, agriculture

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Imee Marcos

MANILA, Philippines – If Senator-elect Imee Marcos were to be asked, she would choose to chair the Senate Committee on Social Welfare as she wants to focus on crafting bills that would help alleviate poverty.

“Gusto ko sana social welfare,” the incoming senator said during an interview with the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon on Friday (May 31).

“Titingnan natin ang 4Ps kasi dapat i-expand iyong work tapos ibabagsak ang presyo, importante iyon,” she added.

But in consideration of the more senior senators, Marcos said it will depend on the decision of Senator Joel Villanueva who currently chairs the Social Welfare Committee if he would give up the chairmanship.

Nevertheless, the senator-elect said she is still okay with the Senate Committee on Local Government as it also fits her credentials having years of experience in local governance.

Despite the controversies thrown against her and her family, Marcos ranked eight in the 2019 senatorial race with over 15,800,000 votes.

When the 18th Congress begins, Senator-elect Marcos said she would prioritize measures on lowering poverty incidence in the country, land reform, and peace and order or the anti-terror bill among others.

“Land reform agad-agad. Iyong wala nang utang utang (kundi) ibigay na ang lupa. Hahanap tayo ng Sistema dyan,) she noted.

Marcos also wants to amend the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and push for more Cash-for-Work programs instead of the ‘dole-out’ scheme.

She said she supports the establishment of a Department of Water to address the country’s water problem as well as measures for agricultural development and lowering the price of basic commodities.

She also wants to amend the current Solo Parent Law and push for more benefits for single parents.

“Dahil walang masaydong benepisyo ang mga nanay na mag-isa. Mahirap kasi. It’s hard to bring up kids by yourself,” she explained.

Marcos admitted she is against the Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC), a preference contrary to the Duterte administration.

She would support, however, measures that would establish a mandatory citizenship service instead of mandatory military service.

“Citizenship training na hindi pinipilit na maging military dahil hindi po pwedeng pilitin ang tao na maging sundalo,” she explained.

“I can bring another perspective to the issue. Hindi pwedeng pilitin ang bata (na maging sundalo) pero iyong citizenship ng isang Pilipino, iyong pagiging makabayan, iyon kailangan at agree ako na gawing mandatory iyon,” she added.

She wants an increase in tobacco and other sin taxes; reinstate the death penalty for drug-related crimes; extend the term of barangay officials and synchronize elections with the national level; benefits for retiring local officials; reform Sangguniang Kabataan system; and, the establishment of the Department of Overseas Filipino Worker.

When asked if she would revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, a known legacy of his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the incoming senator said it is not necessary as there are alternative sources of energy similar to the windmills of Ilocos Norte. – (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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Bicam approves bill granting 100% service charge to workers

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

The bicameral committee has approved the “Service Charge” bill that seeks to give 100% of the service charge to hotel and restaurant employees.

At present, only 85% of the total service charge is given to employees while the remaining 15% goes to management.

“After more than 40 years ng kasaysayan natin from the presidential decree in ’74, ’75, ngayon ang service charge ay 100% na mapupunta sa ating mga workers, (After more than 40 years in our history from the presidential decree in ’74, ’75—now the service charge goes to the workers 100%)” Senator Joel Villanueva told reporters. 

Villanueva added that the Senate version provides 100% service charge to employees while the House’s version only provides 90% of the collected service charge to employees.

He also lamented that there are reports, and surveys where employees are not able to receive the service charge allotted to them.

“Even establishments in Quezon City na baligtad pa nga ang nangyayari; 15% ang nakukuha ng mga waiters tapos 75% ang nakukuha ng management. So, ito ay mawawakasan ngayong araw na ito, (Even establishments in Quezon City, waiters receive only 15% while the management gets the remaining percentage. So, that practice ends today),” Villanueva said.

A corresponding punishment for violators has been laid out in the proposed bill.(with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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‘Destroyer of reputation’: Trillanes’ return to jail, possible – Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 27th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Antonio Trillanes in a press conference at Ilustrado in Intramuros on July 1, 2014. | PVI/Willie Sy

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement wished outgoing Senator Antonio Trillanes IV the best of luck as he may need it once he exits the Senate.

“While many will wish Mr. Trillanes good riddance as he is about to leave the hallowed halls of the Senate at the end of June of this year, we will instead wish him luck as he faces another prospect of being placed behind bars again as the self-confessed black propagandist turns against his master, even as his victims look forward to seeing the Senate, or better yet the Government, without the cantankerously obnoxious coup plotter,” Panelo said.

This was Panelo’s response to Trillanes following the senator’s latest rant on Twitter.

“Ayan ka na naman. Hindi ka pa nga nakakabawi sa kapalpakan mo dun sa inimbento mong offshore bank accounts na bintang mo sakin pati na rin dun sa mga sinabi mo laban sa Nanay ko, tapos may bago ka na namang bintang. This time si Bikoy naman ang source mo. Henyo ka talaga, Duts,” Trillanes said on his post referring President Rodrigo Duterte as “Duts”.

Just recently, President Duterte tagged Trillanes as “shameless” for ruining the Senate and for using his power as senator to run after people.

“You are shameless. You are not even a man,” Duterte said during a thanksgiving party for Senator-elect Bong Go.

Panelo said, Trillanes should answer the accusations of Peter Joemel Advincula (alias Bikoy) against him.

“The outgoing Senator should first address the serious allegation pointing to him as the mastermind and in conspiracy with certain political leaders identified with the opposition of the unlawful plot to topple the Duterte Administration,” the Presidential Spokesperson said.

Panelo said throughout Trillanes’ service in the Senate, he just proved himself as a “destroyer of reputations of people”.

With that reputation, Panelo believes Trillanes’ exit from the Senate will be his “great service to the nation.”

Trillanes’ term as senator ends in June this year.

The outgoing senator, meanwhile, posted a taunting reply to the Presidential Spokesperson.

“Panelo’s long press release betrays his and Duterte’s obsession about me. While, I’m supposed to feel good knowing that I have successfully gotten under their skin, but coming from somebody like Panelo, it somehow feels creepy,” he said in a tweet. — Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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