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SONA 2018: Heavy traffic continues along Commonwealth Avenue

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018


QUEZON CITY, Philippines — As of 10:00 a.m., heavy traffic continues along the northbound lane of Commonwealth Avenue in Batasan Hills, Quezon City.

Two southbound lanes are designated to motorists heading to Fairview.

Even though rallyists are yet to arrive in Batasan Hills, traffic congestion continues along Commonwealth Avenue.

This is because by only two lanes are passable for motorists on the northbound lane of Commonwealth heading towards Fairview area.

Heavy traffic is beginning to build up after Tandang Sora, while motorists can experience light traffic on the southbound lane.

Due to this, two lanes in Commonwealth southbound were opened to traffic for the motorists stuck in the other lane.

Heavy traffic is expected by the time rallyists arrive at Batasan Hills at noon.

Motorists are advised to take alternative routes to avoid traffic jams along Commonwealth Avenue. — Asher Cadapan Jr. | UNTV News & Rescue

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Woman killed instantly in hit-and-run on Commonwealth Ave

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, August 10th, 2018


QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The tattered remains of a hit-and-run victim were found along Commonwealth Avenue on Friday (August 10) at 12:00 a.m.

The victim was identified as 27-year-old Harlee Kaye Catbagan.

The victim’s friends who were with her when the incident happened said she was heading home from a party when Catbagan suddenly darted into the middle of the highway just as a vehicle was approaching.

“Tatawid po kami galing kami sa kabila at isasakay lang po sana namin. Problema po, pagtawid po dito, tumatakbo na po siya papunta dito na hindi namin alam ang problema,” said Eugene Paul Pusa, friend of the victim.

The victim’s companions speculated that Catbagan may have been intoxicated which would explain her sudden behavior.

“Siguro po sobrang lasing po,” said Cedrick Hernandez,one of the victim’s companions.

The fatal crash happened so fast no one could identify the vehicle that hit Catbagan.

According to Quezon City Traffic Sector, it could have been a truck or a bus that ran her over.

Catbagan’s friends were taken to the traffic sector-5 for investigation while the body of the victim was brought to a funeral home.

Authorities are looking for the CCTV footage of the incident to determine the culprit of the hit-and run. — Reynante Ponte

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Key points in Duterte’s SONA 2018: Rice, taxes and war on drugs

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2018


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in his third State of the Nation Address on July 23, 2018. Image courtesy of PCOO/ROBINSON NIÑAL JR.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte did not veer away from his script during his 48-minute-long State of the Nation Address on Monday (July 23) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City, contrary to earlier expectations that the President might opt for an extemporaneous speech.

His moment was almost snatched after more than an hour delay because of a sudden “leadership row” at the House of Representatives between House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo.

But as the saying goes, “the show must go on” for the President and here are the main points of his third SONA.


War on Drugs

The President began his speech emphasizing on his government’s top campaign – the war on illegal drugs. He said “the illegal drugs war will not be sidelined. Instead, it will be as relentless and chilling…as on the day it began.”

He also slammed critics of his anti-drug policy stressing on the “terrible harm that they cause to the people and communities” and the future, especially to the youth. He said human rights advocates and church leaders criticizing the government on war on drugs are “misdirected.”

“Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives,” the President said.

“You worry about the present; I am concerned [about] both the present and the future. I worry about the future because I know what crimes can do to the youth of this country. If not stopped, crimes can make human cesspools of succeeding generations. I will not allow it to happen. Not during my term,” he added.


Lower price of rice

The President vowed to provide a long-term solution to the country’s rice problems such as rice shortage and high prices. He said that lowering the price of rice is a top agenda.

As he certified it as urgent, the President asked Congress to prioritize the passage of a rice tariff system.

“We need to switch from the current quota system in importing rice to a tariff system where rice can be imported more freely. This will give us additional resources for our farmers, reduce the price of rice by up to 7 pesos per kilo, and lower inflation significantly,” he said.

He warned “rice hoarders, cartels and their protectors” to stop their illegal practices as he directed “all intelligence agencies to unmask the perpetrators of this economic sabotage.”

Likewise, the President urged Congress to “pass at the soonest possible time the bill establishing the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund” that would help the coconut farmers.


TRAIN will not stop

In his speech, the President stressed that the government will not allow the suspension of the implementation of TRAIN or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law as it is needed for the country’s sustainable growth and has helped improve infrastructure.

“TRAIN is already helping poor families and senior citizens cope up with rising prices…We cannot and should not. We need this for sustainable growth that leaves no Filipino left behind,” he said.

Thus, he urged Congress to pass all five packages of the administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP). These packages will include additional taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and reform in property valuation, reform in capital income and financial taxes, and an amnesty program


End “Endo”

President Duterte was pleased to announce that the government’s campaign against contractualization and the end-of-contract scheme or Endo “has resulted in the regularization of more than 300,000 workers as of early this month.” He added that through Executive Order 51, workers will somehow get the protection of their rights to security of tenure.

The President, however, said that though he understands that the E.O. does not satisfy all sectors, he does not have the power under the Constitution to end the said labor scheme.

“That is why I add mine to their voices in asking Congress to pass legislation ending the practice of contractualization once and for all,” he said.


On Mining and the Environment

The President emphasized in his SONA that “the protection of the environment must be the top priority and extracted resources must be used for the benefit of the Filipino people, not just a selected few.”

Thus, he warned the mining industry of “restrictive policies” not just taxes, if mining operators continue to compromise the country’s resources and destroy the environment.

“I warn irresponsible miners, along with their patrons, to stop destroying our watersheds, recharge areas, forests, and aquatic resources,” he said.

He ordered the mining operators to “repair what they have mismanaged.” The President warned them of “radical reforms” and among them is the prohibition of open-pit mining.

“For as long as I am here I said: you will just have to contend with me. I expect you to do your part in ensuring our nation’s sustainable development, starting now,” the President stressed.

The President also urged the Senate to urgently pass the National Land Use Act “to put in place a national land use policy that will address our competing land requirements for food, housing, businesses, and environmental conservation.”

He stressed that what happened to Boracay is an indication of the decade-long mismanagement of the country’s land that resulted to abuse and destruction.


Disaster Resiliency

The President said his Cabinet already approved “for immediate endorsement to Congress the passage of a law creating the Department of Disaster Management.”

“We need a truly empowered department characterized by a unity of command, science-based approach and full-time focus on natural hazards and disasters, and the wherewithal to take charge of the disaster risk reduction; preparedness and response; with better recovery and faster rehabilitation,” he said.


On Friendship and Corruption

President Duterte said that though he values his friends, he is willing to let go of them if they go against his anti-corruption policies.

“I value friendship. Make no mistake about it. But it has its limit…Do not make it lonelier by forcing me to end our friendship because you gave me a reason to end it,” he said.

Duterte has fired several high ranking officials, who were close to him because of corruption allegations. However, he remained under fire after some officials accused of irregularities remained close to the President such as Agriculture Undersecretary Pompee La Viña, former Customs Commissioner-turned Civil Defense administrator Nicanor Faeldon, and Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo.

The President also issued a stern warning against government agencies particularly under the executive branch which was reported to have the most number of red tape complaints.

“I particularly call the attention of the agencies with the [most] number of red tape-related reports from the public, make your services truly customer-friendly. Our people deserve efficient, effective, and responsive government services. They deserve nothing less,” he said.

He also directed all local government units to implement the law on ease of doing business and make the process simpler.


On Federalism

President Duterte expressed confidence that the Filipino people will support him in achieving his campaign promise of shifting to a federal form of government.

“I am confident that the Filipino people will stand behind us as we introduce this new fundamental law that will not only strengthen democratic institutions but will also create an environment where every Filipino… will have an equal opportunity to grow and create a future,” he said.

The Consultative Committee formed by the President has submitted a draft federal charter to Congress.


Bangsamoro Organic Law

The President promised to sign the Bangsamoro Organic law within two days in his commitment that his administration “will never deny our Muslim brothers and sisters the basic legal tools to chart their own destiny within the Constitutional framework of our country.”

Duterte said “the law has been passed actually,” but he asked for the next 48 hours to read, sign and ratify the law to make sure that nothing unconstitutional has been inserted therein.

The President was supposed to make history by signing the BOL during his SONA. However, the signing was delayed after the Lower House failed to ratify it due to the “power struggle” on House Speakership hours before the SONA. The Senate ratified the BOL without objection even earlier on Monday. — UNTV News & Rescue


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SONA 2018: Marawi IDPs call for Duterte’s response to complaints

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2018


FILE PHOTO: Marawi residents

Several victims of the Marawi crisis have been complaining to the government about resettlement and financial assistance.

In the third State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte, several internally displaced persons (IDPs) want to hear the government’s response to their complaints.

IDPs from the most affected zone in Marawi City are yet to receive temporary shelters from the government.

They said there are unfair camp managers from Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).

The group was dismayed over the National Housing Authority (NHA) for not paying attention to their housing applications while “bakwits”  in evacuation centers have already received housing units.

They said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development  (DSWD) has allegedly cut-off the government’s weekly assistance for them for the reason that they are home-based and residing with their relatives.

These IDPs, residing with their relatives are calling for the proper assistance since they are also victims of war.

“Paano kami naman mabubuhay na du’n naman sa ground zero ang kabuhayan namin, kaya gusto namin dito na pati yung bahay. Saan kami titira?” said Faridah Mama, one of the IDPs.

(How are we going to survive when our livelihoods are in ground zero? That’s why we also calling for resettlement. Where are we supposed to live?)

“Kailangan mabigyan kami ng tulong galing sa Presidente at malaman ng matataas na yung mga taga-homebased ay mabigyan ng pansin,” said Shalani Magandia, also one of the IDPs.

(We need assistance from the President and to let the higher-ups know [our situation] so that home-based earners will also be given attention.)

Task Force Bangon Marawi said that “bakwit” should cultivate more patience because additional housing units are currently being built in the city.

The inter-agency task force group said that there is only a slow-paced construction due to the rain.

“Ngayon ongoing yung 1,500 na units uli na tinatayo. Meron ding 400 dun sa isang site. Meron ding permanent shelter na 3,000 plus another 1,500. So tuloy tuloy naman yun,” said TFBM field office manager Asec. Felix Castro Jr.

(Construction for 1,500 units is underway. There’s another 400 in one of the sites. There are also 3,000 permanent shelters and another 1,5000.  It’s continuous.)

Currently, the rehabilitation of the most affected area in Marawi has not started. It has been postponed twice because the government has yet to find developers.

Moreover, the task force assured that the completion of the rehabilitation is in 2021.

Apart from the residents, the principal of Marawi Central Pilot Elementary School, calls for the construction of additional classrooms in the said school.

The principal is also asking the president for an increase in their salaries and additional offices because they said they are suffering much more than any other teachers in their temporary learning spaces in Marawi. — Raymond Octobre | UNTV News & Rescue


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