Items filtered by date: Thursday, 20 April 2017

P1M reward for suspects behind foiled Bohol attack

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is ready to give P1 million as reward for the apprehension, "dead or alive", of each Abu Sayyaf member behind the foiled terror attack in Bohol.
"I have a P1-million offer, per person. Even just a tip, give it to the police and military, no questions asked," he said on Wednesday, April 19, during a chance interview in Tagbilaran, Bohol.
He was there to attend a security briefing for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. Some ASEAN 2017 events will be held in Bohol this week.
"Dead or alive man 'yan, may reward, pero mas gusto ko 'yung dead kasi 'yung alive, magpakain pa ako ma'am, magastos masyado," said the President.
(Dead or alive there will be a reward, but I prefer dead because you'd have to feed the living, it's more costly.)
He said 6 Abu Sayyaf members are thought to have escaped during a clash between government forces and their group on April 11.
Military and police, with the help of locals, were able to foil a terror attack by the group.
Duterte said the terror attack was targeting ASEAN meetings to be held in Bohol this month.
Arming civilians
The President also intends to empower civilians to carry arms so they can effectively carry out his orders against the terrorists. If they end up facing legal cases for having killed someone, Duterte said he would pardon them. It's the same promise he gave to military and police who will face cases as they implement his drug war.
"I intend to also arm the civilians and I will include the civilians, if you kill, you do not have to worry, you just go to the police and make a report and state your truth and you won't have any problem, I'll take care of you. I'll pardon you," he said.
But he said he still has to consult local government officials who may have issues with such an order.
"I have to talk to local officials, they might have some objections," he added.
Contain terror threat
During the security briefing, Duterte gave orders to security forces to contain the terror threat in Mindanao.
"They must not reach the places well beyond the Mindanao Sea, dapat doon lang sila (they should just stay there)," he said.
The foiled terror attack in Bohol has sparked concern about Abu Sayyaf presence in regions outside Mindanao.
Duterte expressed confidence with the capability of cops and soldiers to monitor the movements of terrorists using a satellite-based tagging system.
If the terror threat spins out of control, he warned that he would not hesitate to take his "last option": to invade the terrorist-infested areas of Jolo, Sulu. -- Rappler


Complaint filed vs. ERC chair over civil service violations

MANILA -- Commissioners from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Wednesday, April 19, filed a complaint against the agency's chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Jose Vicente Salazar for allegedly violating existing laws and rules on civil service.
In their complaint-affidavit filed with the Civil Service Commission (CSC), ERC commissioners Alfredo Non, Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc, Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit and Geronimo Sta. Ana accused Salazar of violating Republic Act 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), RA 9485, or the Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA), CSC Memorandum Circular No. 6 series of 2005, as well as other pertinent civil service rules and regulations.
A report on 24 Oras said Salazar has yet to issue a statement regarding the complaint.
In their complaint, the commissioners alleged that Salazar solely exercised the power to appoint, designate and reappoint several ERC officials, including executive director Atty. Neil Simon Silva, without the authority from the Commission in violation of the EPIRA.
EPIRA states that it is the Commission that has power to appoint the executive director and the members of the technical staff.
"The EPIRA did not exclusively bestow on the Chairman of the ERC the power to appoint the Executive Director and the members of the technical staff. Thus, the power to appoint them is still lodged with the Commission," the complaint read.
The commissioners also argued that Salazar violated the ARTA when he designated Ronaldo Gomez as OIC Executive Director in the alleged absence of Silva.
The implementing rules and regulations of the ARTA issued by the CSC states that when the regular signatory for a transaction under "frontline services" is absent and there are two or more officials next to him or her to sign, "the appropriate office order shall prescribe the order of priority among the officials next in rank within the same organizational unit."
Salazar also allegedly violated the CSC Memorandum Circular No. 6 series of 2005 when he designated Gomez as OIC Executive Director and Esteban Lorenzo Jose Riva, his head executive assistant and first cousin, as OIC of the Administrative Division of the Financial and Administrative Service (FAS).
The memorandum states that "employees to be designated should hold permanent appointments to career positions."
The commissioners argued that Gomez was vaguely appointed to his position through Salazar's Office Order No. 60 series of 2017.
They argued that the order did not provide a reason for the inability of the permanent holder to discharge his functions. There was also supposedly no specific period when the designation would take effect.
Meanwhile, Riva's position as head executive assistant was confidential and co-terminus, making him ineligible for a permanent position, the commissioners claimed.
Preventive suspension
With these alleged violations, the commissioners asked the CSC to preventively suspend Salazar from his position.
"As can be gleaned from the foregoing, the charges against Chairman Salazar clearly involves dishonesty, oppression and grave misconduct," the commissioners said.
They also said Salazar has the tendency to tamper with evidence against him --- a possibility that the preventive suspension seeks to avoid.
The commissioners said Salazar designated OIC Executive Director Gomez as OIC CEO in his absence.
This, even though Malacañang had designated Commissioner Sta. Ana as OIC CEO, as Salazar recommended himself.
But Salazar's order in which Sta. Ana's designation is stated is not found in the ERC docket, the commissioners said.
"[T]his clearly shows that Salazar has the tendency to manufacture or conceal evidence in his favor. As such, he should be temporarily removed from office while the complaint is pending to prevent him from further tampering with evidence that might be used against him," they added.
Before this, Salazar was embroiled in the allegedly anomalous transactions within the ERC which were revealed in one of the suicide notes of the late ERC director Francisco Jose Villa Jr.
The NBI earlier this month asked the Office of the Ombudsman to launch a probe against Salazar and three others over an allegedly anomalous audiovisual presentation (AVP) project, saying that they violated Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 65 of the Government Procurement Reform Act. — GMA News


11th Ambassadors’ Tour launched in San Francisco

After a year of absence, the Department of Tourism (DOT) flagship project Ambassadors,Consul-Generals, and Tourism Directors’ Tour (ACGTDT) for this year was launched by the Philippine San Francisco Consulate.
Led by theDepartment of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the DOT’s Tourism PromotionsBoard and Rajah Tours, the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour will take place in thePhilippines on 11-16 July 2017 with the itinerary combining the best of MetropolitanManila up North and the sprawling city of Davao in the South into one adventure-packed and enriching vacation experience.
Participants in the four-day stay in Davao, the King City of the South and current seat of power in the Philippines will be presented with an opportunity to experienceDavao up-close and revel in Davao’s picturesque landscapes through its nature parks, agricultural farms, and resorts, experience the diversity of its people through a series of courtesy calls with Philippine government officials, and feel the harmony of its culture through its heritage and cultural museums.
The tour also seeks to provide its participants with enough experience to engage the irrespective communities and leverage goodwill towards Filipinos and generate interest in the Philippines as a new, safer, more beautiful Philippines,.
Delegates who will be part of the program become “Filipino ambassadors” in their own right,carrying a fresh perspective and the message of a new and improved Philippines when they go back to the United States well-capable of showcasing the strides made in tourism, economic development, and public safety in the Philippines to the larger international community.
In an interview, Philippine San Francisco Consul-General Henry Bensurto Jr. shared that they want this ambassadors’ tour to have a meaning of pure enjoyment with emphasis to the reconnecting, empowerment, and sparking of the Filipino culture and heritage.
“We are using this as a platform to allow Filipinos to spark the Filipino spirit by experiencing actually what it is to be in the Philippines to feel the culture right in Manila and Davao. We are shifting demographics in this year’sAmbassadors Tour to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation as their growth is surpassing the number of 1st generationFilipino-Americans. It is very important that we do something to connect to these generations primarily through immersion,” added Bensurto.
Bensurto explained that the shift in demographics also was done to avoid losing generations ofFilipinos who won’t consider themselves Filipinos or not even aware of where they come from simply because they were not expose to the culture.
“This is along-term strategic thinking because the demographic shows that the rate of growth of the 3rd and 4th generation ofFilipino-Americans is now higher than the growth of migration from thePhilippines. And this is going to be aggravated we assume and presume in the next five years if the immigration policy here is the U.S. is restricted when there could be a slowdown in terms of migration of first generation, who are inturn through the natural process of aging, will diminish in number,” added Bensurto..
Philippine TourismDirector in San Francisco Pura Molintas disclosed that they were not able to hold the event last year because it was election year.
“We were preparing for and assisting in the overseas absentee voting here in the U.S. just the same, I am very excited to have this back again this year making us aggressive in promoting this one,” Molintas shared. “There was no momentum lost when we skipped last year because it was just like a break.” .
Husband and wife Arthur and Rose Ozoa the first participants from San Francisco were the first to sign up for the tour.
“I am fromDavao and was the past president of Davaoeños in California the tour in 2012was good. It was well worth the price. We expect to be given first-class accommodation in the hotels we will checking-in for this coming trip,” Arthur revealed..
Rose imparted that they joined the 2012 tour and, “I liked it so much. It was nice the places we went to that year. Since we are from Davao, we also want to do our share in promoting Davao too.” To entice Filipino Americans in the U.S. andFilipino-Canadians in Canada to deepen their appreciation of beauty of our country, its rich history, heritage and culture
The 11thAmbassadors’ Tour has all-in round-trip and land package starting price fromSan Francisco airport at US$1,738 per passenger while the land-only package starts at US$790 per passenger.
The Ambassadors,Consul-Generals, and Tourism Directors’ Tour was conceptualized in 2004 by allForeign Service Posts in the U.S. and Canada and the Department of Tourism as a flagship project that was formally launched in 2005 with more than 500 participants.
The project aims to attract not only Fil-Ams and foreign tourists to see and visit the various destinations in the Philippines and discover the beauty of the islands,its white sand beaches, nature’s eco-tourism, adventure sites like scuba diving, mountain climbing, trekking, and have the opportunity to experience the warm hospitality of the Filipino people, promote to the travelers and tourists that the Philippines is a safe place to travel, entice Fil-Ams and foreigners to invest in the Philippines particularly in tourism projects, real estate and other tourism related industries, and to promote medical tourism as well as health and wellness programs which the Department of Tourism jointly undertake with the private sector, among others.

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