Items filtered by date: Friday, 12 January 2018

800 PUVs tagged in ‘Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok’ drive

Traffic officers stop a jeepney with worn tires. (Philstar)
MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Council for Traffic said it has apprehended 800 public utility vehicles since the January 8 launch of its “Tanggal Bulok, Tanggal Usok” campaign in compliance with the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

“Since January 8, we have so far flagged down, apprehended, and issued summons to around 800 motorists for various violations, ranging from smoke belching, defective parts, worn-out tires, no seatbelt and others,” I-ACT communications head Elmer Argano said Friday.

“For those summoned, they will have to undergo the Motor Vehicle Inspection System. For those who fail, they will be penalized but will be given a chance to rectify their deficiencies,” he added.

The Department of Transportation will soon acquire 26 mobile MVIS units.

PUVs should undergo five stages of inspection at the MVIS center of the Land Transportation Office, including the testing of brakes, suspension, speedometer, and headlights.

The LTO recently rehabilitated two of the four MVIS lanes at the North MVIC. Two other MVIS lanes were also restored at the South MVIC.


Ex-consultant bares ‘mafia-like’ operations at DOH

Dr. Francis Cruz attends the Senate proceeding that investigates the Dengvaxia mess. INQUIRER PHOTO / LYN RILLON
A former consultant of the Department of Health (DOH) exposed on Saturday the operations of an alleged “mafia” inside the Health department composed of several former and current officials who profited from the controversial procurement of the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Dr. Francis Cruz, who was the consultant of former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, bared the names of the DOH officials in a news conference, including former Secretary Janette Garin, who, he said, intentionally pushed for the anti-dengue vaccine to gain profit.

In a news conference, Cruz identified at least 18 incumbent and former DOH officials who benefitted from the P3.5-billion Dengvaxia vaccine, which was reported to lead more serious symptoms for people who had not previously been infected with the dengue virus.

Cruz tagged the following incumbent officials as Dr. Mario Villaverde, Dr. Gerardo Bayugo, Lilibeth David, Carol Taño, assistant secretaries Lyndon Lee-Suy, Nestor Santiago, officer-in-charge (OIC) directors Joyce Ducusin, Marvin Bello, Financial Mangement Service director Larry Cruz, regional directors Leonila Gorgolon, Ariel Valencia, Rio Magpantay, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) chief Julius Lecciones.
Aside from Garin, Cruz identified the following former officials as DOH Undersecretaries Nemesio Gako, Kenneth Hartigan-Go, and director Yolanda Oliveros.
“These are not hardened criminals na they intended to be a mafia. They evolved to be a mafia. They are bureaucrats who got tempted once, got tempted twice, then they formed a collusion hangga’t namihasa na (until they got used to it),” he said.
READ: Ex-consultant to DOH bares vaccine cover-up
Cruz alleged that the officials are involved in the conversion scheme, in which 90 percent of the project’s budget goes back to the agency and 10 percent goes back to the financier or suppliers.
“It’s not kickback, [conversion] is worse—it’s worse than [Janet Lim] Napoles because Napoles is an outsider. This one [involves] insiders with accredited suppliers who could be a financier,” Cruz said.
Although it is irrelevant in his expose, Cruz mentioned the case of Napoles just to illustrate the magnitude of the alleged corruption in the Health department. Napoles was tagged as the mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
“Binabalik yung pera [ng financiers]. Pag-releasin mo sila ng P500 million, so checks yan, lalabas sa financier. Ibabalik ng financier less 10 percent. So kumita yung financier in less than two to three months nung whatever ni-release nilang pera,” he explained.

(Financiers return the money. The agency releases P500 million worth of checks to the financier and the financier will return it minus 10 percent. So the financier earns in less than two to three months of a portion of the money the government released.)
Cruz also alleged that the same officials were involved in other questionable transactions inside the DOH, including the implementation of the P23-billion Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) and the procurement of P12-billion worth of assorted medicines in 2015.
Volunteers against Crime and Corruption lawyer Ferdinand Topacio told reporters they are building up a case against the said officials.
Garin and the other names mentioned by Cruz have yet to issue a statement and the is trying to get their comments on the allegation of Cruz. /jpv



Cayetano: Japan ties at stake over comfort woman statue

CONTROVERSIAL STATUE. This statue of a comfort woman along Roxas Boulevard has generated controversy since it was inaugurated on December 8, 2017. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano warned that the Philippines "long-term" relationship with Japan is at stake after the statue of a World War II comfort woman, or sex slave, was installed along Manila Bay.

"You can't strengthen your relationship long term if you keep bringing up things that you think are settled," the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in an interview with reporters Friday, January 13.

Cayetano explained that the issue of comfort women, which heated up in the early 1990s, was included in the reparations made by Japan in 1956.

Under the 1956 Reparations Agreement between Japan and the Republic of the Philippines, Japan will provide the Philippines with $550 million in reparations.

"The official stand not of the DFA but of the Philippines for several years is that it has been officially part of the reparations and it has been officially settled," Cayetano said.

This is a position criticized by World War II comfort women in the Philippines, as they demand a public apology and just compensation from Japan.

Cayetano said that the Philippines' official position "does not stop any group or any individual, or Filipinos in general, from seeking any kind of settlement, justice, et cetera."

'We're talking about public space'

The Philippines' foreign secretary made these remarks after Seiko Noda, Japan's internal affairs and communications minister, reportedly complained to Duterte about the statue.

"It's regrettable for this kind of statue to suddenly appear," Noda said, as quoted by Kyodo News.

Standing by the iconic Manila Bay, the statue of a comfort woman along Manila Bay generated controversy after Japanese officials complained about it in late 2017.

The statue was allegedly erected without permits.

Cayetano said an interagency panel is looking into the "process" that led to installing the statue.

"We're talking about public space," Cayetano said.

To drive home his point, he said he will also voice concern if the Japanese built statues of Filipino offenders in Japan.

"As foreign secretary, I'll call them and say, 'What's the statue about?' Not necessarily to protest, but what's it about? Then I'll look at the effect," he said.

"Kasi the intention and the effect are two different things. Kung ang intensyon mo lang is to honor, et cetera, okay 'yon. Pero kung ang effect, nagkakagalit kayo, concern ko 'yon," he added.

(Because the intention and the effect are two different things. Because if your intention is just to honor, et cetera, that's okay. But if the effect is that you're getting mad at each other, that's my concern.)

Malacañang earlier said that Duterte will not do anything about the statue, even after the expression of concern by Japanese officials, because it is not a presidential project. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had also said the statue was not a diplomatic issue. –


Adjusted mall hours effective in easing Edsa traffic—MMDA

A view of Edsa in one of those ordinary weekdays. INQUIRER PHOTO / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA
Adjusting opening hours of shopping malls situated along Edsa would help further ease traffic along the congested 24-kilometer highway, according to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
In a Radyo INQUIRER report on Saturday, MMDA spokeswoman Celine Pialago said they urged mall operators to maintain the adjusted mall operating hours of 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. , which was implemented during the holidays.
Pialago said this was part of the government’s proposed traffic reduction measures in Metro Manila.

Last October, the MMDA said mall operators agreed to open late and hold nighttime deliveries for nonperishable goods to reduce the volume of traffic on Edsa from October 15 to January 15 amid the holiday season.
During the implementation of the mall’s late opening hours, Pialago said there had been an increase in travel speed by about 30 minutes not only on Edsa but also in other major roads.
According to data provided by the MMDA Public Information Office, the average travel speed on Edsa increased by 9.29%, from 17.44 kilometers per hour in September to 19.06 kilometers per hour in November.
READ: MMDA wants to make permanent mall’s late opening hours
In a press conference last Thursday, MMDA assistant general manager for planning Jojo Garcia stressed the need for more traffic reduction schemes as the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program would go on full swing this year.
“Ang programa ng presidente natin na “Build, Build, Build,” itotodo iyan. Full blast tayo ngayong 2018. Alam natin na ang infrastructures na ito is for the benefit of the public,” Garcia said.
(The “Build, Build, Build” program of the President will go full swing. We will be in full blast this 2018. We know that these infrastructure [projects] will be for the benefit of the public.)
“We need all help and cooperation with stakeholders and malls, baka pwede paghatian ang mga kakarampot na kalsada sa napakaraming volume ng vehicles, at least shifting tayo pati sa paggamit ng kalsada,” he said.

(Maybe we can share the road with the huge volume of vehicles, at least we can do shifting when using the street.) /jpv


Duterte’s birthday wish for Alvarez: 'I hope you're married for the last time’

ALLIES. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who turned 60 on January 10, 2018, welcomes President Rodrigo Duterte to his birthday celebration in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Photo from Malacañang

President Rodrigo Duterte poked fun at the relationship status of longtime friend and political ally Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who celebrated his 60th birthday on Friday, January 12.

Duterte delivered a speech in honor of the Davao del Norte 1st District representative during his birthday celebration held in Tagum, Alvarez’s hometown.

The President first said he valued Alvarez’s hard work and commitment as a politician and thanked him for being his “friend and ally.” But he soon cracked a joke about the Speaker's first two marriages.

“I wish you the best in your future endeavors. Here is another fulfilling year of good health, happiness, and success. Mr Speaker, I hope that you are married for the last time,” said Duterte, causing laughter among the crowd filled with administration allies

Alvarez is currently in a relationship with Jennifer Maliwanag. He has long been separated from his second wife, Emelita, with whom he has 4 children. He has two more children from a first marriage.

Duterte and Alvarez, who were both part of the 11th Congress, are alike in many ways. Both are from Mindanao, stalwarts of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), and self-confessed ladies’ men.

The President had even defended Alvarez when he was criticized for admitting he had a girlfriend despite still being married. (READ: Alvarez defends affair: 'Sino ba'ng walang girlfriend?’)

A fight between the Speaker’s girlfriend and that of Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo led to the bitter political feud of the former friends. (READ: Davao del Norte district budget cut is Alvarez's ‘political vendetta’ – Floirendo)

The President opened his usual rambling speech at Alvarez's birthday bash with a mini-tribute to the Speaker as among the people who had repeatedly convinced him to run for president. –


More Filipinos oppose revolutionary government – SWS

NO TO REVGOV'. Anti-Duterte protesters march in Manila on Bonifacio Day, November 30, 2017. File photo by Maria Tan/Rappler 


MANILA, Philippines – More Filipinos disagree with the declaration of a revolutionary government over the Philippines, pollster group Social Weather Stations (SWS) announced on Friday, January 12.

The SWS asked: Kayo po ba ay...kung sakali pong magproklama si Pang. Rodrigo Duterte ng isang “Revolutionary Government”? (Are you... if ever Pres. Rodrigo Duterte proclaims a "Revolutionary Government?)


They would then show cards containing the following:

  • Lubos na sumasang-ayon (Strongly agree)
  • Medyo sumasang-ayon (Slightly agree)
  • Hindi tiyak kung sumasang-ayon o hindi (Undecided)
  • Medyo hindi sumasang-ayon (Slightly disagree)
  • Lubos na hindi sumasang-ayon (Strongly disagree)

They found that 39% disagreed, 31% agreed, and 30% were undecided on declaring Duterte's anti-'destabilization' provision over the country. This leaves a net agreement score of -8%.

SWS recorded the lowest net agreement rating in the Visayas (-17%), followed by Luzon (-16%), then the National Capital Region (-7%).

Only Mindanao had a positive tally, with a net rating of +16%. More Mindanaoans consistently approve the policies and ideas of President Rodrigo Duterte, a Mindanaoan himself. (READ: Understanding Duterte's decline in SWS, Pulse surveys)

Meanwhile, SWS found that more Filipinos with high education disagreed than those with low education. They registered a net agreement rating of -19% and -1 to -9% respectively.

Proclaiming a revolutionary government is one of the more ambitious ideas floated by Duterte in his speeches, frequently mentioning the measure should he see that the regular bureaucracy won't deliver his promises before he leaves the presidency in 2022.

His idea raked in thousands of supporters who held demonstrations during Bonifacio Day, 2017. A group has professed their commitment to him, should he call for the government overhaul. (WATCH: Declare revolutionary government, supporters urge Duterte)

SWS Director Gerardo "Jay" Sandoval explained that their field researchers did not explain to their interviewees what revolutionary government meant, as the Duterte administration itself had not given its own definition.

Critics were first to warn that the idea was unconstitutional, and described it as political suicide on one's own government.

The SWS conducted the study from December 6 to 18, 2017. –

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