29 August 2015

President Aquino orders Roxas to ensure orderly, peaceful INC protest
President Aquino instructed Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II to work with the police and local government units affected by the ongoing mass action of members of Iglesia Ni Cristo to ensure public safety and order. Roxas met the officials of Quezon City and Mandaluyong City, as well as officials of the PNP on how they can move forward with regards to the protest action of INC members,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview Saturday.

The President specifically wanted the ongoing mass action to become orderly, peaceful and not disrupt other people who are not part of the mass action, Valte told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

“At alam ko nasa Camp Crame sila ngayon, kakatapos lang nilang magpulong, at pinag-usapan nila kung ano ba ang way forward dahil doon sa mga nagiging kilos protesta diyan sa EDSA-Shaw,” she said.

The Palace spokesperson also said they have been informed that the local government of Mandaluyong has issued a permit to the protesters, noting the permit had corresponding conditions.

With regards to heavy traffic caused by the protest in the EDSA-Shaw area, she said they have been monitoring the situation since last night.

“The President’s instructions were to ensure the safety of the public including… Not just those who were involved in the protest, but more importantly, those who are uninvolved in the protest,” she said.

“The President mentioned specifically that government should ensure—at least, the executive branch—should ensure that there are no opportunities for those who may want to take advantage of the situation for their personal end.”

Valte also brushed off allegations that the government is harassing INC because it does want to support Roxas in his political bid.

She explained that there is a legitimate complaint filed in DOJ against some INC personalities and the DOJ has not acted on it so the harassment accusation has no basis.

“Hindi po natin alam kung ano itong sinasabing —o nako-construe na harassment na ito. But, in any case, naka-focus tayo dito ngayon doon sa sitwasyon diyan sa EDSA-Shaw at sa katunayan ay kakatapos lang ng kanilang meeting,” Valte said.

Asked how the government intends to respond to end the rally, she said the government follows certain processes if there is a legitimate complaint filed against somebody.

“Kahit sino pa ho ang inirereklamo, isa lang ang proseso diyan, at katulad nga ng sinabi ni Secretary De Lima this process has to be followed,” Valte said. PND (as)

Palace on planned ‘zero vote’ campaign: OFWs could freely choose their leaders
It is up to the overseas Filipino workers to choose the candidates they want in the next election, a Palace official said as a reaction to statements that migrants organizations are initiating a “zero vote” campaign against administration candidates.The OFWs carried out a “zero remittance day” and some groups are allegedly planning a zero vote for administration candidates as a response to a customs policy on balikbayan boxes.

“Karapatan po nilang mamili kung sino po ang gusto nilang iboto sa darating na eleksyon,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said during a radio interview on Saturday about the planned campaign.

“Ang inaasahan lang po natin ay, siyempre, mababase po ito sa plataporma; mababase po ito doon sa ano po ba ‘yung ikagaganda pa ng ating bansa, at ‘yung ikabubuti pa ng buhay ng ating mga pamilya,” she told dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan.
“Kalayaan natin lahat ‘yan, kung paano po natin sasalain ang ating mga kandidato.”

OFWs are furious over a new Customs policy on balikbayan boxes. The Bureau of Customs said balikbayan boxes are being used as a means to smuggle goods or ship illegal narcotics.

Valte said OFWs are free to express their sentiments on any issue like the one on balikbayan boxes.

The Palace official also said that because of the balikbayan box issue, they got a lot of messages from different parts of the world.
“At ang lagi ko pong sinasabi sa kanila ay malaya silang ipahayag ang kanilang mga saloobin whether they join a ‘no remittance day’ or they may send government a message on Facebook or they can post their sentiments online or magpa-interview sila sa media,” she said.

According to the central bank, the zero remittance day has no significant impact on the economy but migrant groups warned of more mass actions against plans to tighten rules on balikbayan boxes. PND (as)