12 February 2015

Military always ready to address any destabilization plot, says Palace
The Palace said the Armed Forces of the Philippines is ready to quell any destabilization or coup plot amid reports that there are groups planning to destabilize the government.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Thursday that she had received information about an ongoing coup plot against the Aquino administration.

She said the alleged coup attempt is backed by a high-profile businessman.

Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., during the daily press briefing on Thursday, said they have not received any information on the coup plot.

He however noted that the AFP is ready to fend off any coup attempt.

“Tungkulin ng Sandatahang Lakas na pigilan at puksain ang lahat ng kalaban ng estado,” Coloma said.

“Mismong si Secretary Voltaire Gazmin ang nagpatunay sa kahandaan ng AFP na gampanan ang tungkuling ito.”

There is also no need to conduct a loyalty check among the members of the armed forces because the Palace believes that the AFP is ready to subdue any coup attempt, he added. PND (as)

Palace hopes emergency power to deal with possible power shortage still on track
The Palace remains hopeful that the emergency power it has requested from Congress to deal with a possible energy crisis during the summer months is still on track, an official has said.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday that Senator Sergio Osmeña III has filed a counterpart measure to the House of Representatives resolution pertaining to the passing of the emergency power.

“Ang huli nating nabalitaan hinggil diyan ay nag-file na ang komite ni Senator Osmeña ng kanilang counterpart measure na itatapat doon sa House resolution,” Coloma said.

According to reports, Senator Osmeña and Senate President Franklin Drilon have introduced a joint resolution that seeks the implementation of the Interruptible Load Program in Luzon.

The House resolution authorizes the President to generate additional energy through the Interruptible Load Program, the fast-tracking of committed projects, and plants for interconnection and rehabilitation.

Asked if the Palace thinks that the emergency power still has a chance to be approved, Coloma said, “Hinihintay pa rin natin ito.”

He said there is still time, considering that the summer season has yet to start.

“Ang alam natin ang summer season sa ating bansa ay March, April, hanggang May pa nga. Ang regular na kapanahunan sa ating bansa, nag-uumpisa lang naman ang tag-ulan pagkatapos na ng Mayo,” he added.

Power consumption is at its peak during the summer months.

Coloma assured the public that the Department of Energy is working to avert the power shortage.

“Habang hinihintay ang pagkilos ng lehislatura ay ginawa ng ating Department of Energy ang kanilang bahagi sa pakikipag-ugnayan sa pribadong sektor; inihanda ang kanilang partisipasyon sa Interruptible Load Program. Tinututukan din ang status ng mga power plant para maging alerto tayo sa mga possible shutdowns at supply deficiency para matugunan agad ito,” he noted.

Experts have projected a power shortage in the Luzon grid from March to July this year. PND (ag)

Palace asks for public vigilance after report of country’s first MERS-CoV infection
Malacañang has urged the public to remain vigilant and follow the health advisories of the Department of Health (DOH) on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) after a Filipina nurse from Saudi Arabia tested positive for the disease.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said 10 individuals have been admitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), six of whom had contact with the nurse during her confinement at a private hospital.

“The laboratory results of the 10 individuals are expected to be released by 10 p.m. today,” he said.

Coloma said that according to the DOH, the nurse afflicted with the MERS-CoV remains in stable condition and doctors at the RITM are continuously monitoring her condition.

The government is intensifying its efforts to prevent the spread of MERS-CoV, he said, adding that 63 of the 224 passengers of Saudi Airlines Flight SV860, which carried the MERS-CoV patient, have been contacted by the DOH.

“Contact tracing is still ongoing to locate the remaining passengers,” he said. PND (as)

President Aquino signs into law bill raising ceiling on tax exemptions on bonuses
President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into law the bill raising the ceiling on tax exemptions on bonuses, a Palace official announced on Thursday.

“According to the Office of the Executive Secretary, the President has signed into law the bill raising the ceiling on tax exemptions on bonuses to P82,000. The signed law will be transmitted to Congress shortly,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said.

The new law increases the tax exemption cap from P30,000 to P82,000. This covers all bonuses, including the 13th-month pay and Christmas bonus. PND (ag)