01 July 2016

‘Adherence to rule of law is uncompromising’ – President Duterte
President Rodrigo R. Duterte vowed Thursday to adhere to the rule of law as he tackles the country’s major scourges such as crime, corruption, and proliferation of illegal drugs.

In his inaugural address, he said these major problems must be addressed with urgency as he described them as “mere symptoms of a virulent social disease that creeps and cuts into the moral fiber of Philippine society.”

He said that corruption, both in the high and low echelons of government, criminality, and the rampant sale of illegal drugs affects all strata of Philippine society and result to the breakdown of law and order.

“I sense a problem deeper and more serious than any of those mentioned or all of them put together. But of course, it is not to say that we will ignore them because they have to be stopped by all means that the law allows,” Duterte, the country’s 16th President said.

“But another real problem that confronts the country now is the erosion of faith and trust in government and its leaders,” he said. There could be people opposed to his methods of fighting criminality, the sale and use of illegal drugs, and corruption but he said they must also think of the impact of these evils to society.

The new President earlier asked Congress, the Commission on Human Rights, and others to allow his administration a level of governance that is consistent to its mandate.

Duterte said the fight against crime, drugs, and corruption will be relentless and sustained.

“As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of the power and authority of the President. I know what is legal and what is not,” he said.

“My adherence to due process and the rule of law is uncompromising,” Duterte said. “You mind your work and I will mind mine.”

While he promises real changes, he said no leader can succeed at anything of national importance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people.

President Duterte also asked Filipinos that in order for real change to happen, it must begin in each person.

Duterte appoints experts to DICT, MECO, NAPC
President Rodrigo R. Duterte has announced the appointments of Atty. Rodolfo Salalima as Secretary of the newly-created Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), Angelito Banayo as Chairman and CEO of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), and Liza Masa as Lead Convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).

Duterte said “an information technology expert, an activist advocating the rights of the poor, and a long-time government servant are among the experts in their respective fields who have joined my Cabinet.”

Salalima was a former executive of Globe Telecom Inc. who served as the company’s chief legal counsel and as senior vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs until his retirement in 2008.  A full-blooded alumnus of San Beda College, he graduated magna cum laude in AB Philosophy and cum laude in Bachelor of Laws. He has over 40 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, including stints in Bayan Telecommunications Inc. and Radio Communications of the Philippines Inc. He represented the country’s ICT industry as Asia Pacific representative and vice chair of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) council working group, which crafted the amendments to the ITU constitution and convention in Geneva, Switzerland.

Banayo is a veteran in government service, having served as Postmaster General, Philippine Tourism Authority Administrator, and National Food Authority Administrator. He was instrumental in the creation of the Philippine Postal Corporation and instituted reforms aimed at reducing employee pilferage. He initiated the probe on corruption activities in the postal service, and the one-way mirrors at the Manila International Airport Distribution Center was his brainchild. He grew up in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte where his family had moved in the 1960s. Later he studied economics at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Manila, then went on to the Ateneo Graduate School of Business and the University of the Philippines College of Public Administration. He will now head MECO, the Philippines’ representative office in Taiwan, that functions as a de facto embassy in the absence of diplomatic relations.

Masa is the former Gabriela Partylist Representative in the House of Representatives. She is a staunch advocate for the protection of the welfare of the poor and marginalized. As a legislator, she authored 53 bills and 120 resolutions in the 13th and 14th Congress. As co-author, her initiatives which were passed into law include the Rent Control Act of 2009, Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, Magna Carta for Women, Philippine Nursing Act, Anti-Torture Law, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, and Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act. Having honed her passion for public service and activism through integration with urban poor women and workers since her days as a student leader at the University of the Philippines, she brought issues from the grassroots to the frontlines of rallies and picket-lines, and to the halls of Congress.  

Duterte to lead PNP turnover ceremonies today
President Rodrigo R. Duterte will lead today’s assumption of command of the Philippine National Police (PNP) at its National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Duterte will be welcomed by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno and incoming PNP chief, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.

The event will include the donning of rank on Dela Rosa conferring on him the four-star rank, which is required of a full-fledged head of the police organization.

During the event, Duterte will be given a medallion and accorded arrival honors with a 21-gun salute, after which he will proceed to the Multi-Purpose Center for the program proper.

Included in the ceremonies will be the relief and designation orders, the assumption of command by De la Rosa, the reading of promotion orders, and the oath of office.

Aside from the President and senior PNP officers, the ceremonies will also be attended by members of the Executive, Judicial, Legislative branches of government, diplomats and foreign counterparts, AFP officials, and representatives of non-government organizations.

During the campaign, the President was firm on his stand against criminality and drugs which he considers a form of oppression against the people. Duterte also promised to increase the salaries of policemen to discourage them from getting involved in corrupt practices.

Full military honors for Duterte at the AFP change of command rites
President Rodrigo R. Duterte will oversee the turnover ceremonies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the General Headquarters grandstand in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City today.

Accompanied by Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Acting Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda, Duterte will be given arrival honors by the Philippine Military Academy cadets complete with a 21-gun Salute.

Among the activities lined up for the event are the presentation of command and honors, inspection of the troops, honors to the nation, as well as the reading of relief and designation orders by AFP Adjutant General BGen. Reuel Sorilla.

During his campaign, President Duterte proposed the use of the military and the Philippine National Police in the war against drugs and criminality. Duterte is also firm on his stand that he does not want to unnecessarily sacrifice the nation’s soldiers by fighting wars that we cannot win like in the case of foreign invasion or the current row in the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte is also in favor of holding peace talks with the New People’s Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The President is expected to affirm his stand on AFP modernization and other matters of sovereignty and national defense, as a commitment to protect the country and its jurisdiction.

Pres. Duterte holds dialogue with peasants, youth, workers on day one
Ordinary Filipinos will heave a sigh of relief that the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte is living up to his campaign promise to listen to all sectors and make the common people feel the government’s presence. 

In a historic meeting, President Duterte welcomed the leaders of peasant, youth, workers, and indigenous groups yesterday at the Osmena Room in Malacanan Palace on the same day as his inauguration. The meeting took place right before the first Cabinet meeting of the Duterte administration.

President Duterte earlier acceded to the request of the multi-sectoral group and placed them next to the scheduled reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps, to listen to their positions on issues relating to corruption and other topics affecting the marginalized sector.  

During the recently concluded National Peoples’ Summit at University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, the group crafted the people’s program for change and the agenda for the first 100 days in the hope that Duterte will act on them.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Ayik Casilao and Sarah Ilago presented their recommendations which emanated from the summit, including agrarian reform,  contractualization, implementation of the minimum wage law, and free education in all levels. 

Their discussion with the President also touched on mining, peace talks, and other current issues. Duterte assured the group that only those mines that are environmentally compliant will be allowed to continue operating. He stressed his commitment in uplifting the lives of the Filipino people specifically the defenseless, hopeless, and helpless.

President Duterte promised that he will give land to the landless that include the farmers,  saying he was told by Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano that there are six million hectares of land available across the country due to be distributed.

Regarding the peace process, the President is bent on signing an accord with the armed wing of the communist front, stressing that he can go to another country to sign a peace pact as part of his commitment to genuine change and lasting peace. PND (pa)

President Duterte spells out pro-poor program during Tondo visit
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday night visited marginalized people in Tondo, Manila and spelled out his pro-poor program.

Education, healthcare, agriculture, employment, business opportunities, and improving the delivery of social services topped his program, which he relayed to Tondo residents during the “Solidarity Dinner with the Poor” held at the Deplan Sports Complex.

It was the first out-of-the-palace activity for the President following his inauguration in Malacanang, attended mostly by Mindanaoans and Visayans who came to Metro Manila in the past to search for better opportunities in life.

On education, Duterte said “ang unahin ko po, ‘yung ating edukasyon. Sisikapin ko na lahat kayo, mga anak niyo makapag-aral at ‘yung pera ng gobyerno, una ho kayo sa edukasyon (First, I will address education. I’ll try my best that all your children can go to school; government money should be allocated for education),” said the President.

Regarding health care, he issued a directive to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to fully utilize its income running in the billions of pesos to help pay for the medicines and hospitalization of the needy and sick. 

Pointing out his food security thrust, President Duterte encouraged the residents to plant and help produce food. “Ang pangatlo pong importante sa akin, ‘yung pong agrikultura kasi pagkain ‘yan. Kailangan ho tayong magtanim (The third, which is important to me is agriculture, because it’s food. We need to plant).”

He said the government will extend its help to the farmers, who earlier  benefitted from the land reform program but had to sell their lands back to the landowners because of poverty.

Duterte expressed his gratitude to the poor who helped catapult him to the presidency. 

Speaking mostly in Filipino, the President laid out his program for the poor, calling on the less fortunate to help him in instituting reforms in the government. He strongly reiterated his fight against criminality and illegal drugs even as he announced the palace’s Help Line Number 8888 for complaints.

The President capped the night by leading government officials in distributing food packs. He was assisted by Secretary Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the urban poor leaders of Isla Puting Bato. PND (pa)