12 July 2016

Disaster preparedness tops Cabinet agenda
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said national disaster risk reduction topped the agenda in the July 11 Cabinet meeting.

Prioritizing security personnel and health workers to be sent as first responders to calamity damaged areas were among those areas considered, Abella said during a press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday.

“There were also plans to preposition ships in a safe place like the path of typhoons to readily respond to crisis, as well as relocation for those often affected by flooding especially those in the informal sector,” he said.

On other issues, Abella said the Department of Labor and Employment has committed to reduce contractualization within six months, while the Department of Trade and Industry is poised to reduce the number of days for registering a business to three days or ideally one day.

The President has directed all agencies to cut red tape and stop people from queuing in government offices by shifting to an appointment-based system in processing requirements, Abella said.

In solving the traffic problem, Abella told mediamen that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has informed the President that “they have the menu of changes which could very positively impact the rate of traffic flow,” adding that the public will feel the changes within the first 100 days of the new administration.

On the proposed national ID system, Abella amplified the clamor by the business sector during a consultative conference in Davao, saying “Apparently, it will facilitate better business processes and everything.”

“Everybody is entitled to his own politics but at the end of the day, we all agree to work for the common good,” said Abella, when asked if the President has plans to talk to some of his Cabinet members who are tagged as leftists and who earlier expressed they were not in favor of the national ID. PND 

Government has single standard vs illegal drugs

During the press briefing at Malacanan, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said President Rodrigo R. Duterte has only one standard when it comes to the campaign against illegal drugs.

Abella said the top to bottom instruction is that police operations must be with regularity in the performance of functions.

The statement came after Abella was asked regarding the Duterte administration’s stand on the rising death toll of suspected drug pushers.

It will be recalled that during the campaign, PRRD already had a firm stand on criminality and drugs.

In his campaign speeches, he waged war on drug lords and other criminal elements. Abella said the President’s stand remains the same.

The mass surrender of confessed drug pushers began even before President Duterte assumed office on June 30. PND 

DFA chief to issue statement after arbitration court ruling
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay will issue a statement once the United Nations (UN) arbitral tribunal makes a decision later today regarding the Philippines’ case filed against China on the dispute at the West Philippine Sea, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in press briefing on Tuesday in Malacanang.

“Regarding the arbitration, the DFA Secretary will be the sole spokesperson regarding the matter. He will be releasing a statement as soon as the decision is released,” Abella said.

Asked about the possible scenarios if the UN court rules in favor of the Philippines or against it, Abella said that aside from the entire Cabinet, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will be meeting the security cluster and pertinent Cabinet members.

“Everything will have to be subject to a discussion. After all, it’s going to be a lengthy decision and there will be a number of details that need to be properly threshed out before any statement is made publicly,” Abella said.

The Palace official asked the members of the press to wait for the court ruling, assuring them that the administration’s top priority will be the country’s national interest. A decision is expected to be handed down by the Hague-based tribunal at 5 p.m. today (Manila time). PND

Philippine experts studying UN Tribunal Award, welcomes ruling on West Philippine Sea
The Philippines welcomed the decision of the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal declaring that China’s South China Sea claim based on historic rights has no basis in international law.

“The Philippines welcomes the issuance today, 12 July 2016, of the Award by the Arbitral Tribunal constituted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the arbitration proceedings initiated by the Philippines with regard to the South China Sea,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said in a statement following the release of the decision.

He said “our experts are studying the Award with the care and thoroughness that this significant arbitral outcome deserves. We call on all those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety.”

Yasay said the Philippines strongly affirms its respect for the milestone decision as an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea.

He added that the decision upholds international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS. “The Philippines reiterates its abiding commitment to efforts to pursue the peaceful resolution and management of disputes with a view to promoting and enhancing peace and stability in the region,” he said.

The UN Tribunal issued its Award Tuesday after several months of hearings and submission of documents. PND