Duterte names Quitain as new chief legal counsel

 President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Jesus Melchor Vega Quitain as the new Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.

“In-appoint din ng Pangulo si (The President has appointed) Jesus Melchor Vega Quitain bilang kanyang (as his) Chief Presidential Legal Counsel,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing on Tuesday.

Quitain will replace Salvador Panelo who is running for senator in the 2022 elections.

Prior to his appointment, Quitain was the officer in charge of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP).

He also served as Davao City administrator during Duterte’s term as city mayor.

However, Roque said Duterte has yet to replace former Department of Information and Communications Secretary Gregorio Honasan II and former Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones who are both running for senator.

He also confirmed that Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio “Vince” Dizon has resigned from his post effective October 15.

Dizon will remain as deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 and the country’s testing czar in charge of overseeing the government’s testing efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Secretary Vince has asked the President to unload him of this task so that he can focus full-time on the national government’s Covid response efforts and vaccination rollout,” Roque said.

Under Dizon’s term, the BCDA earned PHP48 billion in revenues in only five years, the highest by far of any administration. (PNA)

DUTERTE’S proposed P5-Trilion 2022 annual budget the biggest in Philippine history

DBM submits proposed budget to Congress

 August 23, 2021

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Monday submitted to Congress the proposed PHP5.024-trillion national budget for 2022.Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and other leaders of the House of Representatives received the National… Read More

Duterte appoints Karl Chua as NEDA chief

 April 22, 2021

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua as the head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Malacañang announced on Friday.

“The Palace confirms President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s appointment of Mr. Karl Kendrick Chua as… Read More

DEL ROSARIO: Shelter is a right of every Filipino

DHSUD REGIONAL HUB. Housing czar Secretary Eduardo del Rosario leads the inauguration of the first Human Settlements Adjudication Commission building in San Fernando City, Pampanga on Friday (Jan. 15, 2021). The new regional office will cover the operations in the entire Central Luzon with the supervision of Dir. Lyndon Juntilla. (Contributed photo from DSHUD)

DHSUD inaugurates Central Luzon regional hub

 January 16, 2021

The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) on Friday has inaugurated its first-ever regional building in Central Luzon as part of efforts to strengthen programs within the housing sector.Housing czar Secretary Eduardo del Rosario said the inauguration is part of… Read More

Zero Hunger task force concludes consultations with stakeholders

National Food Policy (NFP) aims to address the priority concerns of hunger and poverty

 December 6, 2020

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger has concluded a series of consultations from Nov. 26 to Dec. 4 with stakeholders in government and the private sector on the National Food Policy (NFP) which aims to address the priority concerns of hunger and poverty.Cabinet Secretary Karlo… Read More


Evasco named PRRD’s adviser on streamlining of gov’t processes

 December 2, 202

Former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr. was appointed Presidential Adviser on Streamlining of Government Processes, Malacañang said Wednesday.Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed Evasco’s appointment in a statement sent to… Read More

PNP to go after purveyors of fake news

“Those who spread fake news should have themselves disinfected. They are now moving faster than the virus itself. The virus is worried and sees them as competitors and is now looking for them. Watch out!” 

Palace to fake news peddlers: Get disinfected

Peddlers of fake news should get themselves disinfected, Malacañang said on Monday denying reports that there will soon be a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19).Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea dismissed as “fake… Read More

PNP to go after purveyors of fake news on social media

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now conducting an investigation to unmaskthe persons behind the spread of fake news aboutcoronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), including helicopter spraying of pesticide around the country to contain the virus. PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard… Read More


Gov’t agencies brace for 4th Industrial Revolution


National government agencies have been working on convergence to prepare the labor market of the country for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

The 4IR, a techno-industrial world run by digital system rather than by hands of man, has already started at present, Bello said in his speech read by officer-in-charge Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay at the Manufacturing Summit 2019 on Tuesday.
The 4IR is often associated with expected decrease of employment as workers allegedly will be replaced by technology or digital systems.
“Dawning of 4IR is a call for action as it will greatly benefit societies, but first societies adapt to it or get left behind. The issue of preparing is a priority agenda of the economic cluster of this administration. The impact of this revolution is great that labor department is just a part of many agencies working together to prepare for it,” he said.
The government, he said, has the inclusive innovation industrial strategy framework, a whole-of-government approach spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry.
“The framework is aimed at creating and strengthening globally innovative industries. DOLE plays a key role in this program as well as the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) because adaptation starts in schooling and training in preparing our children for the technologically transformed world,” he added.
Bello said DepEd, through its K-12 program and CHED, has upgraded its curricula to help transition the youth sector, which is the manpower of the country in the future.
DOLE, with other government agencies, is implementing programs that capacitate workers with 21st century skills.
Under employment bridging programs are Government Internship Program, the Special Program for Employment of Students, and the Jobstart Philippines.
“These programs compliment education with training. These are not just preparatory tools but also skill’s boosters that help students and workers improve their employability,” Bello said.
He added the collective approach on education and training aligned the Philippine Qualifications Framework with global standards.
“We worked for greater convergence in bringing every worker from obsolete modes of production and working to hone workers towards greater skills for tomorrow, which include critical thinking, technological proficiency, and the so called soft-skills,” Bello said.
DOLE, he said, has also devised labor market signals that identify emerging industries and job labor market information report, and the Philippine Talent Map Initiative that help the youth with their career choices.
“We continue to sustain and improve the rescaling and upscaling programs to further prepare the workers for the future. Filipinos have always shown the ability to adapt to a changed and changing work,” Bello added.
Dr. Sameer Khatiwada, a Social Sector Specialist in the Southeast Asia Human and Social Development Division of the Asian Development Bank, said 4IR will require high-skilled workers hence, the need to invest on education.
“I am optimistic not all jobs will disappear because new technologies often automate only some tasks of a job,” Khatiwada said in his speech during the same event. (PNA)


Government to protect defenseless, vulnerable


Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea has expressed concern over human rights violations by communist rebels in its failed attempt in more than fifty years  to topple down the government.

Countless human rights abuses against our people have been committed by communist armed groups that have been battling the Philippine government for more than five decades, said Medialdea in his speech on Monday, Sept. 9, during the annual commemoration of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

medialdea 2

“These groups are relentless in seeking the downfall of our government and the death of our democratic ideals,” the Palace official  said in his speech read by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Michael Ong, during a program held at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)..

But as the country  continues to confront various terror threats head-on with the strong arm of the law and all available resources at its disposal, Medialdea said the government will remain committed to protecting the defenseless and vulnerable in every armed conflict.

“We continue to impress upon everyone the Philippine government’s committed adherence to the guiding principles of IHL while addressing the threats to national peace and security,” said Medialdea.

“This commitment is summed up in this year’s theme, ‘IHL: Protecting the Defenseless in Times of Armed Conflict’,” Medialdea said.

He added that for the first part of 2019, these communist groups have perpetrated several atrocities such as: summary execution of police officers; planted landmines in Negros Oriental; brutally killed leaders of indigenous peoples in Oriental Mindoro, Negros Occidental, Bukidnon, and Agusan del Norte; destruction of development projects, such as the hydropower plant in Oriental Mindoro, and the burning of the construction equipment for the Kaliwa dam project in Quezon; and attacked companies, fruit plantations and mining firms in Mindanao whose owners resisted their extortion activities.

“This local terrorism is even aiming to spread its influence in schools. Fifty- five (55) so-called Salugpungan schools in remote villages were found to be used by the terrorists to train more than a thousand children from indigenous peoples communities as child combatants,” he said.

High schools and universities, he added, have likewise become hotbeds for recruitment.

“True to the spirit of IHL, it (PH government) shall stay faithful to the law (Republic Act 11188) that ensures special protection of children in situations of armed conflict; the national plan of action on women, peace and security (2017-2020) that embodies protection of women and girls in conflict situations,” Medialdea said.

The government will also stay committed to the mission of the National Task Force created and chaired by no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte, to put an end to local communist terrorism as stipulated in Executive Order No. 70, he added.

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) is a partnership between the government and like-minded sectors of society — under the whole-of-nation approach — that shall advance and sustain all these efforts.

Medialdea also expressed his deepest gratitude to all the men and women in uniform who courageously stand on the ground to confront these threats while upholding their role as protectors of our people.

“Your work continues to define the Philippine government’s strong and firm commitment to International Humanitarian Law. God bless and keep you always,” he said.

The national observance of IHL Day is pursuant to Executive Order No, 134 (s. 1999) that declares every 12th of August as such.

This year’s commemoration was, however, postponed by the ad hoc Inter-Agency Committee to Sept. 9 during the DFA’s flag-raising ceremony.

Being a party to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocol II Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, the EO provides that the Philippines adheres to the principles of humanitarian laws or the laws of armed conflict.

The annual commemoration aims to enhance understanding by officials and personnel of government departments, law enforcement agencies, and local government units of the principles of IHL, and to raise the people’s consciousness and promote greater awareness of the same.

Activities for the observance of IHL Day are prepared by the ad hoc Committee co-chaired by DFA and Department of National Defense, and composed of representatives from DFA, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of the Interior and Local Government, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Manila, Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Commission on Human Rights, and the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat. (with PNA report)

NOGRALES: Sultan Kudarat blast shows need to fast-track normalization

We hope that our partners in peace will remain steadfast in their commitment to the peace

Malacañang said the explosion in a public market in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat on Saturday (Sept. 7) shows the need to fast-track the normalization process as part of efforts to end decades of conflict in Mindanao.

“The blast this morning is a reminder of why we must exhaust all efforts to ensure that future generations are spared from the conflict and violence that has plagued Mindanao in the past,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a statement.

Nograles also expressed hope that the eight persons wounded in the blast would have a speedy recovery.

“We pray for a speedy recovery for those hurt in the blast and we hope that our partners in peace will remain steadfast in their commitment to the peace and normalization process,” he added.

Nograles also hailed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to push through with his attendance on the second phase of decommissioning Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants and weapons in Sultan Kudarat just hours after the blast took place.VIDEO

During the event, Duterte told the decommissioned fighters not to be sad or disheartened in handing over their weapons and returning to civilian life.

“Do not be sad na ang armas ninyo binigay ninyo sa gobyerno. Kasi kayo gobyerno na. Eh kung kailangan talaga ninyo ng armas para idepensa ninyo ang gobyerno dito sa BARMM. Walang problema. Bigyan ko kayo mas bago (Do not be sad that you turned over your arms to the government. Because you are the government now. IF you really need arms to defend your government here in BARMM, no problem. I’ll give you new ones),” Duterte said.


Galvez lauds MILF’s commitment to peace as decommissioning begins

Despite possible hurdles along the way, Nograles said Duterte remains committed to push forward normalization plans in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

He said Duterte’s presence there “reflects the government’s commitment to end decades of conflict in Mindanao in order to bring peace and stability to the region.”

“As the first chief executive from Mindanao, President Duterte recognizes the necessity and urgency of forging a just and lasting peace with our Muslim brothers and sisters,” Nograles said.

“We expect to encounter challenges on the road to peace, but this morning’s criminal act will not deter us from moving forward,” he added.

Meanwhile, Nograles said efforts to fast-track normalization process are ongoing including the decommissioning of 12,000 MILF troops, or close to a third of MILF combatants, is expected to be completed by March 2020.

“The 12,000 combatants and their families are set to receive between half a million to PHP1 million in financial assistance on top of provisions for housing, livelihood assistance, skills development training, scholarships, employment opportunities, PhilHealth coverage, conditional cash transfers, and documentation such as birth certificates and postal IDs,” Nograles said.

Currently, the government is in phase two of the decommissioning of MILF forces, with phase three to be completed by next year and the remaining MILF forces to be decommissioned before the signing of the Exit Agreement in 2022.

Nograles co-chairs the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism (ICCMN) on Normalization with Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (PNA)