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Duterte to review all delayed gov’t projects

Thursday, 18 January 2018 00:00 Published in Metro

President Duterte last Tuesday announced he would initiate a review of public works projects that remained unfinished for years.
“So I will review with the Cabinet this one. All public works projects, which have been delayed for years, you get out immediately and I can maybe look for the money,” President Duterte said in a speech in Pasay City during the inauguration of the new Communications, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Systems.
“We’re doing good in the field of taxation. I’m sure Tugade and Dominguez can look for the money. Umalis kayo diyan, ‘yung lahat ng butas, ‘yung may manhole diyan,” the President said.
The Chief Executive noted that highways in the country are clogged with unfinished products and that accidents multiply because of the sheer negligence also of the people handling the project. “This insanity must stop,” he said.
Duterte reiterated his call to do away with the practice of awarding government contracts to the lowest bidder. “Because everyday that a certain contract is bidded out, it’s always tainted with corruption, 90 percent,” he said, noting that it is hard to find a transaction that’s “almost clean.”
To address this, the President said he would propose to do the turnkey phases. “We will come up with the specifications, the projected cost and everything—just like the Swiss challenge,” Duterte explained.
“We will present it to you. I’ll give you 10 percent for mobilization. But you must be a company with a track record. You must have the equipment. And I will not allow subcontracts which means to say that those who —a few people that have also improved their lives maybe have reached the middle-income state because of that,” he said.
During his speech, the President also issued a warning against local officials who are sitting on their jobs. “I’m warning the local government officials. I do not want to threaten you but you just do your duty also because remember, I can always suspend or dismiss you if I want to,” he said.
“I’ve been sparing. I’m not the Ombudsman. But administratively I can hang you. So do it, those governors and mayors who are deadwoods or who do nothing at hinayaan mo na lang kami ditong mga pulis pati the Armed Forces to take care of everything and you are not doing anything to serve your constituents, including dying for your people, umalis kayo diyan,” the President said.
President Duterte on SEC’s decision: How could it be political?
In the same speech, the Chief Executive denied he had a hand in the decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke Rappler’s Certificate of Incorporation.
“We never had a hand,” Duterte said.
He insisted that the corporate regulator’s decision is not political. “Remember that the composition of SEC ngayon is puro Aquino ‘yan. There are about five, I only appointed one. So how could it be political?” he said in a media interview following the inauguration. “Wala akong pakialam diyan.”
Meanwhile, on Rappler’s report that Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go intervened in a project to acquire new frigates, the President said, “We do not intervene in the affairs of the Armed Forces.”
“We are just an office that receives complaints or papers for reference and we transmit them to the proper agency. We do not get any money. We are not interested in that,” he added.
The President also challenged the media to prove their allegations. “I-research mo nga mabuti kung saan nakuha nag-intervene si Bong. You prove it to me one word and I will tell him to resign,” he said.

LPA spotted off Surigao del Sur

Wednesday, 17 January 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

State weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has spotted a low pressure area (LPA) 300 kilometers east southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur which will bring rains in most parts of the country.
Visayas, Mindanao, and the province of Palawan will have scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms caused by the trough of the LPA.
Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon affecting north and central Luzon and the tail-end of a cold front over the eastern section of southern Luzon will also bring rains in those areas.
Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, Cordillera region, Cagayan Valley, Aurora and Quezon will have cloudy skies with scattered rains due to the northeast monsoon.
Bicol region and the rest of Mimaropa will also experience scattered rains due to the tail-end of the cold front.
Pagasa also warned of strong gale force winds associated with the surge of the northeast monsoon in most parts of the country. It advised fishing boats and small seacraft not to venture out into the sea. 

CA issues TRO vs dismissal order of NegOr governor

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 00:00 Published in Nation

The Court of Appeals (CA) blocked the implementation of the dismissal order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman against Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo in connection with the alleged anomalous use of the local government’s P10-million intelligence fund in 2013.
The CA Visayas Station in Cebu City released a resolution on Monday which imposes a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) granting the urgent relief sought in the petition filed by Degamo, who was found guilty of grave misconduct by the anti-graft office and charged for violation of Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Sandiganbayan.
This is the third dismissal order issued by the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales against Degamo last month. The CA had downgraded the first dismissal while it issued a temporary restraining order on the second one in 2016.
The two previous cases stemmed from the alleged illegal disbursement of PHP143.2 million worth of calamity funds, both of which are pending at the Sandiganbayan.
Degamo’s lawyer Manuelito Luna said the TRO allows his client to return to the top post in the provincial capitol.
In filing the petition, the governor accused the Ombudsman of committing grave abuse of discretion when it did not apply the condonation doctrine in the case considering that he was reelected as governor in the 2013 polls.
The Supreme Court had voided the condonation doctrine in the case against former Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2015, but in proactive application.
Degamo further argued that the dismissal order had no basis since the PHP10-million fund was already settled and accounted for as shown by the Notice of Settlement issued on May 30, 2017 by the Commission on Audit.
Based on the findings of the Ombudsman, Degamo submitted the province’s proposed 2013 budget in October 2012 to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) which included intelligence expenses worth P10 million.
The board approved the budget but omitted the intelligence fund. Degamo then questioned the amount’s “deletion or non-inclusion of the item on confidential/intelligence fund, which veto was not overridden by the SP” on January 15, 2013.
Three months later, Degamo issued a memorandum ordering the release of the P10 million “without further delay.” 

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