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Charlie O. Manalo

Mayor Sara lashes at Speaker, Alvarez denies her claims

Friday, 23 February 2018 00:00 Published in Headlines

A misunderstanding appears to have led Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to let loose a diatribe against Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

The presidential daughter yesterday engaged House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in a verbal tussle after the latter allegedly described the regional political party the Davao City mayor put up as a product of political dynasties.
In a statement, Duterte-Carpio said that if Alvarez has some issues with political dynasties, then he should pass a law in that regard.
“The Speaker’s latest media statement that he respects the creation of Hugpong ng Pagbabago or that the unity is a non-issue, was unfortunately betrayed by his comment on political dynasties,” said Duterte-Carpio.
“If the Speaker is attacking our effort to do something significant and timely for Region 11, and reducing it as a product of political dynasties, I suggest he pass the Anti-Political Dynasty Law,” she added.

Alvarez: I did not say Mayor Sara
is part of the opposition
Speaker Alvarez yesterday was surprised at the statement issued by Sara Duterte, saying that he did not ever say Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte is part of the opposition.
“You know, the truth is that I never said anything like that. I don’t know where that came from but I never ever said that she is part of the opposition. How can she be a part of the opposition since she is part of the administration?” Alvarez said in a press briefing.
Alvarez issued the statement when asked for his reaction over the Davao Mayor’s social media post over supposed statements the Speaker has made against her and her father.
According to Alvarez, somebody may have fed the wrong information to Mayor Sara Duterte.
The Speaker is confident he can clear things out with the Davao Mayor.
“That is not a probelm,” Alvarez said.
On Wednesday, Alvarez said Mayor Sara Duterte’s formation of a regional political party is a “non-issue” and should be respected.
This case of the party of Mayor Sara is possible, so let us respect the formation of her party,” Alvarez had said.
In Bataan today, Alvarez rallied some 4,500 new members of the administration party, Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino, to support President Duterte’s advocacy for a shift to a federal form of government and the effort to change the charter for such purpose.
The other day, Duterte-Carpio, with the help of some Mindanao politicians whom Alvarez had eased out from PDP-Laban, formed the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP, or Alliance for Change), a political party the organizers claim is aimed at consolidating support for the President.
Aside from Duterte-Carpio, key personalities in HNP are four of the five provincial governors in Davao Region, Antonio Rafael del Rosario of Davao del Norte, Claude Bautista of Davao Occidental, Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental and Jayvee Tyron Uy of Compostela Valley.
Incidentally, del Rosario is the cousin of Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo whom Alvarez had slapped with graft charges in connection with his alleged business interest in the Tagum Development Corporation (Tadeco) and the company’s alleged onerous contract with the Davao Penal Colony (DPC).
HNP is scheduled to hold its convention today, Friday.
Duterte-Carpio also clarified that while HNP is not affiliated with PDP-Laban, it has the blessings of her father.
“I would like everyone to know, including the Speaker of the House, that the unity I forged with the four Governors of Region 11 has the blessing of President Rodrigo Duterte,” said the Davao City mayor.
“Even the use of the word Hugpong as the name of our regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago has the President’s approval,” she said adding she has “specifically informed the President that she will not join PDP Laban.”
Later in the day, Duterte-Carpio lashed at Alvarez anew with “what did you tell the crowd: ‘He’s different as he is President, I am the Speaker, I can always impeach him!’ And you call me opposition? Somebody should really tell the President the truth,” Duterte-Carpio posted in her social media account.
“If you’re an asshole in Congress, don’t bring that to Davao, leave it in Manila. Somebody should tell the President what you are doing. How dare you call me part of the opposition. You messed with the wrong girl,” the Presidential daughter said in another post.
Asked for his reaction, Alvarez denied Duterte-Carpio’s allegation.
Aside from accusing Alvarez of branding her as an opposition, Duterte-Carpio slammed Alvarez for describing the formation of HNP as a a product of political dynasties.
In an interview, Alvarez was quoted saying, “Through that, we can see that in politics, there is something they refer to sometimes as political dynasty. You know, it is not correct all the time. Even a father and child, sometimes they cannot agree. Even siblings face each other in politics. So how can we stop them?”
Alavrez’s statement does give the impression that he favors political dynasties.
Nonetheless, Alvarez expressed confidence he can clear things out with the Davao Mayor.
“There is no problem with that,” Alvarez said.
“Mayor Sara’s formation of a regional political party is a non-issue. We should respect that,” Alvarez reiterated.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday said he would ask the Commission on Audit (CoA) to review the books of airline companies, particularly Cebu Pacific, over non-refund of terminal fees paid for cancelled flights.

In a radio interview, Alvarez noted that if a passenger misses his flight he would need to buy a new ticket, with the terminal fee incorporated in it. However, Alvarez said there is no indication the airline firm refunds the terminal fee the passenger has paid for his previous ticket.
“If you’re late for your flight, your ticket is already canceled, so you have to buy a new ticket. They are so strict with that but they don’t tell the passengers that they are again paying for terminal fees. They have to refund them,” Alvarez said.
If the airline firms have failed to refund the terminal fee for missed flight, Alvarez said he wants to find out where the money goes.
“I’m not sure. That’s why I’m asking CoA for a special audit because passengers are paying for terminal fees. If they will not refund them, they have to remit them to the airport authority because they are public funds,” Alvarez said.
Each passenger for domestic flights pay P200 for terminal fee while passengers for international flights pay P500 each.
Aside from non-refund of the terminal fees, Alvarez also said the riding public is hit by a double whammy as Cebu Pacific also imposes an additional charge for collecting the fee.
Likewise, Alvarez said he would call for a review of the necessity for the payment of the travel tax which is separate from the terminal fee.
“We should also remove the travel tax. I will have it reviewed,”Alvarez said.
Alvarez reiterated his earlier criticism of Cebu Pacific for refusing to use the passenger bridge, commonly known as the “tube,” to cut cost at the sacrifice of the safety, convenience and comfort of the passengers.
He recalled an incident he witnessed sometime in 2016 of a woman with one-month-old baby who got wet in the rain because the Cebu Pacific airplane did not use the tube.
Alvarez also noted that unlike other airlines Cebu Pacific imposes additional fee for passengers who wanted to take an earlier flight from that indicated in his ticket even if there are vacant seats in the departing airplane.
Alvarez also reiterated that Cebu Pacific should move its domestic operations to Terminal 2, which is designed for domestic air traffic, and the excess flights the Manila terminal cannot handle to Clark International Airport within the 45-day deadline or face possible cancellation of their franchise.
Alvarez also bared that there were overtures from certain firms, which he refused to identify, hinting at monetary offers for him to go easy on proposals that would affect their business interests.
Alvarez said he refused to entertain such overtures.
He stressed his advocacy to promote the interests of the people, particularly the poor and powerless, is non-negotiable.
“This is non-negotiable. This is for those who cannot fight,” Alvarez said.

Disastrous online listing scheme of SSS scored

Friday, 23 February 2018 00:00 Published in Metro

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles yesterday lambasted the management of the Social Security System (SSS) for prematurely implementing its so-called enhanced contribution collection system (EHCS) without conducting relevant time and motion studies to ensure that it is hassle-free for its 34 million members.

Under the so-called EHCS, all membership registrations are done online and members are now required to possess computer-generated Payment Reference Number (PRN) before one could even make any payment for his contributions.
Nograles said this is a laudable project but if and only if all the necessary digital infrastructures are in place to ensure seamless transmission, processing and storage of all online registrations, payments and other transactions.
“Full digitalization of all government transactions is the way to go, and I’m glad that SSS is doing the first steps to make it happen. However, it’s plainly stupid to dispose of manual transactions without properly testing their new scheme. It is a recipe for disaster!” Nograles said.
“I have personally experienced the hassle of securing my PRN because, apparently, the SSS computer system is still jurassic. When I asked around, it turns out everyone has the same experience,” Nograles said.
Because of premature implementation, Nograles warns that the EHCS will disrupt the flow of contribution payments and cause inordinate delays for both the SSS and its members.
“This is very frustrating for many members. Why did they even make this EHCS a requirement if they cannot handle it in the first place? What they should have done is still provide manual registration as an option,” Nograles said.
Nograles reminded the SSS management that to go full digitalization, it should have the full digital infrastructure that would make it possible for them to process all online transactions without any bandwidth gridlock.
For one, Nograles said SSS must have adequate, efficient and secure client and back-up servers to allow fast and seamless processing of all online data that are transmitted by their members.
“It turns out that SSS has launched its ECHS programs without the proper digital infrastructure to back them up,” Nograles lamented.

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