MTVN top news in briefs…

MTVN top news in briefs…

It appears that both Houses of Congress are again at loggerheads on the issue of Charter change. Some quarters aver tinkering with it seems futile at this point in time as the 2022 national elections are just around the corner. 

For Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco, however, this is the right time to effect amendments to the Charter specifically on economic provisions to help the country rebound fast from its current economic state, no thanks to Covid-19. 

Sen. Ping Lacson also reminded the Lower House cannot do it alone as there are two legislative chambers (House and Senate). 

Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez also added a grain of salt into the issue, saying Congress doesn’t need Cha-cha (Charter change) rather, all it needs is to pass pending economic reform bills pronto!

That, and other choice cuts of news, were collated as follows by Fitzgerald Cecilio.

Here goes: 

Pass economic bills to further open economy: DTI chief

MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is in favor of further liberalizing the economy but not necessarily through constitutional amendments, Secretary Ramon Lopez said Friday.

Lopez said it has been DTI’s principle to support moves to open up the economy and lift restrictions that hamper economic growth, including those on foreign ownership.

“Kung magagawa ito sa pamamagitan ng ilang mga batas, not necessarily constitutional amendment, ito po ang nakikita naming mas madali moving forward (If this could be done by passing some bills, not necessarily constitutional amendment, this is what we see as the easier way to move forward),” he said during a Laging Handa public briefing.

Lopez said the department has nothing against Charter change, particularly if it focuses only on economic provisions, but other issues, especially political, have surfaced.

“Dahil ‘pag pinag-usapan ang Charter Change, marami pang pangamba at issue na lumalabas, tulad ng nakikita natin ngayon (Because when Charter change is discussed, many concerns and issues arise, like what we are seeing now),” he said.

Lopez added that given the limited time before the start of the campaign and election period, lawmakers lack time to amend the Constitution.

Earlier, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business group, said discussing Charter change amid the pandemic is untimely.

Instead of pushing for a constitutional amendment, it said, lawmakers should pass pending bills that would also lift certain economic restrictions in the country.

CBCP lauds gov’t move to prioritize poor Pinoys in vaccination

MANILA — The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)-Episcopal Commission for Bioethics lauded the government for considering the less fortunate Filipinos to be prioritized in the national coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination program.

“We especially commend our national government for considering the poor in our national vaccination program. The poor are beloved of the Lord. They should be specially protected because their poverty makes them vulnerable to infection and severe disease,” Tuguegarao Archbishop Ricardo Baccay, chairman of the Commission, said in a pastoral statement on Saturday.

Baccay also urged the people to have themselves vaccinated.

“The Covid-19 vaccines will only be able to end the pandemic in our country if enough Filipinos are vaccinated so we urge all of our people to be immunized when the vaccines arrive in the Philippines,” he said.

The CBCP official expressed support for the government’s vaccine procurement initiatives.

“We, therefore, support the efforts of our national government to procure and to deploy these vaccines in our country, and we thank the private organizations who have come forward to help acquire them,” he said.

72K firms inspected for compliance with health protocols: DOLE

MANILA – Around 72,000 companies have been inspected for compliance with minimum health protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, a labor official said on Friday.

“Of the 72,000, our initial visit has recorded a 77 percent compliance rate. It means we have some 23 percent that are not compliant,” Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said in a Laging Handa briefing.

The inspections, Benavidez said, were jointly conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“Part of the process is to teach them and inform them that they need to follow occupational safety and health standards. We also provide technical assistance and technical advice to them,” he added.

Benavidez said while many employers have followed the minimum health protocols, some failed to comply.

Oral arguments on anti-terror law reset to Feb. 2

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday said the oral arguments on the suits questioning the legality of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 has been rescheduled after personnel from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a notice sent to concerned parties, SC Clerk of Court Edgar O. Aricheta said the high court has reset the oral arguments to Feb. 2 “considering the meritorious request of Solicitor General Jose Calida that his Assistant Solicitor General and some staff who will attend the oral arguments have been tested positive for Covid 19”.

The SC, in preparation for the oral arguments originally scheduled on January 19, has earlier issued strict health protocol ground rules including limiting media personnel to be allowed to stay at the ground floor lobby where a TV monitor will be set up.

They may record the proceedings through the monitor for purposes only of a later broadcast and the proceedings may not be aired live, SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said.

Reporters covering the event are also required to submit a negative swab test result taken at least 72 hours before the oral arguments.

‘ROTTEN TO THE CORE’: Sinas orders restrictive custody, criminal charges vs 4 Olongapo narco cops

MANILA — “Rotten to the core.”

This was how Philippine National Police chief PGen Debold Sinas described the four police personnel of Olongapo City Police Office arrested by CIDG agents during a raid at a clandestine Shabu laboratory inside the Subic Bay Freeport.

“These people are ‘rotten to the core’ and do not deserve to be associated with the rest of the 220,000 PNP members who are serving honorably and with dignity,” Sinas said.

“I will do everything within my authority under existing PNP regulations to ensure the successful prosecution of these people,” said.

The Chief PNP particularly instructed Police Major General Marne Marcos, PNP Director for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) to closely supervise the filing of criminal charges against Police Lieutenant Reynato Basa Jr; and Police Corporals Gino Dela Cruz, Edesyr Victor Alipio, and Godfrey Duclayan Parentela; all members of the City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) of Olongapo City Police Office.

At the same time, Sinas instructed Central Luzon Police Regional Director, Police Brigadier General Valeriano De Leon, to disarm and place the four personnel under restrictive custody at the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit to ensure their availability to face further investigation.

He also ordered immediate drug testing of all personnel of the Olongapo City Police Office starting with all CDEU operatives.

Drug-use-positive Region 4A cops sacked

CAMP GEN. VICENTE LIM, CALAMBA, LAGUNA — In pursuance of the Philippine National Police’s massive internal cleansing program, the two personnel of Region 4A, who tested positive during a random drug testing facilitated by the Regional Crime Laboratory Office (RCLO) and Regional Intelligence Division (RID) 4A, were ordered relieved by Region 4A police director Brigadier General Felipe Natividad.

The dismissed police officers were assigned with the Calamba City and Candelaria Municipal police stations and were immediately relieved and placed under the custody of the Holding and Accounting Unit (PHAU) Section pending endorsement for summary dismissal proceedings.

“We required all our PRO4A personnel to submit themselves for a drug test so that we could identify those who are using illegal drugs. Bilang tagapag-patupad ng batas, tayo dapat ang mangunang sumunod sa batas, bago natin ito ipatupad,” Natividad said.

“This is a stern warning to all the members of PRO4A who are still engaging in illegal drugs. I have been firm in my orders that we will intensify our internal cleansing program. I will relieve you immediately kapag nagpositive kayo at napatunayan na gumagamit kayo ng ipinagbabawal na droga. The random drug testing to all the personnel shall continue, hindi tayo titigil hanggat hindi nalilinis ang ating hanay lalong lalo na dito sa PRO4A. Aalisin natin ang lahat ng bulok na patuloy na sumisira sa magandang imahe ng PNP,” he added.

Natividad also instructed all the Chiefs of Police, RID and RCLO 4A to relentlessly conduct random drug testing to all offices/units to identify drug users within its ranks. 

Lucena City General Hospital rising soon

MANILA — Department of Health (DOH)-CALABARZON Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo today lauded the initiative of the local officials of Quezon province for the construction of the Lucena City General Hospital (LCGH) as he personally witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony held in Barangay Mayao Parada, Lucena City on Friday, January 15, 2021.

The ceremony was led by Quezon 2nd District Representative David Suarez, main proponent of the LCGH project and ably supported by Alona Party List Representative Anna Villaraza-Suarez and Quezon Province Governor Danilo Suarez.

“This hospital, once completed, will decongest the Quezon Medical Center and will provide more health service not only in the city but in the entire province of Quezon,” Cong Suarez stated in his speech.

The construction of LCGH is an initiative of the local government of Quezon province.

“Napakahalaga ng proyektong ito sa probinsya ng Quezon dahil matutugunan nito ang mga iba pang pangangailangang pangkalusugan ng mga residente,” Director Janairo enthused during his speech. (AI/MTVN)

Leave a Reply