04 April 2017
From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno’s exit from the Cabinet
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has dismissed Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary, Mr. Ismael Sueno, citing loss of trust and confidence.

The announcement was made at the end of the 14th Cabinet Meeting. The President had earlier asked a few questions of Mr. Sueno but the summary dismissal served as a warning that Mr. Duterte would not countenance any questionable or legally untenable decisions by any member of the Cabinet. The Secretary had, in fact, been instrumental in convincing the President to run for election, but this did not deter the President from pursuing his drive for a trustworthy government by addressing issues like corruption.###

Malacañang: PH prepared to welcome more Chinese investors
Malacañang said the country is prepared to welcome some 150 Chinese investors to the country.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, April 4, said the Bank of China, China’s most internationalized and diversified bank, will be bringing in 150 Chinese investors to the Philippines.

The 150 Chinese investors are expected to attend the 12th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Investors Seminar which will be held in Cebu this April.

He also said that the Bank of China will be providing the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry about P3 billion in aid to qualified micro, small and medium enterprise beneficiaries.

The Palace also expressed elation over the strong Institutional Investor’s outlook for the Philippines. The Philippines was given a thumbs-up by the Institutional Investor, a New York-based leading international business publisher.

Also, the recently approved Social Security System (SSS) pension increase is also seen to boost consumer spending.

At the same time, Abella said the two additional lanes along Timog Avenue to Scout Borromeo in Quezon City are now open with an improved flood control concrete box culvert.

Abella said the 522-meter Road Project and the 5.30 meters width by 4.35 meters deep Flood Control Project, totaling to P87.69 million, are expected to ease the flow of traffic along Quezon Avenue–East Bound.

In the same briefing, Abella said the dismissal of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno manifests President Rodrigo Duterte’s determination to restore the trust of the people in government.

The President always reiterates in his speeches that he will not tolerate graft and corruption in government, noting that even a whiff of corruption, he will not hesitate to dismiss members of his administration.

“I think we have to give him credit and really understand and put it in context that what he’s really actually doing is really restoring trust in the government,” Abella said.

“Apparently for the longest time, the people have become, in a sense, hopeless about the situation. But he is actually empowering the Filipino people once more by giving them a trustworthy government. It’s quite a challenge,” he added.

Asked by reporters if there will be investigation or people to be charged after Sueno’s dismissal, Abella said it’s up to the President what to do next.

The Palace spokesman also said there is still no immediate successor for Sueno.###PND

President Duterte assures soldiers of his support during Army’s 120th anniversary
President Rodrigo Duterte commended the members of the Philippine Army for their sacrifices to the country during their 120th anniversary celebration as he promised them continuous support to effectively do their jobs.

“Since the establishment of the Philippine Army 120 years ago, our history is replete with tales of our soldiers’ great sacrifices and significant victories to best protect our people and our national sovereignty,” the President said in his speech at the Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio on Tuesday, April 4.

In line with the government’s modernization program on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the present leadership has been providing telecommunication apparatus, firepower and infantry fighting vehicles to the Army, the President said.

The administration allocated almost P6.5 billion for Philippine Army projects under the Revised AFP Modernization Plan to procure individual equipment such as rifles, pistols, grenade launchers and force protection armors.

The President noted that he signed an Executive Order last September increasing the combat pay of soldiers from P500 to P3,000 per month and their combat incentive pay from P150 to P300 a day.

Also, the Department of Budget and Management is also working on the proposed compensation adjustment to increase the base and hazard pays of military personnel, President Duterte said.

Duterte said the GSIS will also study the possibility of having a housing loan program that will complement the soldier’s ability to pay, noting that soldiers are more confident to perform their mandate if their loved ones are well-sheltered.

He also called on the Philippine Army and all branches of the military to continue helping the administration’s drive against illegal drugs.

At the same time, the President asked the members of the military to forego the houses intended for them in Bulacan, stressing that his government will build new homes in another location.

“I am asking you kung maaari lang. Do not be offended. Take it with an open mind. Ako na mismo, inyong Presidente, nakikiusap sa inyo. Let us not wage a fight against our own people,” he said.

“Tutal mahirap lang ‘yan sila, intindihin na lang ninyo. And I will build another housing project for you soonest and I intend to complete it by December,” he added.

He warned the members of Kadamay not to create trouble in the housing sites they occupied and avoid harassing the soldiers and policemen who are already residing there.

“Do not create trouble, avoid chaos, and we will try to solve what ails this country,” the President said.###PND

President Duterte leads MMDA’s Crisis Monitoring and Management Center launch
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to provide 24-hour assistance to the people of Metro Manila during emergency and crisis situations as he led the inauguration of the Crisis Monitoring and Management Center on Tuesday, April 4. 
“This place shall serve as the primary operations center where all government agencies and non-government organizations would converge to respond to all sorts of disasters – from petty vehicular accidents to massive floods, from transport strikes to devastating earthquakes,” President Duterte said in his speech at the MMDA main office in Makati attended by several mayors of various cities in the metro.
“With the establishment of this Center, we are highlighting the need [for] the MMDA to be more responsive to the needs of our constituents in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces,” he added.
He then directed the MMDA to assume a lead role in government’s effort to maintain peace and order in the communities.
“Be vigilant not only in protecting our people from natural and man-made calamities, but also in our fight against illegal drugs, crime, and corruption,” he said.
He likewise instructed the MMDA to initiate programs that would educate people, especially the youth, on the importance of disaster preparedness and the need to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
In the same speech, the Chief Executive reminded government workers to shun corruption and be responsible and honest public servants.
“Let’s stop this business of oppressing the people and give them the respite for the years of corruption and uncertainty,” he said.
In an interview before gracing the MMDA event, the President explained why he lost his confidence in Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno.
“Isa lang naman talaga ang ayaw natin diyan sa… I do not have to belabor the point. Just remember my promises to the people: no corruption, droga, criminality, and I will improve the economy. Select the best answer na lang kayo diyan,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said he is still looking for the best man to replace Sueno. ###PND