20 April 2017

President Duterte attends Erap’s 80th birthday celebration
President Rodrigo Duterte graced the 80th birthday celebration of Manila Mayor and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada at the Manila Hotel on Wednesday, April 19.

In his message, President Duterte greeted the former President on his natal day and reiterated his commitment to eliminate illegal drugs and corruption in the country, noting that failing to address the problem threatens the next generation of Filipinos.

His goal, Duterte said, is to eliminate graft and corruption and illegal drugs in the country and then he will let his economic managers improve the country’s economy.

He said among the members of the Cabinet are brilliant men who could run the economy well, assuring the people that they are also clean and honest.

At the same time, the President promised to go after the country’s abusive oligarchs, particularly those who are not paying the correct taxes.

The government’s peace talks with the communists and Muslim separatists are ongoing, he also said, as he warned about the threats from Islamic extremists.

Present during the celebration were former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Loren Legarda, Rep. Imelda Marcos, and former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ###PND

President Duterte receives new Myanmar envoy
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, April 20, formally received the credentials of Myanmar Ambassador-Designate to the Philippines U Win Naing.

President Duterte received Ambassador Naing at the Malacañang’s Reception Hall. The Myanmar envoy was accompanied by his spouse, Madame Nwe Ni Aung.

The new envoy was accorded arrival honors at the Kalayaan Grounds. After accepting the envoy’s credentials, President Duterte invited Ambassador Naing for a tete-a-tete inside the Music Room.

Accompanying Ambassador Naing were Mrs. Lei Lei Sein, Deputy Chief of Mission; Col. Win Myat, Defense Attache; Mr. Chan Nyein Soe, First Secretary; Ms. Phyu Min Thu, First Secretary; and Mr. Aung Than Myint Aye, Chief of Chancery.

It will be recalled that President Duterte visited Myanmar last March as part of his introductory visit to ASEAN member states.

During his visit to Myanmar, President Duterte met with Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw and discussed the strengthening of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Myanmar. He likewise met with
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

The Philippines and Myanmar established bilateral relations 60 years ago in 1956.

There are more than 1,800 Filipinos in Myanmar who are working as teachers, lawyers, engineers and humanitarian workers.###(PND)

Palace: Duterte admin’s anti-endo drive now a reality
The commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte against contractualization has taken shape with more than 40,000 workers regularized since July last year, the Palace announced on Thursday, April 20.

“On the government’s anti-endo drive, it nets 45,605 regularized workers and the President’s campaign promise to end the contractualization has become a reality,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has successfully regularized the said workers from July 2016 to March this year.

It has also issued Department Order No. 174 on contracting and sub-contracting to support measures in abolishing illegal contractualization practices.

Abella noted that the order authorizes labor groups along with labor compliance offices to review establishments and observance of existing labor laws and regulations.

“We remain committed to provide stable and secure jobs for the Filipino people,” he said.

The Palace is also hopeful that the unveiling of President Duterte’s economic and development blueprint for the Philippines or DuterteNomics, the robust economic growth and push for big-ticket infrastructure projects will be sustained.

The Palace official made this statement following International Monetary Fund’s statement that it sees the Philippines’ economic growth of 6.8% for this year and 6.9% in 2018.

Abella said the projected growth of 6.8% for this year which is attributed to maintaining domestic demand, progress in export, and the administration’s increased infrastructure spending is within the target of 6 to 7 percent growth for 2017.

Meanwhile, on travel advisories issued amid the clash of government troops and members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Bohol, the spokesperson said that tourists’ interest in the Philippines continues to surge.

“So it will all even up,” Abella said, adding that “definitely” the Philippines is still safe.

In the same briefing, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) Chairperson Terrry Ridon said his agency has launched ‘Urban Poor Kontra Droga’ in several cities that aims to provide the softer approach towards the drug war.

He said agencies including PCUP have been trying to implement particular interventions in respect to the demand side of the drug problem.

“Ultimately in implementing the drug war, you will have… community leaders in those areas that should be able to really shepherd many of the communities against drugs and that is what we would really want to do: empowering the people’s organizations, the NGOs within these urban poor communities to really stand against drugs and help government in resolving the drug problem,” Ridon said.

On the takeover incident in Pandi, Bulacan involving militant group Kadamay, Ridon said it gives further resolve within the housing agencies to push for onsite and in-city resettlement as the main mode of resettlement of informal settler families affected by public infrastructure projects, court orders or disaster-induced relocation.

The group Kadamay has occupied vacant housing units in a resettlement area intended for the military and policemen.

Ridon said off-site resettlement should also be abandoned as the main mode of resettlement and should only be considered as the last resort, particularly in view of the costs of economic dislocation of informal settler families and the costs of creating an entirely off site new township with full services, utilities and livelihood.

“This is also an opportunity to push for a higher budget for housing albeit better termed human settlements’ budget equivalent to one percent of the country’s GDP similar to international benchmarks given to other social services responding to basic needs like education, health and social welfare,” he further noted. ### (PND)