08 February 2017

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on the revival of the mandatory reserve officers training corps program for Grades 11 & 12
Acting on the Department of National Defense (DND)’s recommendation, the President has approved a bill amending RA7077 which mandates the “institutionalization, development, training and organization” of Basic ROTC in Grades 11 and 12 in public and private schools during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

In his 2016 State of the Nation Address, the President made a policy pronouncement to strengthen the ROTC program to “instill love of country and good citizenship” among the youth, and to make it once again mandatory.

The Bill will be submitted to Congress which will deliberate on it before it becomes a law.

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on the New York Times’ opinion article written by ex-Colombian President Cesar Gaviria
We respect the opinion of former President Cesar Gaviria that Colombia’s experience of “war against drugs” cannot be won by the armed forces and law enforcement agencies alone.

The Philippine President rightly understood the same insight when he began to address not just crime and illegal drugs but also broadened government efforts into a public health issue.

The second phase of the President’s anti-drug campaign focuses on the treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents. More than a national security problem, the proliferation of drugs in the country has been regarded as a health pandemic. A 2,500-patient capacity Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija was inaugurated last November. Another drug rehabilitation center, the Residential Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (RTRC) in Agusan del Sur — the first to open in a military camp in Mindanao – was likewise opened last year. In addition, Philhealth, the government’s national health insurance program, now covers a two-week drug rehabilitation program reserved at P10,000 per member.

It is unfortunate that international attention to the drug war in the Philippines centers on drug-related killings rather than the breakthroughs of the campaign. However, we appreciate the ex-Colombian president’s concerns and we encourage our people to see our situation in the light of comprehensive nation-building.

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on the Joint Statement of the Leftist Cabinet Members
We are pleased to hear that DSWD Sec. Judy Taguiwalo, DAR Sec. Rafael Mariano and NAPC Lead Convenor Sec. Liza Maza will stay in the Cabinet despite the scrapping of peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP.

The President chose them as his alter egos because he believes in their capacity to serve and deliver sustainable basic social services to the Filipino people. They all enjoy the President’s trust and confidence.

We assure everyone that the government shall continue to pursue genuine socio-economic reforms to alleviate poverty and promote a just and lasting peace. The Duterte administration remains fully committed to the task of uniting our people and working with all sectors to achieve peace and inclusive development during its term.