04 July 2017

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the SC martial law ruling

The High Court has spoken: Proclamation 216 is constitutional.

The President is sworn to protect the Filipino people. He will not waver in this commitment to end rebellion, the evil of terrorism and to liberate Marawi. With the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy.

We ask the public to give their full support and cooperation to local authorities. After all, securing communities is a responsibility that must be shared by everyone.

DOLE assures support for labor force, OFWs under Duterte admin

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday, July 4 reaffirmed the commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte to provide support and services to the Filipino labor force, especially for migrant workers.

During the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) briefing in Malacañan, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III gave updates on his agency’s key initiatives and programs aimed at promoting the welfare of Filipino workers in the country and abroad.

“We have increased labor opportunities because alam mo ang hindi natin nalalaman, while the President is providing protection to our OFWs, ang final goal ng ating Presidente is to get them back, repatriate all of them, because the President is aware of the social implication of Filipinos going abroad to look for jobs,” Bello said.

“The President has seen to it that their life is more comfortable, more secured, and their stay abroad are properly attended to,” he added.

In a bid to ease the burden of so-called modern day heroes, Bello said the Labor department plans to do away with the time-consuming process of securing Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs).

The required document to work abroad will be replaced by the iDOLE or Integrated Department of Labor and Employment System, which Bello said will be given to all “bona fide” overseas Filipino workers.

“So they don’t have to go to the POEA every time they go and they come back and they go back again. All they have to do is show their ID, the iDOLE and that will serve as their license to go abroad, come back here, and then go back anytime they want to go back,” Bello said.

The Labor chief said other government offices are also integrated in iDOLE such as the Social Security System, Pag-IBIG, and Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

“That to me is a major gift of the President to our OFWs who we always call as the ‘bagong bayani,’” he said.

Bello likewise cited the establishment of 17 one-stop service centers throughout the country that has so far assisted over a million OFWs.

Another good news for Filipino workers is the creation of an OFW bank, which Bello said will be formally launched in October.

The Cabinet official also reported that out of 13,000 migrant Filipino workers who applied for amnesty in Saudi Arabia, 6,000 have been repatriated.

“We only have now 2,400 OFWs who are still there and have to be repatriated,” Bello said noting that some of the OFWs opted to stay after securing a new job.

He said these workers will be sent home on July 12 through Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

Meanwhile, Secretary Bello said the government has already reduced the unemployment rate to a “very modest percentage” of 1.7 percent.

He said 139,000 were hired on-the-spot during 1,800 job fairs conducted by DOLE throughout the country.

He also cited Dutertenomics, a program where six trillion will be spent for a major infrastructure plan, which is expected to create two million jobs annually.

“ENDO a thing of the past”

On President Duterte’s promise to end the unlawful form of contractualization, Bello affirmed that the practice is a “thing of the past” under the Duterte administration.

“Definitely, endo is going to or has already ended. Why? Because management and employers realized that this is unlawful. And that it is unlawful for them to engage in endo. So in fairness to the management group, to the employers, they all committed to stop the practice of endo, the practice of 555,” he said.

Bello is referring to the practice of employers where they hire workers for five months, terminate them, and then rehire them again for another five months.

On the other hand, the Secretary admitted that the agency failed to regularize all Filipino employees under laws on contractualization.

“Medyo nahirapan kami dahil unang-una, we are supervising almost 900,000 business establishment throughout the country. And I am very sorry to tell you that we only have a little over 500 labor law compliance officers, inspectors for short,” he said.

To address the challenge, Bello said they asked the President to provide additional inspectors. The agency also sought the help of labor unions and employers’ organizations to nominate individuals that can be trained and utilized as inspectors.

Palace: More robust economic growth, safer PH under President Duterte

During the same press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella Moody’s Investors Service maintained the Philippines credit rating of Baa2 and stable outlook, indicating the country’s strong economic performance marked by its rapid real GDP growth, improvement in debt manageability supported by a tighter fiscal policy, and the ability to withstand domestic political risk.

“The Duterte administration continues to sustain the robust economic growth of the country and make it more inclusive by attracting more businesses, investing in human capital and increasing infrastructure spending,” Abella said.

The Palace official also reported on the “very productive and fruitful” meeting of President Duterte with His Excellency Ambassador Sung Kim of the United States of America on Monday, July 3.

He said the Ambassador reiterated the US government’s full support for the Philippine government operations and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi.

The Ambassador also conveyed to the President the US government’s approval of the duty-free entry of travel goods from the Philippines to the United States, which will generate 70,000 new domestic jobs and an additional P5 billion in revenues annually.

The Palace official also reported that the United Nations World Tourism Organization Secretary General Taleb Rifai has expressed his support for the Philippines as he calls out to everyone to experience the Philippines.

“This assures that the Philippines continues to be a safe and relaxing place for foreign and local tourists, which will further increase the country’s investment and business expansion,” Abella noted. ### PND

President Duterte calls on PAF personnel to serve with professionalism, competence

CLARK AIR BASE, PAMPANGA — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, July 4, graced the anniversary of the Philippine Air Force and called its members to remain true to their oath amid threats of terrorism and external security.

“As our country faces the current challenges of terrorism and external security, I call upon the men and women of the Philippine Air Force to live up to your oath with the highest degree of professionalism and competence,” President Duterte said in his speech.

The Chief Executive said he is privileged to join the celebration of PAF’s 70th anniversary that highlights the role of the organization in defending the country.

“As we commemorate this milestone, let me also honor the brave men and women of the AFP and the PNP who are now facing the enemy in Marawi and in other parts of the country,” the President said.

“Especially Philippine Air Force plays a crucial role in preserving our national integrity in the face of challenges from within and from without — from outside our borders,” he added.

He said PAF’s intensified aerial reconnaissance missions and the maritime patrols over the West Philippine Sea and the Benham Rise are testament to his administration’s dedication to protect Philippine waters from external threats.

In addition, PAF was also tapped to augment government’s internal security operations by providing air support to ground forces and assisting law enforcement agencies in the surveillance and intelligence gathering operations.

The organization has joined almost two thousand counter-insurgency and law enforcement operations, five of which contributing to our ongoing war against illegal drugs and loose firearms.

The President acknowledged the Air Force in its crucial role in the government’s efforts to retake Marawi City from the clutches of the ISIS-inspired terrorists.

According to Duterte, more than 40 air force assets and more than 400 Air Force officers and personnel who are involved in ground operations have been deployed.

“As we wrap up in our campaign to liberate Marawi, I am confident that the Philippine Air Force will once again take an active role in the rebuilding of the city and uplifting the spirit of those affected by the conflict,” he said.

The President said the country relies on PAF’s valuable experience in humanitarian assistance and disaster response, especially in surveying war-torn areas and airlifting relief goods as well as rescuing the victims and those stranded.

He then gave assurance to further strengthen the Air Force.

“We will continue the ongoing modernization program by procuring additional attack and combat utility vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs to complement our already existing air assets,” he said.

Among the officials who joined the President were Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, PAF Commanding General Lieutenant General Edgar Fallorina, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines Kim Jae-shin.###PND

President Duterte vows justice for Bulacan massacre victims

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, July 4, visited the wake of the victims of the gruesome massacre in Bulacan assuring that justice will be served and those responsible will be held liable.

Before attending the Philippine Air Force anniversary celebration in Pampanga, President Duterte paid a brief visit to North Ridge Royale Subdivision in Brgy. Sto. Cristo, here, to personally expressed condolences to Dexter Carlos Sr., a security guard whose five members of his family were stabbed to death inside their home last week.

“Our number one duty is really to protect and defend the Filipino people. One death, two deaths – malaking impact na sa amin, kagaya nito itong apat, I mean lima. Kaya ako pumunta dito. There will be justice,” Duterte said in a media interview.

The Chief Executive gave a total cash assistance of 275,000 to Carlos.

Duterte also gave Carlos a cellphone telling him to call should he need any assistance.

“I told him that, ‘If there’s anything that you would need and if you think that I can help, call me,” he said.

The National Housing Authority has also offered a housing unit for the bereaved family, according to the President.

Duterte reiterated his pledge to protect the Filipinos against criminals.

“Ako, basta may trabaho ako. And my job is to see to it — I will repeat — to preserve and defend the Filipino nation. That’s about it,” he said.

The Chief Executive was accompanied by Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong”Go, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, and San Jose del Monte Mayor Arthur Robes during the wake visit.

On June 27, Carlos found his wife, his three children and his mother-in-law dead inside their home. ###PND