06 July 2017

President Duterte to Communists: Show sincerity in the peace talks

Hagonoy, Davao del Sur— President Rodrigo Duterte encouraged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), on Wednesday, July 5, to show its sincerity to continue the peace talks between the government and the communists.

“I have to talk to the communists but this time I hope you do it in a modality that is sincere,” the President said during his visit to the 64th founding anniversary of Hagonoy in Davao del Sur.

President Duterte highlighted that the communists and the government must stop threatening each other.

“We are all Filipinos…you know every time I see a dead soldier or a dead NPA, I feel sorry because we’re Filipinos and we are fighting an issue as a matter of principle,” he said.

The Chief Executive underscored that nothing beneficial would come out of the exchange of threats between the government and the insurgents.

“You do not just withdraw because we cannot agree on a certain agenda in the — You sulk and then disappear, and then come back wanting to talk. Hindi ko naiintindihan. Ang raming problema,” he said.

President Duterte meanwhile reassured the public not to fear the implementation of martial law in Mindanao as he “would not allow” abuses by security forces.

“Rest assured there will be no abuses in times like this. I will not allow it,” the President said.

The Chief Executive said the crisis in Marawi made him declare martial rule to eradicate terrorism which is “much worse” than the communist insurgency.

“Although the fighting is winding up, maybe we need more time to clean the place,” Duterte said.

President Duterte added that the public could rely on the military and police who are “well educated and well aware of their duty to the Republic and the Filipino people.”

The President meanwhile encouraged the local government of Davao del Sur to make its province more competitive.

“You have to make your province and municipality competitive. And if you want to make it a city, there are certain requirements of your income plus population but more than just standards, you have to have something more,” Duterte said,” noting that while mining is a source of income for the province, they also have to ensure that the environment is not neglected.

“Ako, wala akong problema sa minahan except that whether you like it or not, basta may minahan, may destruction. The only thing you can do for environment is to lessen or mitigate it to its lowest descent. Pero kung may mamimina sa lupa tapos gagamitan ng chemical to extract the ore, gold, whatever, there’s always the damage of contamination,” he said.

The President also encouraged the people of Davao del Sur to engage more in food production, particularly in aquaculture.

“Food’s gonna be really expensive in the coming generations. Pag mauna kayo diyan, kasi nandiyan lang ‘yung dagat malapit sa inyo, aquaculture,” he said.### PND

DOF assures PH fiscally secure

The Department of Finance (DOF) on Thursday, July 6, assured that the country is fiscally secured and is on track to meet its targets.

In a press briefing in Malacañan, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III noted that the government has collected more revenues, citing the reforms during the first year of the Duterte administration.

Dominguez cited that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has expanded its Large Taxpayers Service for closer monitoring of large businesses while the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has strengthened its anti-smuggling capabilities, “reflecting in dramatically improved collections.”

“From July 2016, when we took over, to May 2017, government collected about P2.09 trillion in revenues. That is seven percent higher than the same period the previous year. For this, credit should go to the administrative reforms in our main revenue agencies that substantially improved our revenue effort,” Dominguez said.

The Finance chief also said the government is ready to fund the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, a flagship program of the Duterte administration.

The “Build, Build, Build program, Dominguez said, “will ensure robust growth for the economy and more inclusive growth pattern and dramatic reduction in poverty incidents by 2022.”

Dominguez also lauded the passage of the Tax Reform Package in Congress, saying that it is the first time that the country is passing a tax reform for the future.

“In the past, all tax reforms were passed when we had problems, when we had the big deficits, we passed a tax reform; when we had big debts, they passed a tax reform. This is the first time we are passing a tax reform for the future,” Dominguez said.

“The package accomplishes the dual goals of increasing disposable income for our workers and increasing spending for the poor. It is a win-win package for our people,” he said.

In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said claims by Muslim leader Aga Khan Sharief are not verified, stressing that the position of President Duterte is not to negotiate with terrorists.

“Because this constitutes rebellion, because they submit to a foreign leader, and hold to a dangerous ideology that is inimical to the well- being of all Filipinos, including Muslim Filipinos. And because most Muslim Filipinos disagree with the extreme interpretation and application of the Muslim belief system,” Abella explained.

“The President is committed to what is just, fair, and equitable; and he stands against what is criminal, corrupt, and dangerous to the people, and to the next generation,” he added.

In the same briefing, Abella mentioned the plan of the Philippine National Police (PNP) deployment of Marines to replace the Special Action Force (SAF) personnel in the Bilibid following the resurgence of illegal drugs inside the national penitentiary.

“The discovery and neutralization of drug syndicates operating in the national penitentiary is one of the highlight accomplishments of the government’s war against illegal drugs,” Abella said.

“The reported resumption of the drug trade and the involvement of SAF in the Bilibid Prison underscored the enormity of the drug problem and the need to destroy the entire drug apparatus to fully succeed in our campaign,” he added.

Abella also stressed that the Duterte administration will continue to be relentless in eradicating the illegal drug problem.

“Investigation is now underway to probe drug-related activities and collusions, if any, of authorities,” he said. ###PND

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella – On the 6.5 earthquake

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported a magnitude 6.5 earthquake, which occurred 13 kilometers southwest of Jaro, Leyte, today, 4:03PM.

We ask our people, especially residents of affected areas, to stay calm and yet remain alert and vigilant for aftershocks as we assure them of immediate assistance by the government.

We ask our people to regularly check the Phivolcs website for the latest earthquake information. Updates will be provided as soon as more information becomes available.

President Rodrigo Duterte visits wounded soldiers in Davao

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited wounded-in-action (WIA) soldiers at the Metro Davao Medical Research Center (MDMRC) here on Thursday, June 6.

The Commander-in-Chief came to visit the soldiers to personally check on their condition and boost their morale.

During his visit, President Duterte awarded medals to the wounded soldiers and also gave them financial assistance.

The President also shared a short and friendly chat with the soldiers, as well as listened to their concerns.

The soldiers visited by the President were Pfc. Jestony C. Torifel, Pvt. Alex Agiaman, and Cpl. Ray PJ S. Lagura.

They were wounded in action during an encounter with a fully armed group, believed to be members of New People’s Army (NPA) in Monkayo, Compostella Valley last July 1, 2017.

The hospital visit came right after his talk with the troops at Camp Bahian in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. ###PND