28 July 2016

Five Presidents in power-packed first NSC meeting
In a rare show of unity, an incumbent President and all living past Presidents of the Philippines joined hands to show support for the country’s first National Security Council (NSC) meeting under the Duterte administration in Malacañang on Wednesday.

“This is the Philippine Team,” former President and special envoy to China Fidel V. Ramos said as he got together with President Rodrigo R. Duterte, former President Benigno Aquino III, former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada in what can be considered a historic event in the history of the country — all living Presidents meeting to tackle the country’s security situation.

The unlikely get-together first happened at the President’s Hall in Malacañan, where a photograph with all five of them was taken.

Afterwards, President Duterte convened the NSC, as chair of the collegial body, at the State Dining Hall.

They were joined by the leaders of both Houses of Congress, including peace and security committee chairs, Cabinet Secretaries engaged in peace and security matters such as National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, officers of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Vice-President Leni Robredo.

Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan, whom President Duterte is eyeing to back up Ramos as envoy to China, was also present.

The NSC is the principal advisory body on the proper coordination and integration of plans and policies affecting national security.

It includes selected officials of the Cabinet and Congress as members, as well as other government executives and private citizens who may be invited by the President. (PND)

PRRD takes pride in Marikina shoes’ world-class craftsmanship
President Rodrigo Duterte showed off his new pair of custom-made leather boots to members of the Cabinet as they were emerging from the President’s Hall in Malacañan.

This was shortly after the lunch meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on July 27.

In a conversation with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, the President even took off one shoe and showed it to his audience for scrutiny.

He said the custom-made pair was given to him by a Marikina shoemaker.

PRRD proudly talked about the quality of locally-made products at par with international standards.

“Sa craftsmanship, number one ang Pilipinas. Even sa furniture, walang makatalo sa Pilipinas (in terms of craftsmanship, the Philippines is number one. Even with furniture, no or can beat the Philippines),” Duterte said.

Marikina was given the title “Shoe Capital of the Philippines” because of its world-class quality footwear products.

The Marikina shoe industry started in 1887 and for more than a century it made the local economy robust. (PND)

Medialdea leads turn-over of FOI EO
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Thursday led the ceremonial turn-over of the signed, sealed and stamped document known as the Executive Order on Freedom of Information (EO on FOI) to Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar, at the Premiere Guest House in Malacañan.

Andanar stressed that the real point of EO on FOI.

Andanar said Secretary Medialdea has also tasked the PCO, which he heads, to form an Ad-Hoc Committee to prepare the manual and guidelines to operationalize the EO.

FOI Advocates like the Right to Know, Right Now Coalition (RKRNC), officials of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and World Bank (WB) representatives welcomed the passage of the EO, saying, it’s a landmark and timely move by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, to get rid of corruption in government bureaucracy.
“The EO is definitely a welcome development in the people’s struggle for our right to access information as enshrined in the Constitution, we challenge Congress to prove itself equally responsive by finally overcoming their resistance to FOI and enact a progressive FOI law,” the Right to Know, Right Now Coalition said in a position paper.

As this developed, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Senate’s chair of Ways and Means and Representative Carlos T. Zarate of Bayan Muna Party-List vowed to work for the passage of an FOI in both houses of Congress.

Senator Angara expressed optimism that both houses of Congress will finally pass the FOI law especially with the support of the President.

Among those who witnessed the activity are Malou Mangahas; Convenor Eirene E. Aguila; KBP Chairman Herman Z. Basbaño of Bombo Radyo, Ruperto S. Nicdao, Jr. Manila Broadcasting Company; and WB representative Hanif Rahemtulla. (PND)

PRRD encourages military to stay alert, promises to provide the best armaments to carry out their mandate
Speaking before members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) at Camp Nakar in Lucena City, President Rodrigo R. Duterte expressed his disappointment with the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who ambushed a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Davao del Norte resulting in the death of a CAFGU member and wounding four others.

“If we cannot honor a ceasefire, let’s just fight!” President Duterte said, calling on the rebel group to investigate and discipline those responsible for the incident.

The President mentioned that government law enforcers who commit infractions are meted penalties, which must also be done among their ranks by those from the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

On Monday, President Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF as a sign of the government’s goodwill towards the realization of a peace agreement with the rebels.

“As President, I have to seek peace for our country. Not only with the communist insurgency but doon rin sa (but also with the) Muslim insurgency.”

Even with the ceasefire, the President encouraged the military to stay on alert, saying that they should be involved in assuring the safety of residents in their respective jurisdictions.

He also reminded the AFP and the PNP not to provoke any elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the NPA as their members are fellow Filipinos who are fighting for an ideology, unlike the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) which is a mere criminal group with no clear ideological agenda attached to its cause.

PRRD also said the $32 million fund, which the United States offered through Secretary of State John Kerry, will be used for national security and the campaign against illegal drugs. He also promised to provide the best armaments to the military for them to be able to carry out their mandate and accomplish their missions, but reminding the soldiers to exercise restraint and calmness.

The President further reiterated the new role of the military in the campaign against drugs. “We cannot hand over to the next generation this problem on drugs because it reaches far and wide. There is no negotiating with criminals. You have to destroy them. There is no other choice. There is no ideology.”

President Duterte emphasized the need for intensified operations against illegal drug syndicates. He explained that the reason why no “big fish” have been caught is due to the fact that drug lords operate outside the country utilizing state-of-the-art technology to facilitate shipments and distribution. Going after these top-tier personalities would mean an incursion into foreign territory, short of declaring war on the country where these drug lords reside. (PND)