14 March 2017

Duterte lays out plans to fulfill campaign promises
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, March 13, laid out the direction of his administration in a bid to realize its campaign pledges during the last election tackling issues such as federalism, criminality, corruption and illegal drugs.

“Magpatawag kami ng partido, because we would like to announce the policies that could be adopted by PDP and to be implemented sa gobyerno where — it’s the ruling group,” President Duterte said during a joint press conference with Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in Malacañan.

President Duterte said federalism is the centerpiece of their campaign during the last elections and it remains to be the priority of the administration, believing it is the only way to bring peace to Mindanao.

Duterte explained that the current unitary type of government has not solved the country’s problems and this has to be corrected.

He added that Mindanao’s security situation was also discussed, particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group and the widespread drug trade that fuels extremism in the south.

As federalism is becoming a major issue, the President warned about bogus federalism movement sprouting everywhere that just collects money from people who want to join. He told the public not to believe them.

Also during the same press conference, the President reiterated his support to Environment Secretary Gina Lopez as he showed photos of destroyed mountains and forests as a result of mining operations.

He said the P70 billion a year in taxes contributed by the mining industry is not worth it, considering the destruction it brought to the country. The President also said he wants an explanation from mining companies regarding the destruction that they did.

“Kaya ‘yung mga miners, mag-usap tayo dito. Gusto ninyo tayo-tayo lang o media, explain to me kung bakit ganito. And you explain well to me bakit ganito,” the President said.

The re-imposition of death penalty was also tackled on Monday with the President saying he wants the imposition of capital punishment to serve as deterrent to would-be criminals.

“What’s the purpose of criminal law? It’s retribution. Magbayad ka sa utang mo sa society,” the President said.

On raising taxes on gasoline and cars, the President said he already asked Congress to support legislations being pushed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to raise government funds.

He said the money would be used to realize projects that he promised during the last election, noting the government must also prepare as Chinese investments start to come in.

“Government runs on taxes. Iyon ang gasolina ng gobyerno. We cannot collect any other, except taxes. We do not go into business, Duterte said.

“Walang profits ang gobyerno except taxes. We do not compete,” he added. ###PND

Duterte approves national security guidelines for bureaucracy
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the enhanced National Security Policy 2017-2022 (NSP) that serves as guide for the government bureaucracy in the efforts to safeguard national security interests.

“This version of the NSP now directs the national security sector to be aligned with and in tandem with the recently approved Philippine Development Plan,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing on Tuesday, March 14, in Malacañang.

Abella said the NSP was approved by the President during the National Security Council meeting last Monday, March 13.

Among the matters discussed during the National Security Council meeting include the peace process with the CPP-NPA-NDF, the West Philippine Sea issue, and the anti-illegal drugs campaign, among others.

On the peace process, Abella said the President acknowledged the joint statement of the government peace panel and the National Democratic Front (NDF) on the intent to resume formal peace talks.

“To ensure that genuine peace talks are realized, the President asked both panels to agree on clear parameters for ceasefire and the talks,” Abella explained.

In addressing illegal drugs, meanwhile, Abella said President Duterte has directed the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to be more actively involved in the PDEA-led anti-drug operations, together with the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In the same briefing, Abella cited Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, which says that the Philippines has become an ideal business environment for women to prosper.

“The Philippines ranks eighth among top 20 markets in the world, gaining an overall index of 68.4 on the Mastercard Index of Women entrepreneurs in 2017,” Abella said.

Citing the continued policy of breaking the glass ceiling Abella said the Duterte administration continues to support endeavors of Filipino women.

Abella also announced that barely nine months in office, the Duterte administration has seen an increase in exports.

“The Palace is pleased to announce that the Philippine merchandise exports reached 5.13 billion in January, surging 22.5 percent, the highest growth posted in three years,” Abella said.

He said garments and clothing accessories exporters saw a 270 percent increase, followed by coconut oil products, which grew 230 percent; and chemicals, which saw a 105 percent growth. Japan is still the top Philippine export destination.

Palace echoes importance of climate change pact

Meanwhile, in the same briefing, Climate Change Commission (CCC) Vice Chairperson Frances Veronica Victorio said the country’s accession to the Paris Agreement once concurred by the Senate, would enable the country to get access to financial and technical support, as well as in capacity building.

“Ang Paris Agreement po ay may goal po sila na you’ll be able, we’ll have about 100 billion dollars per year. So starting 2020. So pag kasama po tayo sa Paris Agreement ay makaka mas access tayo dito sa mga financial support na available for us, lalo na as a developing country,” Victorio said.

“Ang plano po natin is that we want to make sure na naka-incorporate po dito ang mga goals ni Presidente also, of really poverty eradication, mga sustainable development. So pwede po ‘to under the Paris Agreement,” she added.

Victorio noted the impact of warmer temperatures to food production.

“Tayo po ay like 5th most vulnerable country when it comes to climate change, all over the world. So kung ngayon pa lang, ngayon nasa 1.2 degrees Celsius po tayo. Dati pa nagka-Yolanda na tayo, nagka-Ondoy and these are all at 1 degree Celsius,” Victorio explained.

“Right now, last year, 1.2 degrees Celsius na po tayo. So this is something we’re continuously advocating at kailangan po natin i-lead ang ating mga iba’t ibang bansa kasi hindi po natin ito kakayanin na mag-isa,” she added.###PND