04 May 2017

Duterte effect now translates into major infra developments — Palace
The reforms being initiated by the Duterte administration continues to translate into major infrastructure developments, a Palace official said on Thursday, May 4.

In a press briefing, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that LRT 1 Cavite Extension Project starts Thursday.

“Build, Build, Build is the Duterte administration’s battle cry. The construction of LRT-1 Cavite Extension Project, which will connect the railways from Baclaran to Cavite, has begun today as Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade initiates its groundbreaking ceremony,” Abella said.

The railway extension project is expected to be completed in October 2021 which will accommodate an estimated 410,000 passengers a day.

Furthermore, Abella said the newly constructed Puerto Princesa International Airport terminal likewise opened on May 3.

The P4.5-billion terminal has about 1,500 seats, 200 parking slots and a 2,600-meter runway which can accommodate bigger aircrafts. It also has a state-of-the-art air navigation system in line with international standards which improves safety operations.

At the same time, Abella reported that the Duterte administration rolled out the P157.4-billion infrastructure projects in the poorest Philippine regions.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has announced that the Three-year Rolling Infrastructure Plan (TRIP) 2018-2020 will target five regions with the highest poverty rates.

These include the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Caraga, Eastern Visayas, Soccsksargen, and Northern Mindanao with the government identifying a total of 1,313 region-specific infrastructure projects.

The Palace spokesman also mentioned the telephone call of Chinese President Xi Jinping on President Duterte which he described as “cordial.”

According to Abella, the two leaders exchanged views about regional developments with President Duterte also sharing the Philippine position on several issues, including the developments in the Korean Peninsula.

“He referred also to China’s important role in promoting peace on the Peninsula itself,” Abella said.

Abella meanwhile said that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will be selecting the most senior commissioner to become its officer-in-charge (OIC).

“The four commissioners will be meeting among themselves to select who among them they will choose to be the officer-in-charge. Traditionally, the most senior officer is selected and this statement is according to the Office of the Executive Secretary,” Abella said.

Joining Thursday’s briefing was National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who tackled several issues confronting the country.

In terms of threats to security, Esperon characterized the communist rebels, Islamic extremists, illegal drugs, criminality and corruption as the major concerns confronting the country.

He said the communists may disrupt the Filipinos’ way of living but terrorists may curtail freedom of movement and threaten public security.

“And therefore, I would rank the terrorist as very high, especially so that there are now reports that ISIS members are here already and they have a ready force that would be willing to join them,” Esperon said.

Illegal drugs, on the other hand, threatens society’s basic unit–the family–as the government reported that there are four million drug addicts out of more than one million Philippine population, he said.

Talking about external threats, Esperon said transnational crimes pose as the greatest challenge to the country’s security.

With regard to Mindanao, Esperon said that the government is on top of the situation and has been effectively fighting terrorism.

He said the Armed Forces had been very successful in its operations and targeting to finish the fight by June. He also said the government is stepping up efforts against illegal gambling. ###PND

President Duterte vows better lives for Filipinos in three years
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, May 4, 2017, vowed that there will be improvement in the lives of Filipinos in three years’ time as he assured that his administration will beef up efforts to end corruption, criminality and illegal hard drugs.

At the Opening Ceremony of the 27th Philippine Orthopaedic Association Mid-Year Convention in Davao City, President Duterte reiterated his campaign promise to address corruption, criminality and illegal hard drugs.

“In the fullness of God’s time. You give me three years and I will be able to stabilize the country. By that time, medyo on deck na tayo for a new phase of our national lives,” the President said.

“At this time, it’s quite convoluted itong mga problema natin. But I’m trying to manage somehow to navigate the waters of governance so that I can deliver,” he said.

Duterte said he is trying his very best to address corruption, underscoring that he fired many government officials who were involved in corruption, including those who are close to him.

But while he can do a lot in fighting corruption, he said it is only the people who can stop it by not caving in to the demands of abusive officials.

“Kayo lang ang tao eh. It is only the Filipino who can stop corruption. It is not me,” Duterte said.

The President added that the government has already carried out some changes, including prohibiting the opening of bags and luggage of OFWs returning from abroad.

Other challenges confronting the country are crime and illegal hard drugs. He said he will do his best to control crime.

With regard to illegal hard drugs, the President remains uncompromising, stressing that the illegal hard drug problem is a little bit controlled now.

The President also shared his views on the non-confirmation of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, which he said is beyond his control.

“And sayang si Gina. I really like her passion but I remember talking about her in one of — ganitong gathering. It was not about the purpose for which they were really gathered in Malacañang, but I made a pinch-hit for her,” Duterte said.###PND