President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday thanked His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa for granting royal pardon to two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Duterte thanks Bahrain king for pardon of 2 Pinoys

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday thanked His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa for granting royal pardon to two overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Roderick Aguinaldo and Edward Benjamin Garcia, who have returned to the country, were serving sentence in Bahrain for the death of a foreign national.

Aguinaldo was sentenced to death penalty until his subsequent pardon as a result of the efforts of the Philippine government.

“The President extends his deepest gratitude and appreciation to His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain for pardoning Roderick Aguinaldo and Edward Benjamin Garcia,” a statement from Malacañang read.

Duterte also lauded the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Embassy in Manama, Bahrain, the Special Envoy to the Gulf Cooperation Council Amable Aguiluz V and the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs for leading the eventual release and repatriation of the OFWs.

“The President remains committed to further strengthen Philippines-Bahrain bilateral ties across all areas of mutual interest, including in cooperation for the protection and promotion of the welfare of Filipinos in the Kingdom,” the statement also said.

Aguinaldo and Garcia were granted a royal pardon on the occasion of Eid’l Fitr.

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Duterte reminds public anew to follow safety protocols amid rise in virus cases: ‘Wala ng ibang solusyon’

By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday appealed to the public to strictly follow health and safety protocols amid the rising cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country.

Duterte urged everyone to always wear a mask, wash hands, and observe social distancing to prevent further transmission of the virus.

“Marami ang namatay. Marami pa rin ang may sakit. Ang pinakamataas ngayon Manila mismo. Ngayon, anong dahilan nito? Well, yung hindi naniwala sa social distancing, hindi naman naniwala sa personal hygiene. Ang hinihingi lang ng mga duktor eh, ang sinasabi ng duktor para sa ‘yo, kapakanan mo is maghugas ka ng kamay, cover yourself with a mask, [and] clean your hands,” the Chief Executive said during his weekly public address.

“If you have to hold or touch something even it is inanimate, bisan walang buhay, kahoy o furniture, bantay kayo diyan, sa restaurant, ang umupo diyan, meron, may naiwan, and yung mag-ubo sa publiko.

“Bantay kayo diyan. That’s why social distancing. If the other guy on your right side is coughing heavily, might as well just go away, move yourself a little bit father. Wala ng ibang solusyon eh. It’s just the mask, the washing of the hands at social distancing,” he added.

In his speech, Duterte also asked the public to “trust” the advice of government people, especially the one coming from the Health Secretary.

The Philippines recorded 3,356 new Covid-19 infections today, bringing the total number to 597,763.

Yap’s P20B budget cut in military pension fund ‘gravely’ affects unsettled payouts, says Ungab

MANILA – Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab (Davao City) said the unilateral decision of House committee on appropriations chair Eric Yap on the P20-billion budget cut in the military pension fund has “gravely affected” the remaining unsettled payouts of retired soldiers.

In his privilege speech on Monday, Ungab responded to Yap’s accusation that he was responsible over the supposed fund deficiency for the retired soldiers’ unsettled pension adjustments due to the P74-billion budget cut under the 2020 National Budget—which was approved and ratified when the Davao City solon was still the chair of the Lower House’s appropriations panel.

In response to Yap’s allegations, Ungab cited the recent statement made by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), wherein it stated the deficiency in the gratuity did only happen when the 2021 National Budget approved—wherein Yap led the budget process, being the current appropriations panel chair.

Based on the DBM’s press release, it was explained that the real cause of the present deficiency in the military pension fund is due to the unsettled 2018 pension adjustments which were supposedly computed to be paid in its submitted P172.9 billion 2021 budget.

In the submitted 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP) to Congress, the DBM has proposed P172.9 billion for the pension and gratuity fund of retired military and other uniform personnel, but the legislature only approved P152.9 billion in its final draft.

“The P20-billion budget cut of Cong. Eric Yap gravely affected these intended 2018 unsettled payouts. Ayan po, malinaw po ang mga numero na nakapaskil sa DBM, hindi po nagsisinungaling ang mga datos na ito,” said Ungab.

For Ungab, since Yap had already accepted responsibility over the slash fund, the ACT-CIS solon should better not pass the blame on others, following the blunder he committed.

During his interpellation with Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor last week, Yap admitted that he didn’t consult the present House leadership, particularly Speaker Lord Allan Velasco when he realigned the portions of the gratuity fund, citing lack of time.

Ungab stressed that being a reserved Philippine Army colonel himself, he assured all the men in uniform that he is there in Congress “to help protect and legislate” what they truly deserve from the government, as promised to them by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Alam naman nating lahat na hindi pababayaan ni Presidente Duterte ang mga empleyado ng gobyerno, because he was once an employee of the Department of Justice. Lalong-lalo na po ang mga kawani natin na sundalo at pulis. Malapit na malapit po kayo sa puso ng ating Pangulong Duterte,” said Ungab. (CRD)

Duterte takes swipe at Robredo anew: ‘A misplaced comma would change the meaning of everything’

By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte again criticized Vice President Leni Robredo for creating doubts when she called for a review of the China-donated Sinovac vaccines by the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).

In a late-night televised address on Monday, Duterte said that donated vaccines need not undergo HTAC assessment as it’s only recommendatory in nature.

“A misplaced comma would change the meaning of everything. So, ang sinabi niya na sana sinunod yung proseso, magbibigay siya ng bakukang sa ulo ng tao na, ‘Eh Bise Presidente siya eh sana papabakuna ako kaya lang sinabi na hindi sinunod ang proseso’. Turns out that, at best, nakuna nila yung recommendation. There was a recommendation. so hindi totoo yung wala,” the Chief Executive said.

“With just a simple statement, mag-create ka ng doubt, and we were doing everything, convincing, spending most of our time convincing people that it is safe ang bakuna. If you create that uncertainty in the minds of people mas maraming ayaw,” he also said.

Duterte likewise advised Robredo to “shut up” when she does not have anything right to say.

“I hope next time kung wala siyang masabi na tama she just would maybe shut up. Siguraduhin niya muna o magbasa siya [ng batas]. Ikaw Ma’am ang magbasa and take notes of important or salient points of the law,” he said.

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