"Magbi-birthday ako na ako ang Speaker... 50th birthday ko. Sentimental ako," said Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano in a Sept. 30 speech at the House.

WATCH | Sinadya sa bday ni Alan? Velasco renames Facebook page as House Speaker on Cayetano’s birthday

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“Magbi-birthday ako na ako ang Speaker… 50th birthday ko. Sentimental ako,” said Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano in a Sept. 30 speech at the House.

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Saan dinala? Mujiv Hataman seeks probe on 7 Muslims nabbed by police in Cavite

By Billy Begas

Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Wednesday said the seven Muslims who were arrested by the police in Bacoor, Cavite are still missing.

In his privilege speech, Hataman appealed to the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the National Capital Region Police Office to extend some kindness to the family and tell them where they are detained.

“This happened more than a week ago, Mr. Speaker. Walang nangyaring pasabi sa mga kaanak. Hanggang ngayon, walang makapagsabi kung nasaan sila. Hinanap namin sila sa Bacoor Police, hindi nila alam kung nasaan. Hinanap namin sa Camp Crame at Camp Bagong Diwa wala din daw doon,” said Hataman.

The House leader narrated that on February 17, the police went to a construction site in Bacoor, Cavite. Eleven individuals inside were asked who among them are Muslims while lying face down. Seven of them are Muslims.

“Walang makasagot sa maraming tanong na tumatakbo sa isip ng kanilang mga pamilya: Nasaan na sila? Bakit sila inaresto? Bakit hanggang ngayon walang makapagbigay na malinaw na detalye at paliwanag ang mga umaresto sa kanila? Buhay pa ba sila?” the solon said.

He said the arrest of seven Muslims happened after the new Anti-Terrorism law was enacted. “Kaya kailangan natin itong tutukan—to ensure that the safeguards under this law, and indeed under the Constitution are being followed.”

Hataman said that on February 16, men who identified themselves as agents of the National Bureau of Investigation took a Muslim couple—Muslimen Saban Mantawi and Bai Monerah Saban while standing in front of their placement agency in Malate, Manila.

Two others– Solaiman Baonto Muhammad left his house to pray and never returned on February 19 and Abdulmuin Tula who were abducted by armed men on January 19, added to the long list of missing Muslims according to Hataman.

Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan joined Hataman in calling for an investigation by the House of Representatives.

Chillax lang! Lorenzana assures retired soldiers: 2018 pension differentials will be given

By Billy Begas

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday urged retired military and uniformed personnel (MUP) who have raised concerns about their 2018 pension differentials to be patient, as the government needs to prioritize funding for COVID-19 response.

Lorenzana made the statement after his courtesy call to Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco in the House of Representatives.

“Ito lang po ang paalala natin sa pensioners na nagde-demand na makuha na ‘yung arrears ng 2018 na kung pwede lang po sana ay maghintay lang tayo ng konting panahon dahil ‘yung pera kinain ng COVID at marami tayong pagkakagastusan dito. Bibili pa tayo ng vaccines so baka hindi kayanin,” said Lorenzana.

Lorenzana met Velasco amid the issue on the P20 billion reduction from the Pension and Gratuity Fund (PGF) for retired uniformed personnel under the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

The Department of Budget and Management had originally proposed P172.9 billion under the PGF to partially fund the payment of the 2018 pension differences for MUP. However, in the final version of the GAA, the amount was reduced to P152.9 billion.

Lorenzana believed “there’s no harm done” with the delay in the payment of 2018 pension differentials to retired MUP.

The defense chief said the payment of pension arrears “can wait,” as he called on the pensioners to do their share in helping government fight the pandemic simply by “becoming more patient.”

“The government is not backing away from its obligation at tulong lang natin sa gobyerno na huwag muna natin silang pilitin na hindi kaya,” Lorenzana said. “Huwag nating pilitin ang gobyerno na mangutang para ibayad sa inyo. Anyway, dinoble naman ang pension ninyo since 2018, except ‘yung four months—January to April—so palagay ko hindi kayo mahihirapan.”

Lorenzana also pointed out that those waiting for arrears will not go into poverty due to the delayed payment.

“Kung hindi nyo makuha ‘yung arrears nyo na four months ay maghihirap kayo? Hindi naman siguro. Kasi hindi naman tumigil ang pension nyo, hindi naman nababawasan,” he added.

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