Monday, 29 October 2018

NLEX Harvor Link will be passable by December 2019 - DPWH Sec. Villar

Here’s a good news for the riding public.

The Department of Public Works and Highways just gave the riding public its small Christmas gift this October, it announced recently that it has completed the delivery of right of way (ROW) for the first section of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link Segment 10, which will pave way for a lighter traffic in Metro Manila by December as its target date.

North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link segment 10 (photo credit to
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said after inspecting the n ewly constructed portion of the project together with NLEX officials “We are happy that our team was able to deliver 100 percent right-of-way for the NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10. We hope we can finish this just in time for the Christmas rush to help ease the public’s traffic woes.”

The North Luzon Expressway  (NLEX ) Harbor Link Segment 10 is composed of the 5.65-kilometer  elevated expressway traversing the NLEX from MacArthur Highway Karuhatan in Valenzuela City, passing through Malabon City and C3 Road in Caloocan City, and the 2.6-km section between C3 Road and R10 in Navotas City.

The first section of it, the right of way (ROW) has been 100% completely delivered, is already at 83% completion, as for the second section is at 5% completion.

“Our target delivery date is by Christmas. So this will be passable by Christmas time. We will deliver our commitments to the Filipino people. We will deliver our commitments to decongest our major cities,” Villar said.

The NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 was primarily created to boost the country’s transport and logistics industry as heavy cargo trucks will have 24/7 direct access from the port area to the north of Luzon and vice versa via NLEX.

“30,000 a day is the minimum volume of vehicles that will pass through Harbor Link. All of these are trucks, Type 3 vehicles and not the small ones. So a lot of the traffic in Metro Manila will really be gone when this opens,” Villar added.

An elevated expressway will be constructed and it is expected to decongest Metro Manila by providing an alternative entry to NLEX, bypassing EDSA and other busy streets of Manila.

By December opening it is expected that the travel time from Manila ports to NLEX will approximately 10 minutes, instead of the current one hour average, according to the DPWH Secretary.

Metro Pacific Tollways and NLEX Corp. president Rodrigo Franco, cites the advantages of the NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 which aside from the travel time convenience, it is expected to spur investments in areas it will pass through.

The NLEX construction team is working round the clock 24/7 to meet the completion date by the end of this year.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

South Korean government donates 130 cars to PNP

Kamsamhida South Korea!!!

Remember last year when Japan made a donation worth P225.6M consisting of 100 patrol cars 87 Mitsubishi Montero  SUVs, and 13 Nissan Urvan vans) and various equiptments like 6 bomb suits, 6 ballistic shields, and 440 pairs of bullet-proof helmets and vests.

Our East Asian neighbor South Korea also made the same gesture though not as big as the one did by the Japanese.

(photo credit to PTV-4)
The South Korean government donated 130 patrol cars to the Philippine National Police (PNP), it was made possible through the program of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde was on deck during the turnover ceremonies witnessing the turnover of 49 units of Hyundai Elantra and 81 units of Starex Van together with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for Peace and Order, Bernardo Florece Jr., South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-Man and Commissioner General of Korea National Police Agency Lee Chul-Sung.

Also present during the turnover and blessing rites were Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel, Jr and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head Director Camilo Pancratius Cascolan.

The PNP chief said that the units will be distributed to the different units within the PNP namely : to the Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management, Criminal Investigation and Detective Group, Anti-Kidnapping Group, Anti-Cybercrime Group, and NCRPO.

He added these patrol cars will be distributed also to the City Police Offices of Angeles, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Davao and Baguio to bolster anti-criminality and police visibility efforts where South Korean communities are established.

 It was last July 12, 2017, the KOICA project accord was formalized between the PNP and South Korean Embassy on enhancing the criminal investigation capability of the PNP as the first cooperative project between Seoul and Manila.

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De Lima hailed as most distinguished Filipino rights defender by AI


Senator Leila De Lima never fails to get the accolades…even behind detention bars.

De Lima who is being detained for allegedly protecting and coddling drug traders inside the National Penitentiary (NewBilibid Prison) in Munitinlupa during her stint as Justice Secretary of  the previous administration.

She was able to clinch the distinction from fellow opposition senator Sen. Risa Hontiveros – as the most distinguished individual human rights defender as hailed by Amnesty International Philippines.
Detained Opposition Senator Leila De Lima (photo credit to CNC)

Other nominees for the distinction were LGBTIQ and rights advocate Ryan Silverio, PhilRights Executive Director Nymia Pimentel-Simbulan and DAKILA Executive Director Leni Velasco for the individual category.

In a statement given to the media, the senator considers this recognition as a vindication from what she called a “politically-motivated trumped-up charges” filed by the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“It is with great honor to receive this latest accolade as recognition for my unwavering stance on human rights despite my continued unjust detention and political persecution,” the former Commission on Human Rights chairperson said.

Prior to this award she has been also recognized as  one of the world’s greatest leaders by Fortune Magazine, one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine, one of the leading Global Thinkers in 2016 and 2017 by Foreign Policy Magazine and one of the Southeast Asia’s Women to Watch by the Diplomat Magazine.

Amnesty International last year also recognized the detained senator as one of the notable women human rights defenders.

 In the same awards night, DAKILA was was recognized as the most distinguished human rights defender for organization. Floyd Scott Tiogangco and Christia Angela Roque were the recipients of Outstanding Young Human Rights Defender and Art that Matters for Film, respectively.

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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Philippine Democracy is very much alive, vibrant, and well

A few days has passed and the historic ouster of a sitting Chief Justice by way a petition Quo Warranto.

Maria Lourdes Sereno is the first Chief Justice to be removed by way of a quo warranto proceeding.

The Solicitor General filed the petition because of Sereno’s failure to submit the required Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) under oath for a period of 10 years preceding her application for Chief Justice. 
Protesters outside the Supreme Court re Sereno's ouster(photo credit to Philstar)

All sectors of society has their own opinions of the matter, moreso the so called bleeding hearts- the Yellow cult they have made declarations as if it is already the end of the country’s future. “Dark ages” “Death of Democracy” “Diminished Democracy” are but some of the tag lines the opposition have made to color the country’s live and vibrant democracy in their favor and of course with the intent to make a bad picture of the current sitting administration.


Manila Times resident columnist Professor Antonio P. Contreras, In his column today (May 15, 2018) titled “Democracy is alive and well” has explained that the act done by the Supreme Court is but a manifestation of a vibrant working democratic society and not what the opposition likes us to believe.

For purposes of full understanding, truthfulness and clarity ,we have quoted  in full the whole article.

Democracy is alive and well

EVEN without reading the 153-page ponencia of Justice Noel Tijam which effectively declared Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno as an unwarranted and illegal occupant of the post of Chief Justice, her partisans went into a feeding frenzy of expletives, gnashing their teeth, hyperventilating, practically declaring that democracy has just died.

I see lawyers expressing disgust about their profession, law students asking themselves if they have chosen the right course, and at least one of my former students expressing relief that she dragged her feet on her decision to enter law school.

It was a heyday for professors who teach objective science to profess their partisan politics, and for performance activists to act out their rage.

Frankly, it is reasonable to doubt if many of these people have actually read the Constitution and the rules of court, and have familiarized themselves with the quo warranto process, and the quo warranto proceedings anent to Sereno’s eventual removal. Hence, it would be asking too much to expect them to read the entire decision before they even utter their expletives.

After all, democracy allows people to show their disgust. There is an equal access to feelings of rage, freely expressed, unbridled and unfettered. One of the key elements of democracy is that everyone is free to malign it, and each one has a right to proclaim its death.

The bone of contention of the angry Sereno supporters is focused on their belief that her ouster ends the principle of checks and balances, and practically obliterated judicial independence. They lament the fact that the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, who is administratively under the Office of the President, has been decided by a court now allegedly under his thumb, effectively denying Congress its power to remove an impeachable official which they alleged as the only manner provided for in the Constitution. Critics of the President paint this as an unconstitutional move that will end up in the concentration of power in a Duterte government which Luis Teodoro, a Duterte critic, describes as “the most violent and most incompetent wing of the ruling clique.”

What is evident in the narrative of the angry, noisy protesting crowd is their mistaken belief that a quo warranto is not a valid and legal route to remove a sitting Chief Justice, despite the fact that nine justices have ruled that it is a valid remedy to take even for impeachable officials.

Justice Tijam’s ponencia, concurred in by seven other justices on the issue of granting the quo warranto, and joined by Associate Justice Presbiterio Velasco on the issue of its propriety as a remedy, has deftly traced the histories of impeachment and quo warranto, and their significant differences, and why Sereno’s removal by quo warranto is not an unconstitutional move. The decision also skillfully dissected the words of the Constitution, and of prevailing jurisprudence, to negate the claim that the period to avail of this remedy has already prescribed.

In a democracy, Sereno supporters have every right not to believe the legal opinions of these magistrates. They even have the freedom to proclaim with feeling their incantations about the reign of injustice, and post memes demonizing the eight justices who voted to oust Sereno. Democracy allows for dissent.

But at the end of the day, democracy is about majority rule, and certainly eight justices voting for Sereno’s removal prevails over the six who did not, and the voice of the eight now becomes the law of the land. After all, the court may be composed of men and women who are not infallible, but it is still supreme.

Sereno’s angry supporters may remain to be dominated by their feelings of rage and disgust.

But they have to eventually realize that the ruling of the court goes beyond Sereno and their rage.

If only they can remove Sereno from the picture, and suspend their anger and hatred towards the President, they may just see that far from weakening democracy to cause its demise, the court’s ruling may in fact have strengthened it.

The court’s ruling that quo warranto is an available remedy even for impeachable officials, including members of the judiciary, has provided another avenue for the Republic and its citizens to hold public officials accountable other than through impeachment. This is particularly true when these officials acquire their position through illegal means, or by hiding their dirty secrets, the illegal acts they committed prior to obtain the post and other disqualifying circumstances from the State and the public. It can also provide a remedy for the Republic and the citizens to remove people who are appointed to impeachable positions who belatedly are revealed to possess such disqualifying attributes that do not qualify as impeachable offenses.

Quo warranto, in contrast to impeachment, is not a political process that only acquires a quasi-judicial character. It is by its very nature a judicial proceeding. This is the source of its strength as a remedy. As it is presided over by the judiciary, there is more robust assurance for the supremacy of evidence, the recognition of jurisprudence and precedents, and a respect for due process and the right to appeal.

Angry Sereno supporters are placing too much hype on the specter of possible abuse, where quo warranto petitions will be filed left and right to harass impeachable officials. The fact that quo warranto lies in the province of the judiciary will provide a necessary mechanism to check for that abuse. Furthermore, the availability of quo warranto as an option for the State, or any aggrieved party, to deny office to those holding an illicit, unqualified or improper appointment, can also serve as an impetus for the Judicial and Bar Council, the Commission on Appointments and the President to practice due diligence to ensure that only the qualified will be nominated, and to conduct a more serious vetting process to inquire into possible disqualifying circumstances of every nominee.

It is unfortunate for Sereno supporters that she is a casualty of this avenue for holding impeachable officials accountable for their qualifications, and for their acts prior to their appointments.

Her supporters are entitled to their rage. But the Republic is entitled to a democracy that is not measured only because it appeases that rage, but that it serves the greater legacy that goes beyond the comfort and tenure of one unqualified person.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Philippine Rise is now a Protected Area

Today is the first year anniversary of the renaming of Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.

In a symbolic gesture the President led the send-off the team of 50 Filipino scientists that would undertake marine scientific research in the area.

The President also while onboard BRP Davao Del Sur, has declared portions of Philippine Rise and Eastern Kalayaan as protected areas. The renaming of the underwater land mass was specifically to signify the country’s sovereign rights over the resource-rich region.

In his speech the President formally declared the parts of the Philippine Rise undersea feature as a Maritime Resource Reserve.
President Rodrigo Duterte signing the proclamation declaring portions of the Philippine Rise as a marine protected area (photo credit to GMA News)

“While more than (300,000) hectares shall be designated as a Special Fisheries Management Area,” he added.
The President also led the launching of the country’s first scientific exploration of the resource-rich underwater plateau located off the coast of Aurora province.

“Today, we send off our team of talented and competent Filipino scientists who will undertake the Coordinated National Marine Scientific Research Initiatives and Related Activities or Conmira in the waters above the Philippine Rise,” Duterte said.

“I join the Filipino people in wishing you all the best as you embark on your mission to conduct mapping, surveys, biological investigations and assessment of the coral reef and fisheries stock in the area until November,” he added.

Faith in Filipino Scientists

The President declared that the scientific activities would be vital in the protection and management of the area and its vast resources.

“I have complete faith in the capabilities of our world class scientists and I recognize the need to provide them with the necessary means to fulfill your mandate. Indeed, these developments would not have been possible without the efforts of our dedicated public servants, scientists and legal experts who worked together to bolster our claim over the Philippine Rise,” he said.

“When the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approved our claim to the Philippine Rise a few years ago, we were not just granted access to the vast resources. We were also entrusted with the responsibility to protect it from abuse and misuse,” he added.

Duterte then told the Filipino scientists to “explore this (new frontier) fully aware of our responsibility to (properly manage) and conserve its natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations of Filipinos.”

“As send off our experts to explore and discover what our seas have to offer, may we all have a renewed sense of commitment to promote the welfare of our people, safeguard our national interest, (and) assert our sovereign rights over our waters and all other areas within our jurisdiction,” the President said.

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Philippine, Australian navies hold sea drills in Western Mindanao

The Philippines continues to upgrade its tactics and experience as regards to perennial problems down south.

Last Monday, May 14, The Philippine Navy and the Royal Australian Navy began the third round of joint maritime and security exercises in the waters in Western Mindanao and Sulu all geared for the upgrade of capabilities by our navy as against terrorism and piracy.

Col. Hernanie Songano, deputy commander for marine operations of Naval Forces Western Mindanao and Lt. Col. Judd Finger, commander of the RAN's Joint Task Force 629, led the opening of the exercise in a simple ceremony.
Navy ships participating in the sea drills in Western Mindanao (photo credit Naval Forces Western Mindanao)


Songano, representing Rear Admiral Rene Medina, said the three weeks of exercises will include a series of maritime patrols in the Sea Lines of Communication — a term for primary maritime routes — particularly in the waters off the Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Drills for crew readiness will also be done aboard the Philippine and Australian ships.

The joint cooperation and continuos conduct of maritime exercises with other navies in the region has helped the country addressing the problems against piracy, kidnappings, and terrorism in Philippine seas.

"The efforts of the military, particularly the engagement of the Fleet-Marine Team in the Western Mindanao, upholds the efforts of the government to maintain a safe maritime environment in Western Mindanao Command’s Area of Responsibility," Songano said.

It will be recalled that the PN and RAN held their first joint maritime exercises in 2017 and another series in April this year.

The Philippine Navy will will deploy BRP Cebu (PS 28), BRP Anastacio Cacayorin (PC 381), BRP Dioscoro Papa (PC 381), BRP Filipino Flojo (PC 386) and BRP Gen. Mariano Alvarez (PS 38) while the Royal Australian Navy will use the HMAS Albany and HMAS Glenelg.

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Monday, 14 May 2018

SC justices on Sereno's ouster : "Members of the SC are beholden to no one, except to the sovereign Filipino people"

Last week historical move by the magistrates of the Supreme Court in ousting the sitting Chief Justice by way of a quo warranto proceeding will be forever etched in the annals of Philippine history.

As soon as the decision was made to the public, the opposition readily made insinuations that the ouster move were the handiwork of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte- since the Solicitor General Jose Calida is a Duterte appointee.

Claiming that the justices that voted to ouster Chief Justice Maria Lourdes  Sereno, are in Duterte’s payroll is completely no is done right a lie and a direct disrespect for these seasoned justices.

Former Chief Justice Maria Loudes Sereno in front of the Supreme Court (photo credit to owner)
The Supreme Court addressed this issue in its 153-paged decision, written by Associate Justice Tijam. The high court stressed it decides “based on the merits of a case” and its justices “are beholden to no one” except to the people.

Below is the excerpt of the decision.

“In the same vein, insinuations that the Justices of the Supreme Court are towing the line of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in entertaining the quo warranto petition must be struck for being unfounded and for sowing seeds of mistrust and discordance between the Court and the public. The Members of the Court are beholden to no one, except to the sovereign Filipino people who ordained and promulgated the Constitution. It is thus inappropriate to misrepresent that the Solicitor General who has supposedly met consistent litigation success before the Supreme Court shall likewise automatically and positively be received in the present quo warranto action. 

"That the Court spares the Solicitor General the rod is easily dispelled by the Court's firm orders in G.R. Nos. 234359 and 234484 concerning alleged extra legal killings - a case directly concerning the actuations of the executive department - to provide the Court with documents relative to the Oplan Tokhang operations and by a uninamous vote, rebuked the Solicitor General's plea for reconsideration. Suffice to say that the Court decides based on the merits of a case and not on the actors or the supposed benefactors involved.”

In granting the petition filed by the SolGen, the SC said it found her “ineligible" to hold the Chief Justice post "for lack of integrity on account of her failure to file a substantial number of SALNs and also, her failure to submit the required SALNs to the JBC during her application for the position.”

“[O]ne of the Constitutional duties of a public officer is to submit a declaration under oath of his or her assets, liabilities, and net worth upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law. When the Constitution and the law exact obedience, public officers must comply and not offer excuses,” the decision stressed.

"When a public officer is unable or unwilling to comply, he or she must not assume office in the first place, or if already holding one, he or she must vacate that public office because it is the correct and honorable thing to do,” it added.

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Robredo casts her vote in NagaCity, PRRD fails to vote in Davao City

The May 14, 2018 was set to be the elections for the Barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Presiden Rodrigo Roa Duterte in 2016, voiced his opinion that he is in favor of postponing the elections for it would save the national treasury billions of pesos and would protect the elections from the influence of drug syndicates.

“Do you know the reason why I also agreed with some congressmen to postpone the barangay elections? Because I am afraid that the drug money will seep into the electoral process,” Duterte said on August 26, 2016, at the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Mindanao Command in Davao City.

VP Lani Robredo shown above casting her vote for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections at Tabuco Elementary School in Naga City.(photo credit to the office of the Vice President) 

The year after that the president signed Republic Act 10952, which postponed the village and youth council elections to the second week of May 2018.


Leni votes in Naga City


Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo  went to her hometown t cast her vote for the the Barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

She arrived a few minutes pass 11AM, at the Tabuco Elementary School together with her daughter Tricia Robredo.

In her Facebook account, the Vice President was saddened by the low turnout of voters.

"I hope that more will come out to vote today while there is still time. Much like our city and national polls, electing barangay officials is important as they stand to be the first unit of government we can turn to in times of need in the community," she said.

"I hope that the winners of this elections will remember the value of public service and the mandate entrusted to them by the people," she added.


PRRD fails to vote in Davao City


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte did not vote in the Barangay and Sangguinang Kabataan elections.

Christopher “Bong” Go, special assistant to the President (SAP),has confirmed the reports that the the President, was a no-show but stop in saying what could be the reason for his non-appearance.

This elections could have been Duterte’s first vote as President of the republic.

Duterte is a registered voter at the Daniel Aguinaldo National High School in Davao City where his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, had voted.

The Board of Election Tellers in the school closed the polls at about 3:05 p.m.
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